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Who rides without a helmet???(35 posts)

Who rides without a helmet???gala7516
Jan 18, 2004 11:29 AM
There is a Senate bill on Ohio that would require cyclists to wear a helmet. There is a large opposition to this bill not because it is another regulation that is being forced down our throats, but because some feel that requiring cyclists to wear helemts is a bad idea.

Their arguments are as follows:
1. When the Australian legislature required that all Australian cyclists wear helmets, bicycling reduced greatly.
2. Poor children may be helmetless and suffer, through no fault of their own.
3. The helmet requirement may mean that the helmetless cyclist who is hit by a motorist may enter the courtroom at a disadvantage.

This logic is garbage:
1. Are you going to stop riding because your state has a law requiring you to wear a helmet that you already wear?
2. "Poor kids might suffer" are they not suffering when they skull is split open in the middle of the street?
3. "helmetless cyclist who is hit by a motorist may enter the courtroom at a disadvantage" -- If they are rolled in as a vegetable, that would be much better?

I guess I am just curious what the real agenda is here. I don't understand the vehement opposition of this bill. Especially on these grounds.

What do you guys think?
I do, and I have some thoughtsIndurain 03
Jan 18, 2004 12:46 PM
I think that the arguments presented by the Ohio legislature are, in this case, quite weak. Their motivation could just be a case of some special interest group who feels that if cyclists and motorists must share the road; cyclists must have some form of protection. Ultimately, the driving force behind this bill is most likely the state trying to protect itself from potential lawsuits that could arise from a crash in which a cyclist was not wearing a helmet. It sounds as though this is an attempt to reduce the number of cyclists on the road, not promote and ensure the safety of those who already are.
I do only when it is extremely hot...Indurain 03
Jan 18, 2004 12:50 PM
otherwise I always wear a helmet. Sorry to give a false impression.
a couple of points . . .bill
Jan 18, 2004 8:59 PM
The state never would face liability for not passing a law to protect people from themselves, so that there is no way that this is a motivation for a helmet law. No state or police officer or whatever even would have liability for failing to enforce a helmet law. There are powerful legal principles that make these risks impossible.
Helmet laws are for what many of our laws are designed to do -- when people are too stupid to protect themselves, and especially when they're too stupid to realize that they are not only placing themselves at risk but are risking the resources of all, the legislatures sometimes step in to say, if you're too stupid to figure it out for yourself, we'll figure it out for you. Wear the helmet.
You so very rarely see anyone ride (around here, anyway) without a helmet (and there is no helmet law here in VA), that I cannot believe that a helmet law would reduce the number of cyclists on the road, let alone be a consideration on any level.
A Couple of Counterpoints...Indurain 03
Jan 18, 2004 9:59 PM
To say that "the state would never face liability for not passing a law to protect people from themselves" is quite naive. Not passing this law could be seen as a crime of omission. In which case, the argument could be made that the state is in fact liable for what it did not do (not passing the bill). Secondly, you say that "No state or police officer or whatever even would have liability for failing to enforce a helmet law." If this law passed, a police officer would most certainly be obligated to enforce it (whether or not he will is another matter). So, what are these mysterious "legal principles" you speak of that would make these risks impossible?
Sovereign immunity. It is ancient, arcane, and,bill
Jan 19, 2004 5:44 AM
except where the federal constitution is involved and in a few instances of federal statutory liability, inviolate.
What it means, etymologically, is that you can't sue the king. For anything (except for wrongs committed when the state has undertaken duties a private party might, like when the state provides a utility or undertakes contractual obligations -- I told you that it was complicated, and I certainly don't have all of it at my fingertips). As applied to governments in this country, most (all?) states have waived it for certain kinds of wrongs up to certain dollar amounts, so that, if an employee of the state while driving a state vehicle hits you and injures you, you can sue the state up to $100,000 (as well as the individual, who is protected by the immunity when he is performing a discetionary, vs. a ministerial duty of the state). When, however, the state is doing what is the sole province of the state, like writing laws, the state's immunity is complete and inviolate, as are the employees of the state when they are performing the state's function. A cop, for example, can be sued for hitting your car while in a squad car going for donuts, but he can't when what he was doing requires the discretionary exercise of his judgment involving use of the state's powers. There are many wrinkles to all of this, but the examples you cite are squarely within the protection of sovereign immunity for the state, anyway. As for the cop, I think that the cop in certain circumstances can be sued for failing to protect somebody, but it would never happen for failing to protect you from yourself, because your contributory or comparative negligence or assumption of the risk would prevent the suit.
On the road.....divve
Jan 18, 2004 1:42 PM
...I almost never wear a helmet when riding alone. In the Netherlands there's no more risk to riding a bike than walking a side-walk. People use bikes here on a daily basis and consider them a utility. Motorised traffic is fully adapted to cyclist with specific laws in place to protect the "weaker" participants. The idea of having to wear a helmet on a 5 minute trip to the local market would be consider as ridiculous as having to wear one in your car. I do however wear one at all times during mountain biking.
Jan 18, 2004 1:52 PM
Its the law ( unenforced) around here. Since I expect my small children to wear children expect me to show a good example.
re: Who rides without a helmet???baylor
Jan 18, 2004 1:59 PM
It's that libertarianesque hatred of being told what to do by one's government. Consider how few states have been able to pass mandatory helmet laws for those on motorcycles due to the very effective lobbying efforts of ABATE.

I have some of those same political leanings, though I do think that helmets should be mandatory for those 18 and under.

The poor kid who can't afford a helmet? When safety-rated brain buckets can be had for less than $20? I'm wondering where he/she got the bike.
Poor kids can't afford a helmet?Matno
Jan 19, 2004 5:15 AM
Then how come their parents can afford a big screen TV, DVD player, X-box, nice stereo system, etc? I live in the bronx, and I know a lot of people who are "poor" and on welfare (I believe the number who receive gov't assistance approaches 70% in the Bronx - certainly higher than 50%). I have yet to visit an apartment in the projects that doesn't have nicer electronics than I do.

If people want bikes and helmets for their kids, they'll get them. If all they care about is sitting around being fat and lazy, they won't. My wife bought a new helmet for my daughter this week. Meets normal safety standards, looks pretty cool, and cost $7.
Only when "serious"peter1
Jan 18, 2004 3:35 PM
If I'm riding my road bike and are clipped in, then I do wear a helmet. If I'm riding my mtb off road, always. If I'm riding the Raleigh 3-Speed to the store or on the bike path, no.

I don't think bike helmets should be mandatory for adults. For children, I haven't seen enough evidence. All I know is that me and my friends never wore helmets when we were growing up in the 70s, and we did some pretty stupid things.

I do think a mandatory adult helmet law would reduce ridership, not among our crowd but among the people who ride occasionally, and esp. among women. (Go ahead, flame me!)

re: Its being used as a deterentjrm
Jan 18, 2004 3:38 PM
Or something has happened already bringing the use of a helmet to the attention of someone. Like a kid getting wiped out by a car and the family blaming and maybe suing the city for its lack of cycling facilities?

In short this would take kids off the street atthe expense of experienced cyclists who for some dumbass reason dont wear helmets.
re: Who rides without a helmet???Dutchy
Jan 18, 2004 3:45 PM
I'm from Australia, where helmets have been mandatory for over 10 years. I can't say I see a reduction in cyclists.
I see plenty of people riding all year round, 99% with helmets. There was a bit of noise when the law was
introduced but that died down very quickly. It now looks weird to see someone ride without a helmet. Apparently
the police here have issued around 10,000 fines for non helmet use in the last 5 years. Most of these people
are teenagers not wanting to look uncool, in front of their peers. The fine is $50 which equates to the
cost of a helmet. From the figures I have read, helmets have saved many people from more serious injuries.
re: Who rides without a helmet???weiwentg
Jan 18, 2004 6:03 PM
> From the figures I have read, helmets have saved many people from more serious injuries.

I'm one of those people. I just got hit by a pickup. despite wearing my helmet, I had hemorraghing and swelling in the frontal lobe of my brain. it was pretty touch and go for a while. had I not been wearing the helmet, I might not be here.
I know I am only one datapoint, but I don't see how wearing a helmet can hurt you apart from minor discomfort. if you got a severe brain injury you would be in much more discomfort than if you wore a helmet.
re: That reminds me.Dutchy
Jan 18, 2004 8:12 PM
Your post reminds me of a crash we had earlier this year during a race. For some reason the guy
leading the paceline thought we had to turn left at an intersection. He turned and the guy following
ran straight into the back of him, taking down another two riders. The first guy to crash took a huge
impact to his head which destroyed his helmet. However he remained conscious and was still
able to ride back to the finish. He said the following week he was very glad he was wearing his helmet.


re: Who rides without a helmet???collegiateryder
Jan 18, 2004 8:32 PM
I agree that helmets are an excellent protective device but in certain situations i dont use mine. During hill repeats and on really hot days i rarely use it. But yes, the minor discomfort of a helmet is much better than a brain injury.
re: Who rides without a helmet???lyleseven
Jan 18, 2004 6:24 PM
A helmet has saved my head from more serious injury on two occasions. I would have died in the second accident without it. No cars were involved in either accident. All I can say is for you cyclists who don't wear helmets, or don't want to, make sure your organ donor designation is filled out!!! Those who argue that a helmet isn't necessary, even on the quick trip down to the store, are probably the same people who contend that seatbelts don't save lives....
re: Who rides without a helmet???rcarbs
Jan 18, 2004 9:10 PM
I too was saved by my helmet. I always wear it when I'm riding. I also always wear a seatbelt. But.....I don't need the government to protect me from myself. If cyclists really feel that the government should step in and force us to wear helmets for our own protection then maybe they should take it one step further and ban all forms of road cycling. Getting hit from behind at 55mph can kill you with or without a helmet. Take some personal responsibility for yourself and don't take away my freedoms.
You have no idea....divve
Jan 18, 2004 9:49 PM
....what a luxury to be able to display such contempt half way across the world for a situation you have never experienced. Exposing yourself to risks is part of being alive. If you want to cancel out every possibility of accidental injury don't go outside...although I've heard more people get hurt in the kitchen then on their bikes in Holland.

(Don't get me wrong. By all means wear a helmet at all times when you're here and you're the type of cyclist who falls over for no apparent reason.)

That is truly amazing...The Walrus
Jan 19, 2004 12:22 PM
...if we had bike routes like that where I live, I think I'd sell my car and travel by bike exclusively. Now I'm thinking a visit to the Netherlands sounds like a great idea...
re: Who rides without a helmet???al0
Jan 19, 2004 4:15 AM
By the way, seatbelts save lives in one conditions and take them in others. Really, they are not so useful as it is usually presented.

But anyway,
b I believe that protecting of sane and adult man (or woman) from himself shall be completely out of state remit.

If and only to
b directly
protect others persons state is welcome. And directly means exactly directly (i.e. other peoples immediatly involved into accident). IT doesn't include helmet-not-wearer family etc.

BTW I always wear helmet, but I definitelty will not do it if it would become obligatory, I will rather stop cycling.
The inanity that gets bandied about every time this comes up isbill
Jan 19, 2004 2:27 PM
"Right not to wear a helmet." What right? Where is this right? Why don't you ride on the left side of the street? You likely just will kill yourself. YOU DON'T HAVE A RIGHT NOT WEAR A HELMET.
Why is this "right" so important to you, anyway? What is the damn big deal?
Protecting people from themselves is a huge part of the business of living in a society. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves, naive, stupid, or all of the above. Beyond ridiculous. Drawing the line is a subject of legitimate debate, but to say that protecting people from themselves is off limits is absurd beyond all reason.
This is so stupid.
"Do the statistics warrant the requirement?" If it saves one a**hole from themselves, it's worth it, because no man, in this instance, is an island. Insurance premiums, liability and health, public dole, taking care of your snotty kids because you can't, building hospitals to store your sorry ass in, all of these things matter to me. I also don't want to see people get hurt. Period, end of story.
It's not about removing all risk from life. It's about removing an easily managed risk with a low-impact, negligible requirement. Wear your friggin helmet. Was that so hard?
I crashed in a race four months ago. Lost some skin, and I was left with a dimple in my forehead where the helmet crushed against my head. A dimple. And it could have been (nay, WOULD HAVE BEEN) my head splitting. I know scads of guys with stories like these, a few where the people were not so luck even with a helmet, and none NONE, NONE I SAY where somebody later said, geez, I really didn't need that helmet, or, even more ridiculous, I was sorry I was wearing a helmet.
Did I need my helmet my last ride? NO. Will I wear it my next ride? OF COURSE!!
The inanity that gets bandied about every time this comes up isWoof the dog
Jan 19, 2004 8:32 PM
How is it NOT my right to make choices about MY life and death? Please get those references and quotes from famous philosophers ready. I would like to hear the different sides of the argument, and please, no less than a 100 pages long. Make sure you compare and contrast between all the different ones too, oh, and also I would like to see your qualifications. I am greatly questioning that you even exist.

In other words: the burden of proof is ON YOU!


. . . typical . . . . nmbill
Jan 20, 2004 2:54 AM
actually, Woof, you made me laugh. nmbill
Jan 20, 2004 7:02 AM
The inanity that gets bandied about every time this comes up isrcarbs
Jan 19, 2004 10:00 PM
Obviously you need the government to protect you from your idiot self. What makes a country great is its freedoms not just its people. People like you and your ideas that you know what's right for everyone else are what we need protection from. If you need someone else to make your decisions for you because you believe you don't know what's best for you, just ask me and I'll be happy to tell you. Forget about helmet laws just stay away from any activity that may injure you....cycling, skiing, running (don't' want to twist an ankle and make our insurance premiums go up), swimming, McDonalds, red meat, driving cars, etc.... Just keep me free to make my own decisions because I have done pretty well in my 41 years. Need any other help....just ask.....
. . . and, typical. nmbill
Jan 20, 2004 2:56 AM
The inanity that gets bandied about every time this comes up isal0
Jan 20, 2004 2:33 PM
their is good Russian proverb that I wish translate for you:
"Nobody is allowed to frge hapiness for other peoples on their heads". There is a lot of reasons for any restrictions of men freedom. As a result you ultimately what was in former USSR for 70+ years. Do yoy really want it? Then force the people to live as
b you
want, not as they want.

i Protecting people from themselves is a huge part of the business of living in a society.

You are right, this is a part of
.b business.
Business (and sometimes government)is intereted in such protection. Not the peoples that are "protected".

To carry your logic to its conclusion we should enforce using go-carts by all pedestrians (as first step, least at winter)! Or oblige them to wear those helmets? Why not?

Concerning riding on left side of the street - why not in England? More seriosly, driving on left side I may involve in accident other persons (if a driver would try to avoid me he can cause another collision or hit somebody else etc.). This is absolutely different situation and state has any and all rights to regulate it.

Concerning riding without helmets - it is absolutely ok for insurace companies to include clauses that deny any and all liabilities for injuries caused by non-wearing helmet and so on. The only subject that shall not be involved is govenment.

You don't want to see people to get hurt? Close your eyes or turn away. Period. End of story-

Two more remarks.
1. If you have read my mail that you have answere, you have a chance to notice that
b I always wear helmet.
To wear helmet is not so hard.
So hard is
b to be forced to wear helmet.

2. I have crashed good many times (my handling skills are far from perfect). I have crashed at bottom of steep descent in race.
I have flied over handlebars, injured arms and legs, damaged my bike, but I never have even touched the ground with my head.
Idiots IMO (nm)Scollopini
Jan 18, 2004 7:10 PM
re: Who rides without a helmet???Woof the dog
Jan 18, 2004 10:42 PM
Helmet is important to have when you ride with people or on a mountain bike (always), or descending, or in rain, etc etc etc.

JRA on a nearly empty road on monday at 11 a.m. without one is probably statistically just as safe (depending on the location of course), and it makes you a more defensive rider. I don't push it on the descends, I look twice everywhere, including behind me when passing places where I can get cut off and what not. So please, keep your "irresponsiblity" comments to yourselves. If anything, I've become a lot more responsible rider than before.

Now, I am very angry. Extremely angry. So angry with the fact that someone wants to enforce something onto me, like I am a 2 year old. OH MY GOD, PEOPLE DIE!!!! If anything, if you want to see a reduction in deaths, then close McDonalds and Denny's. Ban guns like any other smart country has done for christ sake.

Now, all I want to do is RIDE MY FRIGGIN BIKE ON A FRIGGIN ROAD!!! I follow the rules, I stay out of cars' way, I don't block the road (I even get off the road to let the cars by in tight spots), I ride where there isn't much traffic, what more do you want? Ride inside a round metal cage with airbags??? Well, you know what, people will die no matter what. You will have your frontal lobe damage, you will break your face because you were bringing out garbage at a wrong time of night and you will need a full facial reconstruction. You will get cancer sooner or later, or you will die from choking on asparagus or from an unexpected testicular shrinkage because you abused steroids when you were 20. When you gotta go, you gotta go. You are gonna die from something.

It is a question of what is reasonable. Is it reasonable to ride in downtown NYC without a helmet? Probably not. Is it reasonable to spend valuable time and money on passing laws requiring or banning things that people should have a common sense about? No, of course it is not reasonable. Helmet use is important at certain times and places, but not ALL places and not ALL times. This is a free country, and I should be able to choose when, how and where I ride and what I should wear. THIS is reasonable!

I ride without a helmet sometimes by myself, and I see nothing unreasonable in it. Statistics are on my side, and being afraid of a freak drunk driver accident is only being paranoid. Maybe I should stop driving my sh!tty car that won't offer me any real protection on the highways too, eh? Well, I am not going to live my life in fear, and I damn better enjoy every little bit of freedom that is left. On related note, don't you think it is kind of rediculous that soon old people will be banned from flying because god forbid they can take over a plane with their friggin CANE?

So if any of you jokers even make a comment about helmets when I am in the bike shop, or just riding by, I will focking flip you off, I will push you off your stupid little bike because I've had enough. This will be my turn at being unreasonable and dangerously stupid back at you, you jerkoffs! Be very very careful as to who you tell these things to, because you never know when people snap. And when I snap, PEOPLE DIE!!!! Now, fock off and leave people to THEIR OWN DAMN business. Find something better to do than talk about what others do on their spare time.

Hugs and kisses


P.S. and if you are looking for an exhaustive thread featuring statistics and such, here is a link:

P.P.S. I was kidding on the snapping part and flippin people off. Cheers.
You must be from TN.....TNRyder
Jan 19, 2004 10:58 AM
When they passed a seat belt law there all of the rednecks were fightin it like mad. I can't tell you the number of times that I heard "Ihd rather be thrown free ifn I was in a crash." Is the law effective? NO. Is it enforced? NO.

I don't necasarilly agree with more legislation telling us how to live our lives either. I look at the whole seat belt/helmet thing like darwinism. The stupid choose not to use them and thereby increase the chances of DIEING if they are in an accident. Thereby decreasing the chances that they will be able to reproduce and sully the genepool with more of their kind.

As far as the motivation behind the law is concerned, I am sure that the insurance companies are behind it. It would reduce their exposure to liability when their customers mowed down an unfortunate cyclist.
Me, until...JPRider
Jan 19, 2004 8:40 AM
...I got tattoed by a Chevy Trailblazer during my 1-mile commute to work last fall. It was an honest mistake, I was doing about 27 in a 30mph zone, it was early in the morning, he stopped at the stop sign, never saw me, and pulled through. I went right into the side of him at about 25 probably. My legs and bike took the brunt of the force, but I did black out for a while. One mile is now plenty long for me to put a helmet on.
Always wear it.VEN
Jan 19, 2004 10:21 AM
I was riding on a farm road 6 years ago and a truck passed me that had extended towing mirrors. The mirror hit me in the shoulder and head and flipped me right over. Lucky it was going up a steep hill and I had a helmet on, just ended up with a dislocated finger, and a sore head. The government should not tell us to wear a helmet, but if you ride around cars and traffic it seems like a smart thing to do.
wear a helmet!wooden legs
Jan 19, 2004 11:21 AM
most of the posters who are advocating not wearing helmets seem to ride under conditions very very different than those found in most mid to large size u.s. cities. when faced with the absence of bike lanes and a selfish, cell phone using, gigantic SUV owning, bike rights ignorant driving populace, helmets become a nescessity because no matter how safe and proficient a cyclist you are there is always a chance that some caddilac escalade is going to ignore your right of way or not see you at all and plow you down. i support riding in the road under any and all conditions, but think there is no argument for not wearing a helmet other than style.

i think most riders who have been in a bike on car accident would agree, even if you live through a collision without a helmet, it's a lot nicer to be wearing one and avoid head injuries all together.
Not Ibimini
Jan 19, 2004 11:58 AM
I use to never wear a helmet (many years ago) until my brother had a brain trama and I spent some time in a rehabilitation center with him surrounded by a bunch of Harley Riders who did not believe in Helmet laws either.

After the head and or spine injuries the primary goal in their lives were to progress to the point of being able go to the bathroom by themselves and not have to lay in a pool of their own excrement all day. The luckier ones were just oblivious to it all and were living vegetables.