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Michigan Lawmakers Want To Repeal Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law. Idiots Rejoice.

Posted by: David Kiley on June 7, 2006


Just when confidence in elected officials is falling. And just when people think governing has become the shallowest enterprise since Amway. We now have Michigan legislators draining a little more water out of the pool.

Michigan lawmakers today (June 7) repealed the state’s 37-year-old mandatory motorcycle helmet law. Now, only a veto by Governor Jennifer Granholm, who is running for re-election in a tough contest against former Amway president Dick DeVos, can stop this awful piece of legislation.

According to AAA Michigan, the bill, sponsored by Sen. Alan L. Cropsey (R-DeWitt), would remove the mandatory helmet requirement for all riders and passengers 21 years of age or older, but does not require motorcycle riders to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage. In 2005, there were 3,605 motorcycle-involved crashes in Michigan in which 122 riders were killed and 2,721 injured.

Under the bill, a rider at least 21 years old who has completed a motorcycle safety course and has been operating a bike for at least two years wouldn’t have to wear a helmet.

Thankfully, we here in Michigan expect Granholm to do the right thing, and veto a dumb bill.

I guess what baffles me is the months and months of hard work these legislators have put into this bill. Is this really progress? Is there nothing better for these people to do?

I admit, I do not ride. But there is something about motorcycles I like. However, one thing I have never been able to figure out is this: If my car made as much noise as the typical motorcycle, people would say my car was broken. And in many states, it wouldn’t pass inspection. Yet, motorcycles are given a pass on noise pollution.

Let’s see here. A repeal of the helmet law will undoubtedly cause more serious injuries and deaths (I wonder how many motorcycle riders in Michigan who would avail themselves of the right not to wear a helmet even have comprehensive health insurance?)Who benefits from a repeal of this law? A bunch of people championing their right to be a wombat. A bill that would force a whole new generation of mufflers on motorcycles, on the other hand? Such a bill would benefit everyone. But we’ll probably never see that. That’s okay…there ARE more important things for lawmakers to worry about. At least I hope so.

Reader Comments

Sam Prezzato

June 7, 2006 7:04 PM

I'm tired of people in suits, smoking cigars, have money in the stock market, or what ever bad habits you like to do. Think of it as a extreme sport you can't handle. If you want to be some want-to-be biker, than a dork, that's your choice. There is freedom of choice, freedom of so called speech, freedom of religion, and ect. Just don't say were idiots. I may think of a dozen ways to call you something far more worse than a idiot. I'm sure your more dangerous on a bar-b-que grill than most people, so we should ban idiots like you to have one??. Or idiots like polititions sending our young men and women to war because of cigar smoking Republicans like you?.

Kelly Clarkson

June 8, 2006 3:56 AM

Now that is really really dumb.

the jeepers

June 8, 2006 6:45 AM

Well Mr. kiley like u said u do not ride so first of all u dont understand the thrill of riding a motor cycle. You ask why bikes are allowed to have loud pipes let me tell many people say the did not seee the car and they just pulled out. How visible do u think a 2 foot wide bike is......LOUD PIPES SAVE LIVES plain and simple. You really want an understanding on it ....get out in city traffic for a week on a bike and see how many times u get pulled out in front of. You seem to be speaking on an issue you have no first hand on knowledge about and that my friend is arragance. All you have is your statistics and check into them deeper if you want most of the deaths from car bike accidents are not helmet related. In other words a helmet didnt make a diference. Its the riders choice not the choice of people who dont ride. If that is the case then people without airbags in there cars should were helmets too seeings how they "have the chance " to bang there head.

Chris Terry

June 8, 2006 8:34 AM

I remember reading a study from California that showed the cost to the state of uninsured motorcyclists; I presume Michigan, too, is absorbing costs from uninsured motorcyclists that can't pay their way after an accident. People will spout off about "freedom" in the abstract, but we, as a society, are not free to check to see if motorcyclists have insurance once they've been in an accident. We take everyone to the hospital whether they can pay or not. Who pays for this? I do. You do. On a personal note, I have personal experience with a helmet saving my life, twice. The question for state legislators is: will increased revenue from tourism outweigh the costs to the state to care for injured, insurance-less out-of-state bikes.

How 'bout a no seatbelt law, or raising the BAC limit to .3? Just as dumb.

Joel A

June 8, 2006 11:31 AM

That is asinine. Safety laws are designed to deal with an accident regardless of the driver's skill level AND when their skill wouldn't have saved them anyway. An accident is an accident is an accident. My spouse saw plenty of folks hospitalized permanently because they weren't wearing their helmets when they got hit or slammed due to careless driving.


June 8, 2006 12:31 PM

I've been riding for 18 years(I'm 34 now),completed an MSF course(when I was 18), and always wear a helmet. Some misconceptions in the article: motorcycles CAN be ticketed for too loud of an exhaust(at least in WI, where I live). WI also has an "eye protection only" requirement; I used to be upset by riders without helmets until I realized that those without helmets must not have anything to protect. (The usual anti-helmet stances are "choice"--b.s., since we have a nationwide seatbeltr law; and some say helmets limit field of vision, which has also been disproven many times.)


June 8, 2006 3:01 PM


Scott Tanner

June 8, 2006 3:52 PM

The most appropriate part of David Kiley's piece is his picture directly under the "idiot" quote. Leave it to this scholar to quote AAA in their rhetoric of crash, bang, boom, bleed that NEVER actually happens in the other 31 states where the helmet law has been reasonably modified. YES! Likely there will be more accidents in Michigan because the number of motorcycles will increase (ching for the State @ 6% sales tax)and because the number of miles ridden will increase (ching again for the state and tourism) with the influx of out of state visitors finally coming in unlidded. And the insurance rates in those 31 other states? Hmmmmm...didn't go up anymore than ours. And insurance rates in state that make the lid mandatory after a reprieve? Hmmmm...didn't go down any. Sounds like AAA realizes that their cost will go up if they can't get their car drivers to stop hitting the bikers, regardless of what's on their heads. Educate, don't legislate.

jon hall

June 8, 2006 5:17 PM

Talk about idiot.You dont even ride but you have this strong of an opinion.Lets talk about a waste of time in government,I heard there are people out there wasting time trying to change our state bird,rock,flower,ect.How about violent crime,we have all the police we need for seatbelt violators but none for real crime.How does my not wearing a helmet affect you if I have insurance.I think your wasting your own time worring about something that doesnt concern you.You are just as bad as the lawmakers you say have better things to worry about.

Bob Heitjan

June 8, 2006 6:28 PM

David, how about cigarettes, alcohol, and gambling in the State of Michigan? How much do they collectively contribute to the public good? Does the State move to prohibit these? No, you say. In fact, the State is in the business of proliferating these behaviors, isn't it? I ride, and have a ton of medical insurance. I also am very experienced, and would like to have the right to choose. Further, I would rather have had the bill stipulate a minimum age (25), and proof of a certain level of medical insurance. Also, has anyone ever questionned other states, and surrounding states, pertaining to what drove them to repeal their helmet laws?


June 8, 2006 7:14 PM

i am a police officer for a detroit suburb and also a motorcycle enthusiast. i have been riding now for 12yrs. i have seen my share of motorcycle accidents and i am convinced that a helmet is only good for accidents under 35 mph. i feel (and talking from my experiences) that a helmet will not protect you in high speed accidents. take a look at the most common type of helmets that harley riders wear. it is a half helmet, barely covering the top of the head. yet it is still LEGAL !! i feel that the helmet law should be revised. there are times that i just don't want to wear a helmet and shouldn't have to. now back to your article. i found, what i believe to be, a flaw in it. i have heard that riders not wearing a helmet, WILL be required to carry a minimum of $10,000 personal insurance liability. correct me if im wrong??? if you go and look at the other states that don't require helmets, like ohio or indiana; i don't believe the death rate is any higher than michigan for motorcycle accidents. i just wish reporters would report facts and facts only in their stories.....and keep their opinions to themselves. especially if they have no real experiences of the issue at hand.. thanks for your time. signed, no helmet supporter (in blue)


June 8, 2006 10:44 PM

motorcycles are loud so drivers will hear us and hopefully not treat us as a transparent insignificant biker trash! Loud pips save life's you are worried about our safety make hands free phones a law and enforce it. I see people eating, smoking,shaving,putting on make up and even watching movies all of these attribute to accidents & deaths of many motorcycle riders. I think all licensed drivers should have to take the written motrocycle endorsement test & pass it this would educate all as to why we ride like we do.

Anthony Vagnetti

June 8, 2006 11:27 PM

Respectfully, you're not a rider so you can't be expected to understand.

I'm a young man who rides an extremely loud bike through the crowded streets of Chicago with reckless abandon. I'm also an MBA student with an interest in the insurance regulatory environment and well-developed understanding of the ethical issues at hand.

I never wear a helmet. They're useless (see below).
My bike is tuned-up loud so that you can hear me coming.

For sound research on the topic, including policy implications see:

"The Effect of Motorcycle Helmet Use on the Probability of Fatality and the Severity of Head And Neck Injuries"

Jonathan P. Goldstein, Ph.D.
Department of Economics
Bowdoin College
Brunswick, Maine 04011


"From our empirical results we conclude that helmet use has no statistically significant effect on the probability of a motorcycle fatality and that helmet users face a tradeoff between reductions in the severity of head injuries and increases in the severity of neck injuries."

Land of the Free.
Home of the Brave.
God Bless America.


June 10, 2006 5:03 AM

Idiots Rejoice? Assinine piece of legislation? Mr. Kileys' Comments are worthy of someone with a backround primarily in the automobile industry, who admits he has never ridden a motorcycle.

I have been riding motorcycles on the streets for 25 years. I have ridden in small groups and in very large police escorted groups. We are not idiots or hells angels. Times have changed. Yeah my motorcycle has after market exhaust. Do you know why? The sound of my motorcycle can't be heard over the noise made by some of the booming car stereos out there. Does this noise bother you?

No group of people are more aware of the risk of injury or death on the roads than motorcycle riders. Only 4 states are helmet free. But at least they have a choice. Freedom of choice is the benefit and the money, time, and energy spent to promote or protect it is VERY important. It's the difference between being asked to do something and being told to do it or else.
Unfortunately uninterested non-riders would think motorcyclists and those involved with repealing the mandatory helmet law are a waste of brains, time, and money. ie:'A bunch of people championing their right to be a wombat.'

john smith

June 11, 2006 12:04 AM

you are ignorant. have you even studied the subject? im only 24 and know of of the facts than you.granted it has been a major part of my enviorment. please educate your self befor you make a stand agenst somthing

Jim Pierson

June 11, 2006 9:52 AM

Mr. Kiley,

Just when I was beginning to think that BusinessWeek was a reasonable portal for good reporting they actually had the audacity to publish the kind of rubbish your obviously un-researched and uninformed article of June 7th about the Michigan helmet law. Idiots do rejoice. Count yourself among them.

You in the opposition media always fall back on the worst-case scenarios to demonstrate why the minority should rule the majority. You don’t have the courage to report on the millions upon millions of safely traveled miles of motorcycles just as you don’t have the courage to report on the billions upon billions of safely traveled auto miles. You have to sensationalize the worst to grab the headlines so your publication can make money. Responsible reporting is extinct. That is all to obvious.

Being a admitted non-rider, you have no clue as to the dangers and pressures of riding. You also don’t have a clue about the pleasures of being in the wind. Your ill-informed tact taken by your June 7th article illustrates that in spades.

While the numbers used are AAA numbers (AAA has never been motorcycle friendly), all they illustrate are numbers of accidents and deaths. That’s all they show. They don’t show all the miles traveled safely. They also don’t show numbers of accidents/deaths per registered motorcycle. Because the numbers of motorcycle registrations have been going up, the accidents per registered vehicle has remained fairly constant. The revision (NOT repeal) of the law would ONLY give adults the choice. You act as if nobody will wear a helmet after this is allowed to become law. That assumption (and what your predictions assert) is totally false. Many will continue to wear helmets by choice. Best estimates are 70 – 75% will still wear helmets by choice. Perhaps more. My Significant Other among them.

While your claim of legislators having other things more important than this bill may have some merit, they are responding to constituents concerns. Is that not the task of elected officials? Important by Who’s opinion? Bills of little importance in the grand scheme of things are debated and worked on at length in every legislative house in every state of the union including Washington DC on a daily basis. I consider that argument moot at best.

Your point about the noise some motorcycles make (you would classify mine among them) is a common misconception among non-riders. Over 75% of multi-vehicle accidents involving motorcycles are the fault of the auto driver NOT the motorcycle. These accidents are generally the auto impeding on the right-of-way of the motorcycle – merging or changing lanes into our road space, making left turns into oncoming motorcycles, not realizing a motorcycle is between them and the car in front of the motorcycle, etc., etc.. Loud pipes are another TOOL motorcyclists use to try to make auto drivers AWARE of us. While a small percentage make their bikes loud just to be loud, the purpose is awareness in traffic.

We on motorcycles are vulnerable on the roadways. We are exposed. Anything we can do to increase awareness so we can AVOID the accident – which saves all involved both injury and money. Granted, motorist awareness reduces the headlines and the “see, I told you so” articles, it increases safety and enjoyment for all.

One other thing you seem to not have any concept of is the potential increase in tourism dollars that passage of this bill will either KEEP in Michigan or DRAW INTO Michigan due to the change in this law. An independent research firm states that this change would generate $461 Million in direct new sales within Michigan, an additional $54 Million in direct tourism dollars, an estimated 1,500 directly related new jobs for the state and an astonishing $1.5 Billion (yep, with a B) total revenue into Michigan coffers. Being a BusinessWeek columnist, while researching this article, it would seem to me researching BOTH SIDES would be a matter of course. Not so in this case it seems.

I know BusinessWeek won’t have the courage to publish this response to your lop-sided, ill-conceived rant, but I felt a response to your rubbish was absolutely necessary. I suggest you really try to get out more and balance your reporting by allowing both sides into your writing. I know that is a pipe dream, but I can still hold out hope that true journalism is out there somewhere.

One of the Idiots you claim are rejoicing,
Jim Pierson


June 13, 2006 2:07 PM

{Please insert Roethlisberger comment/joke here.}


June 13, 2006 2:41 PM

I don't know why you would doubt that I'd run your comment Mr. Pierson. It's a good and thoughtful comment.

I happen to think that a few nanny laws are correct for our society---seatbelts, mandatory child seats for kids of a certain age and size and motorcycle helmets.

I have to say, though, that your assertion that very loud exhaust notes is a TOOL for motorcyclists to let cars know they are around sounds like a nutty reach. And even if it IS true, it is a terrible trade-off. Why should I, in my yard 500 yeards away from a street, be forced to hear a motorcycle exhaust as if it was in my own driveway. Ever hear of noise pollution?

And as far as accidents being caused by motorists...that's tough to take seriously when I have, over the course of my life, seen countless motorcycle riders weaving in and out of cars in a traffic jam or within slow moving traffic rather than taking their rightful place in line.

Truthfully, I would love to ride sometime. It is a romantic past-time, I imagine. Just ask Ben Rothlesberger.


June 13, 2006 2:47 PM

I find it comical that the same people who are so fearful of getting creamed by a car that they defend an after-market exhaust I can hear a half-mile away are also the people defending not wearing a helmet.

If you have nothing to fear without a helmet, why worry if a car creams you?

Why a helmet law? Because some people just need to be protected from their own stupidity. Just ask Ben Rothlesberger.

Mac McCracken

June 13, 2006 4:49 PM

David, what were you thinking when you posted such an assinine commentary. Most motorcyclist ride motorcycles which are valued in excess of $20,000.00 and have more that enough insurance coverage. Small business owners would flourish in and around border towns, tourism would greatly improve, all would benifit from the repeal.

Every state which surrounds Michigan has repealed the helmet law. Of couse, the accident/injury/death rate has increased but the number of riders and vistors has also increased three fold. Have you looked at the price of gas lately? ALot more people are riding motorcycles as a primary mode of transportation.

As far as the Ben Rothlesberger comment...He broke his jaw not his head. A helmet would not have protected his jaw, but more than likely would have broken his neck.


June 13, 2006 7:26 PM

It seems that the loud pipe exception applies only to Harley Davidson and other fat bikes. Riders of Japanese bikes i.e pocket rocket don't get this pass by the police.

BTW I used to ride until I ran over a small dog at 20mph. Fortunately I was wearing my full gear (helmet, jacket and gloves in 100 Phoenix, AZ weather) and came out almost unscathe after fish tailing and sliding a few feet. At any speed the asphalt will eat your skin and anything else griding on it. The helmet saved my face from a nasty, likely disfiguring wounds. It was uncomfortable wearing all that safety gear under the hot desert sun, but it was definitely worth it.

In short, just do the right thing so you don't have to say "I shoulda" later.


June 13, 2006 8:15 PM

After reading some of the comments by people who support riding without a helmet, and realizing that their comments were rife with grammatical errors and misspellings, it seems that if they damage their brains, it won't be a great loss...

Ray Henke

June 14, 2006 5:48 AM

Open Letter To Michigan Governor Setting Forth Motorcyclist Safety Position of Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers In Support of Helmet Law Repeal.

Dear Governor Granholm,

I am writing on behalf of Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers which does not have as its mission the repeal of helmet laws. We are an organization the mission of which is solely to improve motorcyclist safety. Unfortunately, in our safety mission we find that politicians claiming to be concerned about motorcyclist safety seize upon helmet laws as a way to appear to be doing something for motorcyclists when in fact, any contribution to the reduction of motorcyclist injury and death is so minimal as to be essentially unproductive, indeed it is counterproductive as it deflects attention from the real motorcycle safety issues. The political tradition of pretending to solve what is certainly a very important public health issue, this obscene incidence motorcycle accidents and the consequent panoply of catastrophic motorcyclist injuries, by myopically and paternalistically focusing on what motorcyclists wear is nothing more than political contrivance. And what we are concerned about is that while politicians continue to so dishonestly focus on what is not the problem, the real solutions to the real problems are ignored, with the effect that motorcyclists continue to be maimed and killed on our streets and highways indeed in obscene numbers.

The first thing you need to understand is that this public health crisis faced by your state and every other state is much broader than very limited number of deaths which arguably might be avoided by the use of helmets. It is purely political that those who seek helmet laws or resist the repeal of helmet laws focus solely on death statistics. The fact is that motorcyclists suffer every kind of catastrophic injury in motorcycle accidents. They suffer catastrophic internal injuries, injuries which both result in death statistics and those which leave the motorcyclist's health impaired for the remainder of his life. They suffer quadriplegia and paraplegia and other spinal cord injuries which ruin their lives, often confined to convalescent centers, or requiring full time or part time professional nursing assistance. Motorcyclists suffer limb injuries often requiring limb amputation or catastrophic orthopedic injuries which render them unable to continue in their professions as productive members of our society. This broad landscape of catastrophic motorcyclist injury is what defines both your state's public health crisis and the state fiscal impact of caring for these men and women whose often substantial life long medical expense is almost universally uncompensated by the underinsured and usually impecunious auto drivers who by their inattention and negligence cause the majority of the accidents and consequent injuries.

These are the real public health and substantial fiscal issues faced by your state. The death statistics relied upon my those who urge helmet laws are misleading first of all because death can occur as the result of motorcycle accidents for many reasons other than head injury, including most obviously, internal injury, or delayed death or the shortening of one's life expectancy as with motorcyclists who are rendered quadriplegic. The death statistics are also often misrepresented. For example, often quoted are the statistics which focus on the number of motorcyclist deaths rising after the repeal of helmet legislation. But those statistics often fail to account for such variables as the recent steep rise in motorcycle registrations, particularly in the last several years, and the likelihood that this implies that there are a greater number of novice or less experienced motorcyclists who are getting into accidents, suffering the panoply of catastrophic injury, and contributing to the death statistics. In addition, those who report these death statistics, which are truly just unanalyzed compilations of selected raw data, apparently have no interest in discovering whether any of these deaths actually resulted from the motorcyclist's failure to wear a helmet. As noted, these deaths can occur from any of a dozen causes unrelated to head injury. Even with those deaths in which the motorcyclist suffered a head injury, none of those who have compiled these data have followed through to obtain the death and autopsy reports to determine, first of all, to what extent the brain damage could have been prevented by a helmet, and second, to determine whether the motorcyclist suffered internal or other catastrophic injury which likely would have resulted in his life long disability, death or foreshortened life expectancy regardless of his helmet use. Even with regard to deaths among motorcyclists who were not wearing helmets, you need to realize that helmets only serve to reduce the incidence of brain injury and death for impacts of less than 15 miles per hour. In almost every accident in which a death is reported, there is also serious or catastrophic injury quite apart from brain injury which are not accounted for by simply listing the selected raw data on deaths in helmeted riders and those who chose not to wear helmets. There are many more deficiencies in these studies which I would be pleased to discuss with you if you would permit me to speak with you or your staff. But suffice it to say that the death statistics which are so commonly cited are not compiled according to the scientific method, nor are they subjected to statistical analysis, and any legitimate scientist would tell you that as the result of their methodologically errors they unfortunately provide no meaningful information even on the narrow issue whether or to what extent helmets may reduce the incidence of motorcyclist death.

The only way to solve your true public health crisis, which can be accurately measure only by examining the full panoply of catastrophic motorcyclist injury, and motorcyclist death from all medical causes, is by reducing the incidence of motorcycle accidents. If we can reduce the incidence of motorcycle accidents then we can reduce the incidence of every category of catastrophic motorcyclist injury, and among helmeted riders and unhelmeted riders alike.

This is not an unattainable goal. Indeed, it is a goal that hasn't been achieved only because politicians have failed to seize the opportunity to provide the obvious solutions, choosing instead to mislead the public that dictating what motorcyclists wear is the solution.

The first thing you need to understand is that fully two-thirds of all multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents are the result of auto driver inattention and negligence, without any fault on the part of the motorcyclist. There is no controversy about this. Every study confirms this. (The remaining one-third are the result of motorcyclist negligence or the combination of motorcyclist and auto driver negligence.)

Most of that overwhelming percentage of motorcycle accidents caused by auto driver negligence, results from motorist inattention while entering intersections or turning left at intersections into the motorcyclist's right of way. Again there is no controversy about this.

These facts, unfortunately, are excluded from the motorcycle safety debate as politicians scream hysterically about the need to dictate what bikers wear. Most politicians are in our opinion shortsighted in concluding that there is no political advantage of actually doing something to reduce the incidence of this largest category of precipitant for motorcycle accidents. If confronted by their failures to address the broader safety issue, some, whose staff's prepare a political response, will say that these intersection accidents are the "unavoidable" consequence of the motorcycle's "lack of conspicuity." And they can find support for this false proposition in an unfortunate phrase culled from the first large motorcycle accident survey by Harry Hurt. But it is indeed unfortunate that this phrase has been so oft repeated without critical analysis by those who have political agendas other than to actually reduce the incidence of motorcyclist injury. An additional problem is that the phrase "lack of conspicuity" is actually a term of art which has been mistaken by policy makers and used to advantage by politicians to suggest that intersection motorcycle accidents are the result of the reduced "visibility" impugned to the motorcycle's smaller size. Putting aside the misunderstanding and misrepresentation, the fact is that motorcycles are just as "visible" as cars at the short distance at which a car entering an intersection or turning left at an intersection would pose a threat to the motorcyclist. Motorcycles can stop very quickly and take evasive action much more nimbly than cars so when a car entering an intersection or turning left in front of a motorcyclist causes an accident, the car must turn directly in front of the oncoming motorcycle. Furthermore, since the Harry Hurt study, motorcycle manufacturers uniformly equip their motorcycles with head lamps which turn on at ignition and remain on day and night, so it is likely that oncoming motorcycles are in truth more obvious in the visual field of an auto driver when he enters or turns left at an intersection.

The etiology of intersection motorcycle accidents does not derive from the motorcycle's smaller size; rather, the reason why auto drivers don't "see" motorcycles is a function of what is described in the scientific literature as "inattentional blindness." This is a body of literature which analyzes why people don't see what is readily apparent in their visual field. There are half a dozen factors which are identified in the literature, and again if you would permit me to speak to you or one of your staff I could explain my understanding of the relevant literature or provide references for you and your staff to consider. One of the factors which I have concluded is probably the most potent in leading auto drivers to fail to consciously attend to motorcyclists in their visual field is "relevance." One gross aspect of the lack of "relevance" many auto drivers attribute to motorcycles is derived fro the auto driver's perception that motorcycles don't pose a risk to them in the same way that an oncoming car, truck or bus would pose a risk to them when entering an intersection or turning left into the path of one of these larger vehicles. There are solutions specific to modifying that aspect of "relevance" including by specific conscious task oriented auto driver education, discussed below. In addition, the auto driver's perception of the "relevance" of motorcycles can be enhanced by penalty legislation, for example, by providing for drivers license suspensions or potential jail terms for reckless inattention which results in serious motorcyclist injury or death.

I've been told that many politicians might find such penalty legislation "politically unacceptable," as it calls for imposing upon the majority for the benefit of a vulnerable minority; but this public health crisis truly affects us all, including by the fiscal impact upon the state and all of the citizenry associated with this obscene incidence of the panoply of catastrophic motorcyclist injury caused by auto driver inattention.

But accepting that politicians must be sensitive to undermining their majority political base, a substantially less effective solution, although a good step in the right direction would be general penalty legislation for any serious injury resulting from reckless inattentive driving, if combined with a well funded public relations campaign specifically focusing upon the vulnerability of motorcyclists to serious injury, perhaps combined with photographs or film of a motorcyclist being carted off to an ambulance and the auto driver being carted off to jail.

I haven't yet touched upon what we consider to be the centerpiece of our proposal for effectively reducing the incidence of motorcycle accidents and hence for reducing all manner of motorcycle injury. Before I do that permit me to describe some the secondary contributory factors to the two-thirds of motorcycle accidents resulting from auto driver negligence.

As noted above, the majority result from auto driver inattention at intersections. Other factors include lane change accidents and rear end accidents. When an auto driver turns into a motorcyclist riding or passing in an adjoining lane it is commonly because the auto driver doesn't know that his rear view mirrors have holes in them large enough to obscure a motorcyclist in an adjoining lane of traffic. The auto driver doesn't appreciate that he needs to turn his head into his rear view blind spot to look for a motorcyclist riding or passing in the adjoining lane. Motorcycle rear-end accidents occur both as the result of inattentional blindness, including the sub-issue of "relevance" discussed above, and because auto drivers simply do not realize that motorcycles can stop much more quickly than cars so that they need to provide a greater distance when following a motorcycle.

Now, to the real solution to your public health crisis, because the real solution is one readily within the powers of the Governor. Lets first make plain the real problem. The problem is auto driver ignorance of motorcycle safety issues, and in particular, auto driver ignorance of the motorcycle accident avoidance strategies which they must employ for the protection of their vulnerable two-wheeled brethren.

The solution to ignorance is education. Specifically mandatory auto driver education on motorcycle safety issues and motorcycle accident avoidance strategies. First, modify your auto driver education booklets and written materials to include comprehensive information on motorcycle safety issues and motorcycle accident avoidance strategies. Second, include in the written tests which your auto drivers must take to obtain and renew their drivers licenses again a comprehensive list of motorcycle safety questions. Third, because of the singular importance of assuring that auto drivers fully appreciate their responsibilities to avoid endangering vulnerable motorcyclists, adopt a policy to deny driving privileges to any auto driver who fails to answer correctly even one motorcycle safety question.

This same type of information and testing process should be included in all other auto driver safety programs, including, for example, state auto driver education and instructional materials, the written materials provided in connection with driving schools, including those attended by drivers as an alternative to paying traffic violation fines, as well as every other curriculum for your state's auto drivers, such as those required of individuals convicted of DUI or other serious driving offenses.

I would be pleased to consult with your staff or Department of Motor Vehicles staff in developing appropriate motorcycle safety information materials and motorcycle test questions. Obviously, I would be pleased to do this without charge. I have some specific recommendations which might not be obvious to others, which are derived from my research in this subject matter. For example, since inattentional blindness is an "unconscious" phenomenon, it is necessary to provide auto drivers a specific conscious task to perform when engaging in the behaviors during which they pose a risk to motorcyclists. Just for the purpose of example, auto drivers might be informed that the speed of oncoming motorcycles is more difficult to gauge, and so they need to take the time specifically to assess the speed of an oncoming motorcycle before entering an intersection or turning left at an intersection when a motorcycle is within the visual field. It might appear "common sense" that the auto driver has to "see" the motorcycle before he can engage in a conscious task with respect to the motorcycle. But that is not accurate. When one has a conscious task to perform specific to a particular object in the visual field, in this case oncoming motorcycles, this actually has the effect to raise to conscious attention the object in the visual field upon which the task must be performed.

Bank robber Willie Sutton was once asked why he robbed banks. Mr. Sutton responded, "Because that's where the money is."

Those who focus on helmet legislation are robbing convenience stores, or to put it more plainly "convenient stores." There is no real "money" in convenience stores. It is not the scientific evidence that meaningful reduction in the incidence of the panoply of accident related motorcyclist injury can be achieved by helmet legislation, as politically "convenient" as it may be for politicians to pretend, in speeches to the majority, that they are doing something for the protection of our vulnerable minority, by paternalistically dictating what the minority should wear.

Your state "bank" is bulging at the seams with the caskets of dead bikers and gurneys filled with those who have been rendered catastrophically paralyzed, amputated, orthopedically wrecked, and disabled as the result of motorcycle accidents caused by the inattention and negligence of auto drivers.

If you veto the helmet repeal bill, all you will do is guarantee that this issue remains the focus of our legislative efforts in perpetuity, because our good freedom fighters will never give up their good fight for our personal dignity and our right to chose. By failing to take this unproductive helmet law debate off the table, by vetoing your legislatures bill to strike your helmet law, you will also tragically make it impossible for those of us concerned about the broader and much more important motorcycle safety issues to bring about a debate on the real motorcycle safety issues, and obtain real solutions to your real public health and real state fiscal realities.

Please, for the sake of your state's motorcycling community, show us that you are not just a political Governor, but a governor who actually cares about this peculiarly vulnerable minority of your citizenry and refrain from perpetuating the helmet debate with a veto of your good legislature's helmet law repeal. And then, let us turn to your real public health issues and work together to achieve the true solutions.

Thank you for your consideration, and if I can be of any further assistance in the above regard, please do not hesitate to contact me.

"M-A-D-D Ray" Henke
Motorcyclists Against Dumb Drivers


June 14, 2006 2:11 PM

What a Whole lot of blah blah. I live in Michigan and have been riding for 18 years. I would like the choice of wearing a helmet or not; just like my fellow riders in 31 states across our great country. Why is it that some stuffed shirt, republican or democrat, (I am a republican), who does not even ride thinks that he can make an informed decision on this issue?? We have so many busy bodies out there that want to restrict what we can see on television, because they have the inability to make a logical decision to CHANGE THE CHANNEL. Now people want KFC to show people that they use bad oil. DON'T EAT THERE!!!! IT IS FAST FOOD!!!!! Go somewhere else. How about a restraunt that has a NO SCREAMING CHILD BECAUSE OF BAD PARENTING SECTION!!!!!
If you do not like that our elected reps have SPOKEN FOR THE PEOPLE, then don't ride. Just don't limit my ability to make a choice. My one regret is that I wasted 60 seconds of my life reading your comment about the law. It really hurts to know that I fought in the Military for RIGHT TO BE WRONG!!!!!!


June 14, 2006 3:53 PM

"Motorcycles beware, cars are EVERYWHERE!"


June 16, 2006 9:35 AM

I'm an avid biker - have been for over 35 years. However, I do not consider the selfish and illogical bikers who promote riding without a helmet as part of my group.

Pure and simple, every statistic ever published clearly shows a direct cause and effect between riding without a helmet, and increased fatalities and serious head injuries. Bluntly, there is absolutely no data whatsoever to support their position - other than their patently selfish proclamations of "Freedom".

As a retired Military Officer, I take great exception that individuals would improperly assume that what I served for was to defend their "right" to be stupid, and to inflict the ramifications of their selfish behavior on the rest of us.

For all of you out there who insist that helmets should be a "choice", GROW UP!


June 16, 2006 5:48 PM

I can't believe I'm taking the time to comment on this "idiot's" article. You just worry about shining your BMW, and ironing your shirts. Does the sound of thunder bother you? It should! I make myself heard, so idiots like you talking on your cell phone and weaving in and out of traffic will see me. Mr. Kiley, I think you should permanently wear a helmet considering the only thing occupying your skull is hot air. Protect that air! Watch out for the flying ball bearings after you cut off a biker, asshole!


Joe Klemmer PHD

June 16, 2006 8:46 PM

It's about time Michigan and all states wake up. Motorcycles are dangerous, and requiring helmet usage does not change that fact.
ABATE of MI is a biker organization currently supporting free choice, however this choice is not for the benefit of law abiding citizentry. The majority of ABATE of MI board members are also members of the OUTLAWS M/C. The Outlaws are a gang whose members are drug trafficers, wanted for child molestation, illegal guns, some are wanted for child pornography and some are wanted as "killers for hire". These are DOMESTIC TERRORISTS. And they have infiltrated both state and local governments by becoming political party delegates and lobbing canidates for both parties.
These criminals have a greater adgenda than repealing the mandatory helmet law.
I think its time our lawmakers finally get their heads out of the sand and not only ignore any helmet repeals, but actually pass laws that would eliminate motorcycles altogether. Insurance companies could raise their rates to extreme levels, local comunities could ban cycles within the same distance parameters as with street drugs. Localities could start by banning cycles from residential areas as well as community parks. Banks could put up restrictions to prevent bikers from using drive-up ATM's. Cities like Royal Oak could ban Bike Nights. Local laws and fines enacted to reduce noise level and congestion, and reducing the exhaust pollution caused by these murdercycles could increase the police budgets.
The state needs to stop funding terrorist training. Michigan subsidizes education for cycle driver education. It does not use taxpayer dollars to fund auto driver education. Why are bikers above the law? This state has for years had "No Fault" insurance. Yet cycle riders have been exempt from this requirement. Why haven't the police ticketed bikers for noncompliance to seatbelt requirements? In this state two cars are prohibited from driving two abreast in one lane, yet bikers are never stopped from this dangerous behaviour. Why aren't bikers required to carry the same insurance liability coverage as automobile drivers? Studies have shown that at least 73% of bikers don't have their bikes legaley insured. Why do the taxpayers in MI need to pay for their medical coverage? Why aren't bikers pulled over in sobriety check lanes? Insurance studies have shown that there are at least three times as many bikers that have blood alchol levels higher than allowed compared to other motorists. No one seems to care about the dangerous levels of drugs in their bloodstream.
Why do we allow bikers to drive at unsafe speeds while the rest of the motoring public must obey the safe limits.
Michigan needs to get rid of terrorists, and not laws that protect the innocent.


June 17, 2006 3:49 PM

Heh, why in the world someone has this guy, who doesn't even ride or know what he's talking about write a article about this subject is beyond me. Of course if you go by AAA's or any of the 'coalition for helmet law' stats, it will be a biased horror story showing the worst case scenario and theories. however there are states that do not have helemt laws, and guess what? what they're saying just isn't true. fatalities do not go up like they claim, costs do not go through the roof like they claim, and many people even in those states still choose to wear the helmet. Also a side note, refrain from calling us all idiots and greasers or asking if we have health insurance...come on...We're lawyers, we're movie stars, we're politicians, we make the full spectrum of wages and we live the full spectrums of lives, just like any cager. Some motorcycles have price tags of well over 100K, and we buy them up like candy. Don't make the mistake of thinking cagers are somehow higher society than us. If Gramholm, vetoes, we won't have to worry about her doing it again when we pass it next time, cause she won't be our governor, plain and simple.


June 18, 2006 3:48 PM

Freedom, freedom to choose....if I choose to ride without a helmet and get killed....well it was my stupid what if I get killed wearing a brain bucket....still my choice....keep the darn government out of my life Iam an adult living in the USA I don't need or want the government running my choices...


June 18, 2006 10:53 PM

Maybe if Mr. Rothlisberger's bike had a nice set of LOUD thunder headers or something of the like, the driver of the car would have heard him and not made a left hand turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle. As well, the average motorcycle helmet does not protect the jaw-line nor nose areas.


June 20, 2006 1:43 PM

yada yada yada


June 20, 2006 1:47 PM

I cant believe it either. What you said is moronic.

Jon Osborn

June 21, 2006 5:41 PM

Let those who ride decide, I have been riding for 42 years, I wear my helmet, but at least give us the choice.... Most bikers carry more insurance than they need on their machines..

Why don't school children have to wear seatbelts on their bus, talk about stupid....


June 22, 2006 12:34 PM

OK, now I know I am not alone with the thoughts I have concerning the helmet repeal. All the talk about costs going up, brains being bashed on the pavement, insurance rates increasing, cagers being required to pull money out of their pockets for victims of bike crashes.
It's true folks, many riders will still wear a helmet. I know many of them. The opinions made by those who do not ride astound me. It's like me giving my opinion on baseball, football or golf.
I face it that I know nothing about certain things in life so I have nothing of any value to add to them.
Why would I want to look like a stupid ass anyway?
I've written many responses to this topic and I realize time is running short for the repeal to become any type of reality. I'm saddened by hearing so many down grading remarks about those who ride too. Doesn't any of those people notice how bad some people drive automobiles? Don't they hear of accidents every day? Who pays for those uninsured motorists? How about those who don't even have a drivers license or insurance?
Most motorcycles cost more than some of the cars on the roads, maybe even more than some people's homes. I know mine wasn't cheap and I take care of it and I insure it too.
We generally all have jobs and many of us also contribute much of our time and money to benefits for those who need some help in life.
Not only are there those who speak of bikes in general who know nothing about them but they also criticise the people who ride them. I've met more decent people on two wheels than I ever did who drive on four.
And this includes the M/C riders too. And guess what? They actually have love for one another and take their brotherhood seriously. Try hugging another cager and you'll probably get punched.
Stay out of my back yard people and I'll stay out of yours. This does not concern any of you but somehow you think you need to step to the front and pretend you know something about it.
As for those who do ride and still wish to pronounce that this issue is ignorant, you can remain wearing your helmets so you don't really have anything of value to add either. When all people on our roads realize that is their actions they take while driving or riding that matters most, maybe then we will no longer need to worry about injuries to ourselves and others. Hence, mandatory seatbelt usage and helmet useage will not have to be mandated any more.
One thing I do notice while riding helmetless in Ohio is that the people there are treated as adults. Their parks don't need railings over cross walks, they can use fire works and you can ride free. Why must Michigan residents be treated like children?

David Bradley

July 3, 2006 6:49 PM

Mr. Kiley, Talk only about what you know from experience. Hand wringing won't do any good. Only brings you stress..

andrew runyard

July 10, 2006 6:59 PM

I have been riding for four years. I wear a helmet sometimes and sometimes I don't. The real issue is choice. I made a decision 6 years ago to be right with God through His Son Jesus, who died for our sins.Made a choice to be right with God. Real simple, not religion but relationship. If I die on my motorcycle helmet or not, I know it is well with my soul that I made the best choice.

Jame Chang

August 12, 2006 5:07 PM

Unlike Mr. Kiley, I do ride. I am also a physician in Michigan and have written every member of the State House Transportation Committee and Gov. Granholm to veto SB 297 (that is I support the mandatory helmet laws). I am happy, both personally and professionally, that Gov Granholm vetoed this stupid bill.

The opponents of mandatory helmet laws frequently site the same, flawed studies claiming that helmets don't save lives, reduce injuries, or in fact increase them. The overwhelming body of evidence directly supports the efficacy of helmets. Many studies compare the fatality rates and injury rates before and after a change in a given state's helmet law (e.g. California, Kentucky, Louisana). Like the rest of the substantial mountain of evidence, death rates and injury rates drop in states when helmets are required and rise in states where helmets are made optional (adjusting for miles driven, number of registrations, etc).

To those who think that helmets don't increase saftey or even more dangerous than going without, think about this: ever notice that Jeff Gordon, Dale Jr., Mario Andretti, Michael Schumacher, Jeremy McGrath, etc. are all wearing helmets? Every professional race car drive and motorcycle driver wears a helmet. Don't you think that their governing bodies would eliminate the helmets if they didn't increase safety of were even more dangerous that going without?

J Oswald

August 17, 2006 12:50 PM

In response to one of the postings discussing the ABATE board and the Motorcycle Club "The Outlaws", to group all motorcycle clubs into the category of lawless and criminal is idiotic in itself. Would you say that the "Band of Brothers" Motorcycle club is made up of criminals? How about the multitude of Christian bike clubs? You state that we should ban motorcycles and bike nights among others. I am sure the US workers employed by the bike manufactures would love to support a bill like that. In addition the bike nights that occur all over the country generate a huge amount of revenue, which this state needs. There is another comment in your response which states that motorcyclists are not required to carry as much liability insurance as automobile drivers are, I'm not sure what insurance company you looked into but my insurance has both liability as well as a requirement for me to carry additional medical coverage if I did not have a comprehensive medical plan. As far as 73% of motorcyclists not having legal insurance, is asinine as well, finance companies require a motorcycle to be insured just as car companies do and with the cost of motorcycles I know very few people who pay cash for them when they cost anywhere from 5,000 to 40,000 dollars.
Motorcycling is a recreational sport that we have the freedom to participate in, just like backyard football and downhill skiing, both of which contribute to emergency room visits as well. Should we all just go to work daily, go home, and sit in our houses so that no one is injured?
I believe riders should have an option but knowing how much my insurance will increase without the helmet law, I would prefer we keep it.

John McKimmy

August 18, 2006 10:45 AM

I have seen many crashes. One I remember a cyclest was curled up like a rag doll or pretzel on a 3 lane highway. His helmet was smashed into a thousand piceses. I steped over the body asuming he was dead. Five moments later the paramedics had him strightened out and talking. I saw a amazed. If he had not had a helmet on. It would have been his head smashed on the pavement instead of his helmet. I was glad he lived because of his helmet.


August 28, 2006 6:02 PM

I disagree I believe people no matter what age should wear helmets because you never know when your gonna go and if your on a motorcycle maybe if your wearing a helmet you'll prevent death. And i know you'll regret when it happens to you or a loved one.

Mike Davidge

August 29, 2006 11:54 AM

Mr. Kiley,

As a person that would truley enjoy riding my motorcycle without a helmet, let me put this into perspective for you.

Judging from your picture, you sir are eating in a manner that is causing you to be over weight. It would also appear that you are not getting the propper amount of exercise. Statistically, over weight people that do not exercise are at a far greater risk of ailments and disease that will kill you. Not to mention that these ailments will drive up our collective cost of health insurance.

With your logic, you should support legislation mandating that people eat only healthy foods, in the appropriate portions and exercise daily.

Statistically, there are far more people dieing from disease and conditions related to these problems then there are people dieing from not wearing helmets on motorcycles. If you do not support this type of legislation, by your logic, you are an idiot. Really, look at all those lifes you could save, including your own. You know that you are eating recklessly - cant you see that?

The problem in this country is that everyone thinks we live in a democracy. Because most think this, we in effect do live in a democracy. Our fore fathers established a constitutionally limited republic, not a democracy. Would like to live in a democracy of 9 canibals and yourself? We should have individual rights, choice and yes responsibilities in this country.

If it costs the insurance company more because I do not wear a helmet - how about them charging me more. This plan eliminates your whining about me costing you money. I don't want to cost anyone a nickel. Just give me the freedom to do what I want and I will pay the bill.

It is unfortunate that this is no longer possible in this this republic that has truley turned into a democracy.

You can have no individual rights in a democracy. Be careful, when the masses decide to vote, there is no telling what they will save us from next.

Sir, please read the constitution and explain to me why it is illegal for me to drive my motorcycle without a helmet. The law is simply unconstitional - you just cant find judges and legislators with the guts to preserve our rights.


September 21, 2006 9:07 AM

this is bull


November 6, 2006 10:27 AM

I am really tired of being called a idiot because I want to ride my motorcycle without the helmet I want anyone of you helmet law supporters to tell me who I am putting at risk besides MYSELF and don't give me the medical bills line of B.S. either. I along with all the others who oppose the helmet law carry as much or more insurance than anyone in a car and I am putting no one but myself at risk so if you want to complain about those of us who ride without the helmet tell someone who cares because most of you who are for the helmet law never have and never will ride a motorcycle

Tony Cassise

November 9, 2006 2:53 PM

If only there was this much passion on both sides for world peace. Freedom don't come cheap-but one does have to stand up for what they believe in,and it is done with one vote for each of us until a better system comes along. Fight fair, honest,and live with the end results.

jacqui nunes

November 10, 2006 1:39 PM

I may be late in replying to this, but I've been riding for YEARS. I reside in Michigan,, God help me,,, and the helmet law sucks! I originally come from Rhode Island, where the helmet law is alot better. Ok, riders dont have to wear one if they dont want one. freedom of CHOICE! Passengers do, though, have to wear one. If youre a minor, riding on the back, yes, you should wear a helmet for consious sake. I am grown and if i want to ride without a helmet, i damn well should be able to without the fat grease eating, cigar smokin 6 figure a year jerks telling me i have to. Loud pipes saves lives. while you are driving in your car, talking on your cell phone, probably in a conferance call, with a donut on your lap, and coffee in your hand, I guarantee you will not hear a quiet bike coming.
Get off your high horse and let us choose! a friend of mine died in a bike accident, which wasnt his fault and what killed him? the helmet. he had a DOT full face helmet on, and the way he landed, it snapped his neck. he would be alive today if he didnt have to wear the helmet. thank you

Paul Langford

November 10, 2006 5:01 PM

No Darwin Awards. People have the right to die. But don't splatter over my road!

Tracy Fletcher

November 20, 2006 1:00 AM

I'd like to tell you all a story from both sides of this issue.

Nine years ago my sister was in a motorcycle crash. She lost an arm, broke her neck, shattered her entire left leg, broke her right knee, and wrist. She was in the hospital for months with many operations. For five days we didn't know if she would even live. She did, and is doing well now, because she had on a helmet. The car that hit her was totaled. They hit her left side, she went through their windshield and went over the top of the car. She landed on the pavement where her helmet shattered, but protected her head.

I had never been in an accident, I am 38 years old. In augest, at 8:45 in the morning I was going to a school to have a meeting to enroll my autistic child into a county program. I crept up on the school because I had not been there before. I did yield to make my left, I didn't see any on coming traffic. I turned, heard this terrible noise,stopped and saw a man on the ground as his bike slid past him into the ditch. I knew when I ran over to him that he was dead. I didn't know what happened, I was in shock for a while. I saw his brains on the road, and he did not have on a helmet!
As far as I could see there were no other injuries.
It took 2 months for an investication, and I was arrested for vehicular manslaughter. I go to court tomorrow for a pre trial.
There are some of you who might think I deserve this, but you need to think of your own families. There have been two families destoyed by this. His family will never be the same, I will never be the same, my children who were there will never be the same.
I have been over this a million times in my head trying to make peace with this. The sun was bright, and I think his light must have blended in with the sun. I DID NOT SEE HIM!!! I wasn't drinking,speeding,talking on the phone, hill hopping or nothing like that.
I don't want anyone's rights taken from them. I live in Ohio, there is not a helmet law. I wish there was. I understand the freedom one gets from riding, but do you people understand that people don't see you??? I have always been scared of bikes, but I do look for them especially after my sister's accident.
My sister said this to me just a few weeks ago, she said that she didn't cry very much, we all thought she was so strong and that the reason was because she didn't think it would happen to her, but she knew the risks involved every time she got on her bike. Everybody is loved by somebody, please wear your helmets.


November 21, 2006 10:08 PM

I am doing a report on how all states should pass a law requiring helmets for motorcyclists, and I've been looking up information on it and in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM it tells how when people not waering a helmet either get killed, have critical damage done, or they live and there insurance goes throught the roof! There was one article that talk about The Negative Impact of the Repeal of the Arkansas Motorcycle Helmet Law
and in that all the numbers increased significantly from nonhelmeted deaths at the scene of a crash, also "Overall,patients who were nonhelmeted had significantly higher AIS (Abbreviated Injury Scale)scores for head and neck, significanlty more severe head injuries, 47% versus 20%, and LONGER LENGTH OF INTENSIVE CARE UNIT STAY. Now if you want to be some dumb person who wants to kill themselves (that's what you're basically doing) go right ahead and don't wear your helmet. I also have a personal experience with this because by brother who at the age of 22 died because an old lady who couldn't see over her dashboard or else she wasn't plain looking rain right into him. He flew over the bike onto the hood of her car, his buddy behind him hit my brothers bike, and he was killed instantly. Now if any of you gerks want to say that wearing a helmet is stupid or whatever you want to call your all very extremely wrong! Now my youngest brother (who is 24) is wearing a very tight padded helmet! And to that John Smith guy whose been riding for 24 years before you write another letter go back to Pre-school and learn how to make a capital "I" and how to spell "before", "environment", "something", and "against"!


November 24, 2006 3:07 PM

I beg to disagree, I ride a 06 CBR600 sport bike and personally I would not ride with out a helmet and full protective gear. I have also read all the pros and cons on the subject. I am also writing a paper for college on this very argument. I also can see the “point of view “of all of you that have replied to this topic. But let’s face it, would you rather be in a tank-top and shorts with a ball cap on or in a full leather riding gear with a helmet when you are involved in a crash?

Regular cloths will only protect you for about 30 feet if you are skidding across the ground, leathers will protect you for about 400 feet. Let’s look at the numbers, if we took all of the motorcycle crashes that were fatal, how many of them were sport bikes compared to “hog” riders, what I have found is that most of the “hog” riders that have this no helmet mentality are the ones that are getting killed. Now I am not bias towards hog riders, I have quiet a few friends that ride hogs and the like style of bike, but the ratio between hogs and sport bike, is staggering. For the most part I feel it is the out look of the rider that is getting them killed, besides 80% of all motorcycle accident are the rider’s faults. Just watch a AMA super bike race. You will get first hand knowledge of what protective gear will do for you.

I am pro helmet laws and I strongly feel that there should be a protective gear law as well.

Also here is a nice test you can try and have fun doing. Go buy a watermelon set it on your hood of your car, now drive down the road at the speed limit, now slam on your breaks, and watch what happens to the watermelon. That is your head with out a helmet.


November 24, 2006 3:08 PM

I beg to disagree, I ride a 06 CBR600 sport bike and personally I would not ride with out a helmet and full protective gear. I have also read all the pros and cons on the subject. I am also writing a paper for college on this very argument. I also can see the “point of view “of all of you that have replied to this topic. But let’s face it, would you rather be in a tank-top and shorts with a ball cap on or in a full leather riding gear with a helmet when you are involved in a crash?

Regular cloths will only protect you for about 30 feet if you are skidding across the ground, leathers will protect you for about 400 feet. Let’s look at the numbers, if we took all of the motorcycle crashes that were fatal, how many of them were sport bikes compared to “hog” riders, what I have found is that most of the “hog” riders that have this no helmet mentality are the ones that are getting killed. Now I am not bias towards hog riders, I have quiet a few friends that ride hogs and the like style of bike, but the ratio between hogs and sport bike, is staggering. For the most part I feel it is the out look of the rider that is getting them killed, besides 80% of all motorcycle accident are the rider’s faults. Just watch a AMA super bike race. You will get first hand knowledge of what protective gear will do for you.

I am pro helmet laws and I strongly feel that there should be a protective gear law as well.

Also here is a nice test you can try and have fun doing. Go buy a watermelon set it on your hood of your car, now drive down the road at the speed limit, now slam on your breaks, and watch what happens to the watermelon. That is your head with out a helmet.

Kim from Australia

December 21, 2006 3:00 AM

I am astounded at the number of motorcycle riders posting here who actually think that helmets don't save lives.

It's very irresponsible to voice such an opinion, as all evidence points to the contrary. See for a quick overview.

People talk about their 'freedom' to not wear a helmet. Any responsible motorcycle rider knows that they are invisible. When a driver makes a small error in judgement, and splatters your brains all over the road, they will have to live with that. Your decision to not wear a helmet does affect others.

If I knew a responsible driver who made an error in judgement, and a motorcycle rider was killed by head injuries, and wasn't wearing a helmet, I would console the driver by saying that the rider's death was their own fault. The accident may not be the riders fault, but the death is if they're not wearing a helmet.

It's somewhat of a moot point for me. Hell will freeze over before Australia makes it permissable to ride without a helmet. Even bicycle helmets are manditory here.

Derek Hoeckel

January 2, 2007 3:27 AM

Screw politicians and their bullsh*t laws! 'Nuff said!


January 5, 2007 2:38 PM

I have been riding my SV650 street bike for 6 years now and have put 30,000 miles on it. So far with several really close calls, (from unaware SUVs and cars- and yes a few of my own mistakes)I have to say I do not see how people can ride without the helmet and think that they are O.K. or "accidents are just accidents". I don't buy it. Other riders that pay their bike insurance don't want to pick up the tab for the guys riding and getting massive head injuries in their unfortunate accidents. Yes, if you go down on a motorcycle with a helment you are not immune from getting hurt. But your chances of becoming a vegatable in the hospital and driving insurance up increase dramatically.


April 21, 2007 2:26 PM

I wish people would have the guts to repeal seatbelt laws as well. Guess what, I don't want policemen running society. If you forget to wear your seatbelt, get pulled over by man with gun, get license taken, pay fine. It's getting really *(**(& old!!!!!!!! Freedom doesn't mean anything to anybody anymore. It's all about money and low insurance rates. I wish people would start sticking up for themselves and their rights. We don't need a police state.


June 2, 2007 12:08 PM

I get really pissed when I think of all the fools out there that have such strong opinions on things they have no experience with. If you do your research, you'll find that more states do not require a helmet than the ones that do. If it was such a safety hazard and so many more injuries and deaths, why has the feds not made it a federal law like a safety belt? It is jerkoffs like you that are eating your 6$ bagel and sipping on your 4$ frappachino pulling out in front of us bikers. And for all you people for the law, you act like repealing the law would make it mandatory for people not to wear it. I want the choice! It has to come to a stop sometime, if the government regulated everything thing that was not healthy or dangerous we would be rapped in bubble wrap mowing our lawns! There are more people dying from lung cancer from smoking in this state than helmet related head injuries. So what now, cigarrettes and cigars all illegal? Ohhhh,take away something you like that costs the rest of us and you're in an uprage! pissoff all you who think you have one glimpse of an idea of what the hell you're talking about!


June 7, 2007 8:03 AM

When I took my 3-day MSF course a few years ago, it was absolutely 100% recommended that we wear helmets at all times when riding. Over and over again, the instructors drilled on the point.

Not only that, but they said the reason helmets fail is because either a) people are wearing useless "cap"-style helmets that look cool but don't actually offer protection, or even full-face style helmets that are cheap and don't meet proper safety standards, or b) the helmets were already used once before in a fall or accident.

If (b) is true, you have to throw out the helmet. They're only good for one impact; then all the protection inside is worthless for the next one.

Why would MSF push and push on these points if they weren't true? They don't sell helmets.

Motor Man

June 8, 2007 8:35 PM

Don the helmet or stay off the bike!

W.W. Hanson

June 21, 2007 4:10 PM

I've ridden motorcyles for the past 29 years. When I was young--and stupid--I didn't always wear a helmet. Now, I won't ride without one, or without a kevlar jacket.

In Arizona, it's legal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, but not to ride in a car without using a seatbelt. I'm convinced that the only reason for this is that the politicians don't care whether or not the morons who spout off about their "freedom" to be stupid die off at a much faster pace. I personally know several people who have been in motorcycle accidents, and of those who weren't wearing a helmet, only one lived (3 died). Of those who were wearing a helmet, all 5 survived.

Yes, you can find studies that support not wearing a helmet. Having said that, you can also find studies that show that tobacco isn't harmful--which if anyone still believes to be true, I hope they go ride their motorcycle without a helmet...

As for loud pipes, that's another stupid argument put forth by people who think it's their right to be a jerk. If it helps improve the performance of the bike, fine, but if your bike violates noise pollution laws, then I think you should pay the fine (and fix the problem).


June 28, 2007 9:04 PM



August 7, 2007 7:39 PM

Well, I agree - with a statement from the article and with the other posters.... Helmets should be a matter of choice, and motorcycles are really loud. But something just occured to me: traditional motorcycles are on the way out - and electric powered motorcycles, scooters and "bikes" are coming in. News about these is all over the place - a feature on CarDevotion, other car-lover sites, even a recent in the New York Times! One thing I remember reading was that these are very quite machines... which means they're going to be even easier for reckless drivers to hit!

I have a really close family friend who has been hit on his motorcycle THREE TIMES! I thank God that he was wearing a helmet!


August 26, 2007 2:21 PM

As far as I know the right to choose is was and has always been a God given right and the Lord himself has not repealed it. So how can any law be made to deny a citizen his or her right to their pursuit of happiness as they see it? God let adam and Eve make their choices as should Michigan allow its Motercycle riders make theirs but when that helmetless rider lies in the streets don't burden the citizens of the state with having to clean up after or care for him/her. After all fair is only fair! Freedom of life, liberty or choice denied is Freedom denied everyone! When they come for one group and all do not stand up and speak out then who is going to speak for your group when they start taking your liberties away from you? Ask the gays, those who have had abotions or those who have had to pay fines for not wearing their helmets!

By the way, me and mine wear helmets but it is by choice!!! We don't need a law to tell us what is in our best interest!

and Justice for all? Not in Michigan!!!


August 31, 2007 4:16 PM

I think that the legislature should allow small children to bring guns to school. After all, if all children had guns, there would be less violence because all of them would take each other real seriously. Guns don't kill children, children kill children.

Also, I think people should be free to ride motorcycles without helmets and also nude. Think about it. What's all the fuss about freedom and helmets. I bet if you ride a motorcycle nude, you'd get busted in a heartbeat. And if this is really a free country, then why can't you do that?

Go ahead, call me crazy. But one man's freedom is to another man, highly ridiculous. But to say one man should be free from wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle, but that I can't ride one nude is discrimination.

It is more than a little amusing to watch a society of slaves argue about the "freedom" inherent in the most irrelevant little things. People who "choose" to work long hours and commute every day until they are but a few short years from death... almost all doing things that they'd rather not be doing to "make a living" (what the hell does that mean?).

Yes, freedom and helmets are very closely related indeed. Don't think about the 55 hours each week you are an indentured servant -- escaping that certainly wouldn't free you, but riding your motorcycle around for an hour or two when you're off the clock -- now that's real freedom!


August 31, 2007 4:49 PM

Lane-splitting (i.e. weaving in and out through traffic) done properly will help save lives. The rider is most at risk while surrounded by drivers who are more often than not oblivious to his/her presence. Weaving out of traffic will get us away from those who will probably kill us. I agree that some take it too far, doing 100 kph between cars stuck in gridlock is asinine, but doing it at 20-30 kph to get out of said gridlock benefits all, me for getting away, and you for having one less vehicle stuck in it. Maybe you just don't like the fact that I got away when you didn't. Jealousy is a terrible thing... BTW I support mandatory helmets, freedom of choice is far too often used to legitimise stupidity. Maybe you feel better without it, but my insurance premium, which does go up because of the number of accidents tells me to tell you to put the bloody helmet on.


September 5, 2007 11:23 PM

I know i dont ride a motorcycle. But i ride a scooter in taxachusetts. I left the house 1 time with out my helmet just because. I got stopped by the nazi police an bugged me about the freaking helmet. After showing them i have a lic. an the scooter was mine. They let me go an not on my marry way. Back home asap! Mandatory helmets laws are just stupid. Ive had wrecks on skateboards,bicycles doing crazy sh*t. Im still alive but now i gotta wear this plastic shell just because its the "LAW"


September 7, 2007 1:21 PM

You're one of those idiots!! I always veer my Caddy towards you guys when you do that!! How dare you get ahead of us who were there first!! And Yes! Put the damn helmet on!


October 8, 2007 10:34 AM

I LOVE how bikers like to claim that they make their bikes as loud as possible in the interest of safety, but they fight against having to wear helmets. I think they've hit their heads too many times without a helmet!!!


October 11, 2007 11:04 AM

I've been riding for 17 years. Commute daily. No question about it: helmets save lives. Just ask any MC racer, such as Moto GP, all of whom crash every season at speeds of over 100 mph, only to sometimes continue in the same race. That being said, I agree with Sean above. We have FAR bigger threats to our FREEDOMS in this country than whether or not you have to wear a helmet while riding. The people who serve our country are dying in a war based on lies. The government is printing money and making our currency and savings worthless, while bailing out Wall Street. All telephone conversations and emails can be intercepted without a warrant. Dogs ate the corpses of Americans on the streets of New Orleans, with no relief. Want to get riled about something? Get riled about where our country is headed.

bob latham

December 5, 2007 11:30 PM

I've been riding since 1966 in Australia and helmet laws were introduced into our State in 1971.

I hate em. I've had 4 friends killed over the years, one prior to helmet laws (he wasn't wearing one) and the other 3 were, so helmets made no difference in these cases.

As long as people carry enough insurance for their medical bills everyone else should just butt out.

My death is of no one else's concern.

I've been to the U.S twice riding and will be back in 2008 with plenty of insurance to cover medical bills.

I can't wait to be back in Wyoming, Montana etc. for helmet free riding.

I can't see our jerk politicians here repealing the helmet laws here because they are control freaks.

Thank God some of your States have some personal freedoms.


December 7, 2007 12:03 AM

This is a personal freedom and a personal decision that the government should stay out of. Mandating helmet use is just another attempt for them to regulate and discourage personal freedoms and risky behavior. If you let them continue to take away your freedom to decide whether or not to wear a helmet because it's not safe, what happens when they decide motorcycles themselves are too risky? The majority of the country has already rolled over on seat belts. What other risky behaviors are we going to allow them to regulate? Parachuting? Drinking? Overeating? Sex without a condom? Enough is enough people; our forefathers gave their lives so we could enjoy the freedoms we have. Why are we so flippantly willing to give them up?

dave carter

December 31, 2007 6:27 PM

FREEDOM>>>>> was this not what this country was founded upon? from my youth in the 60s riding motorcycles, the 1st stupidity we fell for was that you did not have to wear your helmet but you must carry it with you on your bike, a second for a passenger. well its been down hill from there. we have lost so many freedoms to the powers that be who come up with these controls and laws to make themselves feel good at night, like they have done some great thing. BS... Its time for a rebelion! anyone got the kahonies?

mister magoo

January 3, 2008 12:01 PM

I think the helmet law should stand.If you crash with a helmet on your chances of survival will be greater.For those that say freedom is what this country is founded upon,well it is but safety regulations is also a freedom.We have safer buildings,cars,workplaces and the like.Helmets save lives like seat belts do in cars.We have to wear seat belts when driving automobiles I would anyway as I would wear a helmet if I were on a motorcycle.

Al Phillips

April 11, 2008 9:44 PM

we're actually missing the big picture here.The fact is, that by legislating things like helmet and seat-belt laws the government has exceeded its mandate by leaps and bounds. IT IS NOT our governments job to protect us from ourselves. the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights clearly spell this out for anyone who can read english and understand the big words. For those of you here who believe you have the right to tell your neighbors how to live their lives. I recommend you buy a dictionary and keep it close by while you re-read those documents.
What we need to remember is thatabsolute power corrupts absolutly. When we allow them( our elected officials) to cross the lines and exceed their mandate for things we agree with, it sets a precident. Which our leaders never fail to use to cross the lines and exceed their mandates in places where we don't want them to. It took our Continental congress 11 years to create a document that all the colonies would agree too.It's a timeless document and it is as relavant today as it was over 200 years ago when it was created. We just have to be strong, accept the things that we dont like about what others do as either foolish or arogant or stupid and remember each of us has the right to make our own decisions about what our personal priorities are, reguardless of what anyone thinks. Because thats what it means to be an American .

Live Free and Ride Hard Ya'll

william bennett

April 26, 2008 3:22 AM

i have riding forover and my wife have been going to daytona and sturgis every year for the last 10 or so.sturgis has been getting more than 500,000 bikers every year.accidents are very few because truck and car respect bikers there. there is no motorcycle helmet law there or florida.these states like bikers because they spend and this helps all areas in both states.aslong as michigan has the helmet law they are losing is everyones respondabily not just bikers michigan needs to step up and repeel this law and making cars and trucks respondable.

Can You Hear me NOW

June 4, 2008 3:48 PM

Give the man a break for trying to make an extra dollar. He is probably collecting some money from all of the helmet companies across the globe. Kiley, You want a helmet law, move to a state that will not pass the no helmet law. But in the mean time, if you pull out in front of me, be prepared for the consequences! LOUD PIPES and GOOD BRAKES on my scoot!


June 4, 2008 4:22 PM

The helmet law should stand...A bunch of BS. Next thing we know all of us bikers will be riding mopeds because these lawmakers, suitwearers, BMW drivers, multi million dollar house owners who run our state will ban everything we ride besides a dang moped.


June 7, 2008 11:05 PM

The most aggravating thing about this whol e topic is that your trying to convince us we should be wearing a helmet by insulting us. Makes you look very intelligent for one. I am gonna try to help you using the same method. You suck as a reporter and should consider other avenues of employment, ie sanitation engineer (if you are a sanitation engineer and reading this please dont be offended) The mere fact that someone allowed you to publish this drivel gives cause for Idiot reporters to rejoice. I hope that I helped you.

Dane Williams

June 14, 2008 8:44 AM

I live in NW Ohio. My HOG group, of 120 members, was planning a trip to Dundee. I killed the plan when I said I don't ride in Mich., they have a helmet law! The fact is I have not set foot in Mich., in over 20 years, on or off my bike, due to the helmet law.
I don't need Jenny-poo, taking money from the insurance industry and telling me how to ride my motorcycle.

chuck smith

June 18, 2008 6:46 AM

South Carolina cyclists are not required to wear helmets. North Carolina cyclists are required to wear helments. Motorcycle accident deaths are 7 times more likely in SC tnat in NC! Lot of lives could be saved it SC would do the right thing and enact mandatory helmet laws!


June 19, 2008 10:06 AM

I too am sick and tired of the REAL IDIOTS who have nothing better to do than interfer in my life, and try and tell me what is right or wrong with my bike and my lifestyle. The writer of this article obviously knows nothing about motorcycles, or he would not have made the statement refering to noise pollution. To me, the sound of a good running, air cooled, V-Twin engine is beautiful music. Well tuned, "LOUD" pipes set the bike apart, and again, are music to my ears. My wife knows when I am coming home, cause she can tell the distinctive sound of my bike. And I thought we were living in America folks, the land of the free, where Americans have the "Freedom" of choice. The Freedom to chose to wear a helmet or not. Just like the Freedom to wear a striped tie or plain, can you understand that Mr. Writer. I am sick and tired of you stuffy, suit wearing Idiots always trying to tell me how to live my life. I've been riding bikes for almost 30 years now, had two accidents in my early days, but knock on wood, I've haven't had one since. Yes, Motorcycling can be dangerous, Yes, people get killed. But what are the statistics? Most riders get hit by a Cager crossing, left turn, in front of the riders right of way. Cars hit bikes, bikes don't hit cars! Shouldn't we do a better job in educating auto drivers in watching out for motorcycles instead of weighing bikers down with more laws and rules that do nothing to help them. American Politicians need to "wakeup" to reality, America needs to "wake up"!! Citizens hear a motorcycle, think it's annoying because of the sound, and believe all bikers are annoying. How many baffles are needed in my pipes before you will accept me and my bike for who I am? Government already requires too much crap on a bike now, that it interfers with the quality of the bikes performance. No matter if it's a Harley, Honda, Crotch Rocket or Custom Build, all riders should have the choice to wear a helmet or not, we should be able to customize our bikes or not. And we should be able to expect our bikes to perform, and not need to go to great lengths and expence to bypass and change all the crap the Government insists the manufactures install at the factory. Mr. Writer, go write about something you know something about!!

Paul Kerns

June 20, 2008 7:51 PM

I think everyone should wear a helmet in my opinion, I have been riding since before I joined the Army and that was 14 years ago. In the military regardless of state law we have to wear them. I hear some complain and give a thousand excuses why it is not fair. If someone wants to go without out wearing one then fine, let them, but when you are laying in the hospital hooked up to machines to keep you alive due to severe head trauma then there is no one to blame but yourself. Like it would matter anyway.

I would also like to comment to Khris the Detroit Police officer about helmets not being any good over the speed of 35MPH. While I am sure you may have seen some wrecks where a rider has gotten messed up there are lots of things that come into play involving a wreck. I myself have taken a spill at 55+ because someone in front of me felt it was more important to slam on his brakes to a scretching halt so he could make his exit instead of going up one more and turning around. I lowsided because there was no where to go, it was either try to stop or go off the road and take my chances with the ditch. I tried everything that I could to avoid it but in the end it was my head and the pavement that said hello to each other. I walked away with just a small patch of road rash to my right arm. So yes I firmly beleive they help even at higher speeds. Also look at the AMA races as well, they take spills at over 100MPH and usually just get up like nothing happened.

Florida just did the same thing not to long ago and removed the helmet law. Like I said before if you don't want to wear one then don't, it is your body and your family that will have to deal with the problem if you should wreck, which I hope never happens to any rider. I had to wear Kevlar helmets and ballistic vests that weighed what felt like a ton in Iraq but it was made for a reason. Safety! Now that I am unable to continue my military service after being medically evacuated from Iraq I plan on going back home and purchasing another motorcyle and even though I am no longer required to ride by the Army's motorcyle standards anymore I will still wear my gloves, helmet, leather jacket...etc.

I would like to encourage everyone who reads this and rides or is about to get into riding to wear safety gear. And don't go cheap on what you buy, I had a nice $500 SHOEI and it saved my a$$. Flame me, call me an idiot I don't care but this is just an opinion and an encouragment to wear safety gear no matter the states law because as most experienced riders know most wrecks are caused by inexperienced or new riders or by people in cars that just do not pay attention to people on motorcyles.


July 11, 2008 2:09 PM

My two cents...

Point: Those quoting Goldstein's 22-year-old study should take into account that NEW information might be considerably more relevant.

Point: In today's cars, with their excellent sound systems and engineering for road-noise reduction, loud pipes don't provide the "early warning" you say they do. Additionally, you can't reasonably argue that helmets reduce your ability to hear what's happening around you, and then ride around deafening anyone who isn't hermetically sealed in their car.

Point: Okay, so Joe Rider slams into the pavement and his head snaps back (or forward, or to the side) because of his helmet. Uh, have helmet opponents considered the damage to his skull/face without said helmet? I've seen it. It ain't pretty.

Point: I've been on bike scenes as the unfortunate rookie bearing the shovel and red bag. Maybe helmets don't save lives at speeds over xx mph (pick something, everyone seems to have a different opinion), but I CAN tell you without hesitation that if you're gonna crash, cleaning you up off the blacktop is a lot easier - and faster - if you keep it all in one place. Bonus: You may even still look good enough for an open casket.

Point: You may choose -- in most states -- to NOT wear a helmet. Feel the wind in your hair! You will not choose when a soccer mom in a rush and on her cell phone abruptly changes lanes so she doesn't miss her exit. You definitely will not choose when Bambi , Thumper, or Benji darts out in front of you. It might be 100% someone else’s fault; will that really make you feel better?

Point: My sister works for Social Security. Ask one of those folks how many applications for benefits they see for head-injured motorcycle riders who can't work anymore. It's more than you would expect. And hey, that's on my tab and yours!

Point: There's an argument that "at least he's an organ donor." Sadly, helmetless organ donors are often useless, because they've either tumbled so much they've destroyed the goods, or their DOA status makes them non-candidates for harvesting.

We have seatbelt laws for all to protect the few who are involved in collisions. A seatbelt doesn't do anything for people outside of the vehicle, yet we're required to wear them FOR OUR OWN PROTECTION. How does wearing a helmet differ?

I don't believe helmet laws are formed by some evil, statistic-spinning suit who has never been on a bike bent on legislating away your right to make a choice. (Hello, a helmet is NOT a necktie.) It's a public safety issue.

Whether you believe it or not, other people pay the price when someone takes a dive, and not just in monetary terms. Ask the witnesses, cops, rescue and emergency department, bystanders, and friends and families.

Lid or no lid? Either way , keep the shiny side up!



July 14, 2008 1:43 AM

This whole helmet/no helmet issue is silly. You ride without a helmet and don't have enough insurance to cover you, you don't get treated if you crash! End of story. You know the risks going in and choose to ignore them, why should society be responsible?
I propose a bill that would limit the amount the state could spend on an injured motorcyclist who was not wearing a helmet that was at fault for the accident. This would not force anyone into wearing a helmet, but would certainly make anyone think twice about riding with no helmet. If I am driving my car and hit someone who is not wearing their seatbelt I am still responsible for their medical care. Why can we not hold people to the same standards for motorcycle accidents? You hit a biker, you are responsible for their medical, regardless of whether they were wearing a helmet or not. The situation is the same, the severity of the car accident could have been lower had the driver been wearing a seatbelt, likewise the motorcycle rider may have survived or been less injured with a helmet and proper gear on, but it is the driver that hit them that is responsible for causing the accident. There is no such thing as an accident. Accidents are usually attributed to a driver not paying attention to their surroundings, that is no accident, merely bad driver training.
If I am out riding my dirtbike I wear full protective gear, but if I am injured and my medical insurance coverage runs out the state takes over. If you are in an auto accident and your insurance runs out the state takes over. I think the nation just has it out for us bikers. They believe we are a bunch of hell-raising, beer drinking troublemakers. I guess they forget that our founding fathers themselves caused all kinds of hell for the British and I'm sure drank their fair share of beer. They would be appalled to see the lengths that our government has gone to ensuring they control what people do. Seatbelt laws, speeding tickets, helmet laws, they are all the same. They are another way for the government to control us. Why can I not run 80mph on an open freeway that has more than adequate visibility if traffic is light? Why should I be forced to wear a helmet because a bunch of non-riders decided that I should have to wear one?

What's next? Require anyone riding a motorcycle to wear CE approved riding boots, pants, jacket, and gloves? Where does it end? Will I be fined because I decided that it was way too hot today and since I can't afford a special mesh jacket for the high temperatures I just went without?

Wear a helmet or don't, just don't expect anyone to pick up the bill after you have an accident that is your fault. The same could apply for anyone driving a car not wearing their seatbelt. This would be a much harsher penalty than a simple fine and would really make people think twice. I don't know of any insurance company that will deny medical payment if the driver was not wearing a seatbelt, maybe they should start. More drivers would probably be wearing seatbelts.

Government control of the situation is the worst possible solution. Education, and incentives are key, but a silly law to give a ticket to a rider not wearing a helmet does nothing to prevent an accident. I wear a helmet because I know that I could go down. I don't think I am going to go down, but you never know about that girl ahead fixing to pull out, she could be putting on makeup or adjusting the radio and simply not see you. Bam, your head is smashed into the concrete. That half helmet did a lot more than no helmet to keep your brain from being all over the road. Sure you might have a broken neck that kills you, but if the crash was bad enough to break your neck then most likely your head would have been crushed without a helmet so it really doesn't matter.

Smiley Dave In Milford

July 19, 2008 2:34 AM

It's amazing how many with no ideal or should i say a predetermined ideal. Why listen to reason or let people have personal choices. Add your stats up you can make them prove you right. But those of you in your cars and other vehicles, Prove on a daily basis your not in control of your own driving behavior.Do you keep 1 car length per 10 mph.Id say not as you see everyone generally rides each others bumper. Next your radio, cell phone, kids, dogs not secured,your 3 to 16 drink cup holders so im sure you use them,not to mention fast food (worry about that health issue much larger than all bike accidents ever. Add em up,and now tv's so who is not paying attention. God Bless those who try to ruin (Run Our Lives) Please lets stop making more laws. when if ya just do what is right everything works out. More laws +people with no ability to learn,think for them selfs,and then we wonder were our rights go. Right out the window ,you voted your rights away as george takes your constitutional rights. So lets grow up be responsible were no helmets. How many tickets can they write. or charge us 25 bucks to go to head trama victims .
For those who choose to ride with no helment. Peace and Blessings to all.May God grant You The Ability to look from, Other people points and rights.And im a conservative Liberal Hippie!!!! Have a Blessed life. Its time too take control of our lives, live by example. Not restriction by law because were too stupid to think and get along.!!!!

Smiley Dave In Milford

July 19, 2008 2:35 AM

It's amazing how many with no ideal or should i say a predetermined ideal. Why listen to reason or let people have personal choices. Add your stats up you can make them prove you right. But those of you in your cars and other vehicles, Prove on a daily basis your not in control of your own driving behavior.Do you keep 1 car length per 10 mph.Id say not as you see everyone generally rides each others bumper. Next your radio, cell phone, kids, dogs not secured,your 3 to 16 drink cup holders so im sure you use them,not to mention fast food (worry about that health issue much larger than all bike accidents ever. Add em up,and now tv's so who is not paying attention. God Bless those who try to ruin (Run Our Lives) Please lets stop making more laws. when if ya just do what is right everything works out. More laws +people with no ability to learn,think for them selfs,and then we wonder were our rights go. Right out the window ,you voted your rights away as george takes your constitutional rights. So lets grow up be responsible were no helmets. How many tickets can they write. or charge us 25 bucks to go to head trama victims .
For those who choose to ride with no helment. Peace and Blessings to all.May God grant You The Ability to look from, Other people points and rights.And im a conservative Liberal Hippie!!!! Have a Blessed life. Its time too take control of our lives, live by example. Not restriction by law because were too stupid to think and get along.!!!!

nona ya bidness

July 22, 2008 4:18 PM

well john hall, we in the healthcare fields have to care for your stupid butt when you become a vegetable after your accident on your bike for NOT wearing your helmet!! and to all of you taking pot shots at mr. kiley, should he have gotten his info from you people cuz YOU guys know the statistics? NOT!!! but you bike riders go ahead n ride without a helmet, i'll be there to change your diapers n wipe the slob off your mouths after you've become incapacitated from not wearing a helmet.


August 12, 2008 10:34 PM

Freedom of choice, I agree. I have been riding for more than 30 yrs, and have been involved in 2 accidents. The first was with a deer I have 5 titanium plates in my face from that one( paid for by my medical coverage) when it happened there was a doctor (thank god) in the vehicle behind me and it was his opinion that if I had been wearing a full sized or full faced helmet (I wear a skid lid not even DOT approved) that I would have broken my neck. I am more fortunate than many because I live only 5 minutes from wisconsin, and thats where I ride and buy gas and spend my cash, Why, because the helmet comes off. People need to realize that it dont matter if ur wearing an armor suit, if its your time you gotta go, no one but the good lord himself can change that. SO LET ME MAKE MY OWN CHOICE


August 29, 2008 9:22 AM

Where do all these idiots come from?? In reading some of the responces, I must respond to a Mr. Joe Klemmer, PHD.. How did you ever get your degree spitting such ignorant crap out of your mouth?! You say all ABATE members are Outlaw MC members, and that all Outlaw MC members are gun packing, drug addict criminals. You are one hell of a stupid man I must say!!! You may be dumber than Mr. Kiley who wrote this article to begin with. How can people reach the levels in life that they do, being so damn biased and ignorant. I've been riding Harleys my whole life, I've known several Outlaw MC members, as well as several other MC's, and I am a member of ABATE. I have never been a member of any MC, but I do know the majority of all MC members are hard working folks who happen to really enjoy motorcycles, and do not want to associate themselves with ignorant people like yourself Mr. PHD. And your comment, Murdercycles!?? Both Mr. PHD and Mr. Kiley should attend a Outlaws MC event, and give the guys their personal opinions on motorcycles and MCs, I'm sure the membership would greatly appreciate those views. My 30 years of riding motorcycles has taught me one thing, that there is always some idiot out there who claims to know what is best for me, someone who wants to take away my rights as an American, and someone who wants to make money or gain politically from the issue of helmet laws. "Let Those Who Ride Decide", is one statement ABATE makes, and it makes sence to me. You do not even have your facts right Mr. Kiley, and shame on your bosses for even allowing this article to be printed!

Jim Curry

September 21, 2008 8:45 PM

I do ride everything from sport bikes to harley's and I don't think anyone should be able to tell another person what they should do or wear.
We have fought wars or police actions as some would call it, over just that very thing.
I don't think anyone has the right to tell a woman to have or not have a baby,
HER choice or GODS.
When all the do gooders only talk about what they know it's going to get awfully quiet.
I lost family members in wars for freedoms that are taken away by courts and so called people who are trying to help.
Do this country a big favor stay the hell home and take care of your own house not mine.
Riden 46 years.
SCAREDin war, O I'm sorry a police action.

Dan Carey

November 10, 2008 8:12 PM

You guys are missing the point. I suspect the major cause of death in CAR accidents is ... head injuries. If we're going to have a mandatory helmet law, then why not for EVERYBODY? (Yeah, right, like THAT will fly.) Think about it in that context and this law would go away.


April 29, 2009 6:44 PM

I just canceled my subscription to BusinessCrap. I ride, I wear a helmet sometimes. It's my right to choose. The government's job is not to parent, but to protect and serve. Shut the hell up.

Chris Coleman

May 16, 2009 1:31 PM

David Kiley, that is perhaps the worst, most under-researched article I have ever read. Your conclusions have no basis in fact, are biased and lack a viewpoint from both sides of the issue. You are of course entitled to your opinion, and a publication like Business Week (which has nothing whatsoever to do with motorcycle legislation) may publish your tripe, but that doesn't mean it is true, nor does it settle the issue.

The helmet issue is one of the most misunderstood topics in transportation politics today. Very few politicians know the facts, and the insurance and law enforcement lobbies twist the facts for financial reasons.

The simple facts are that this is a freedom issue. More people die from head injuries in cars than on motorcycles. Should we mandate safety helmets for drivers? Motorcyclists statistically are better insured than drivers. Helmets only protect against blunt force impacts at speeds of less than 15 MPH. Even with a helmet, any blunt force impact at speeds greater than 15 MPH will still kill the rider. In most states where helmet laws have been repealed, injuries and deaths were reduced and ridership went up.

This is the same thing riders have had to put up with for years. A lot of legislators and armchair pundits who do not ride spouting their uneducated opinion and resorting to name-calling where logical arguments fail them.

It is not the government's role to tell drivers and riders what they should wear. It is not the government's role to "protect" us from ourselves. It's none of your business whether I choose to wear a motorcycle helmet or not.

jack simony

February 25, 2011 1:42 AM

While we're dabbling in the area of Michigan Lawmakers Want To Repeal Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law. Idiots Rejoice. - BusinessWeek, Ranging from research and documentation of precedents and facts to legal IT support, the type of services performed by litigation support experts depends on the needs of attorneys. Litigation support experts work both independently and as a part of litigation services agencies.

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