Helmet Laws Are Unsafe . . . and Worse

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The other night, I went for an evening ride with my girlfriend  – neither of us wearing a helmet, which is no longer legal in this and most other states. We wanted to remember what it was like to ride in a relatively free country. It was one in which the government would come after if you didn’t pay what it claimed you “owed,” but more or less left you to your own devices, insofar as such seemingly trivial things as whether you chose to wear a seatbelt –  or put on a helmet.

This gave you a pleasant feeling of being a relatively free man.

Now, of course, it lets you know just how not-free you are – in almost every way imaginable – via such seemingly trivial things as ordering you to wear a seatbelt in your car or put on a helmet while riding your motorcycle.

We decided not to.

At night, it is easier to “get away” with such – as acts of disobedience against tyranny are styled,  by those who support such tyranny.

It may seem a bit much, at first glance, to use the word tyranny to describe laws that order motorcycle riders to wear a helmet – or car drivers to wear a seatbelt. It seems innocuous enough – and isn’t it all just meant to . . . “keep us safe”?

But reflect on the implications of such orders – which are just that and not suggestions. If you don’t wear the thing (either one) and an armed government worker witnesses it, what will occur? Will you be asked to wear the thing? Left in peace if you refuse? Or will the armed government worker pursue you, lights flashing threateningly, vividly conveying the reality of the consequences if you do not stop?

There is always the threat of murderous violence in everything the government orders – down to the least little thing. Including your choice to not obey its order to wear a helmet while riding your motorcycle.

And if the government has the right to so order – or rather, if people accept that the government has such a right (as distinct from the power to issue such orders, something anyone with a gun can do) – then it can in principle also order you to eat your veggies. Or to wear a stupid rag over your face in order to be allowed to shop.

Observe that none of these expressions of government power entail any demonstrable harm caused to others by the victims of government power.

The government’s assertion – as regards helmet laws – is that if you don’t wear one you might get hurt and that could lead to your imposing the costs of your injuries upon “society.”

Observe this is precisely the same assertion-in-principle used to order people to wear “masks,” as those disgusting and medically useless symbols of submission are styled. It does not matter, as regards helmet-ordering-and-punishing-of-you-if-you-don’t that you haven’t gotten hurt – because you haven’t crashed your motorcycle – and accordingly so haven’t cost “society” a cent. Nor that you would never impose such “costs” even if they were incurred because you have insurance – and isn’t that why we’re also ordered to buy that?

Beyond that there is the matter of simple morality in that you would never expect people who had nothing to do with you crashing – if you did – or getting hurt (if that happened) to pay your bills.

But nevermind. You might, you see. Even if you never did. Even if you never do. The assertion of “might” is wonderfully open-ended, just the same as the one that says you might be an “asymptomatic spreader” – or perhaps a wife-beater and for that reason ought to be “Red Flagged.”

Just the same as you might get – or give – a sickness you haven’t got and which “masks” do nothing to prevent people from getting or giving.

Because it is not about that. It is about your submission. The rest is just excuse-making.

Including this business about saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety – supposedly enhanced by the wearing of the helmet while riding a motorcycle.

But it is an entirely one-dimensional assertion, leaving aside the immorality of threatening to do violence to people who’ve done no violence to anyone else.

Of course it is true that if you go down, a helmet will probably help – in terms of keeping your skull from being cracked open. Absolutely. Just as not being obese will probably prevent your dying from the ‘Rona – or diabetes.

But there is another dimension related to this assertion-of-safety that is rarely, if ever, acknowledged – notwithstanding that it is just as true.

It is that helmet-wearing impairs your senses.

Specifically, hearing and seeing – the two most vital to the safe operation of a motorcycle. A helmet muffles – event mutes – the sounds of things around you, or coming at you. Such as the aggressive dog that’s about to bite your ankle, or try to. If he surprises you, it is much more likely that you will lose control of your motorcycle and go down.

Then, of course, a helmet is very helpful.

Similarly, there is the increased danger posed by that which you cannot see – especially from the sides. Full-face helmets dramatically occlude the rider’s peripheral vision, probably by about 30 percent. This in turn requires the rider to regularly turn his head left-then-right to see what he’d otherwise be able to see without turning his head at all.

And thereby, keeping his eyes on the road ahead.

Helmets create blind spots – and the more of these there are when you’re on a bike, the less safe it is to ride because the more likely it is you’ll fail to see something and possibly turn in its path. Or fail to notice whatever-it-is about to turn into yours.

Deer, for instance.

Another thing helmets do is fatigue the rider. Even the best of them are poorly ventilated – relative to not wearing one. It can get stifling hot inside a helmet. They are also heavy, even the light ones – relative to not wearing one – and over the course of a long ride, that added weight makes the rider’s head feel heavy. This, in turn, tends to make him more tired and that means less alert.

Being alert on a bike is really important. Much more so than while inside a car.

These are all facts – no less so than the fact that a motorcycle helmet offers protection if the wearer goes down while riding. With the critical difference being that if the rider doesn’t go down, the asserted protection is purely hypothetical, while the diminished sensory input, blind spotting and fatiguing aren’t. They come along for every ride when the rider is wearing a helmet.

Yet the only fact that seems to matter to those who insist motorcycle riders wear helmets is that their heads will be better-protected in the event they crash.

Even if it makes it more likely they will actually end up crashing.

It was nice to briefly experience what is was like to ride back when Americans were free to decide for themselves whether it was safer to wear a helmet – or be more aware of what was going on around them and thereby be less likely to crash.

. . .

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60 COMMENTS

  1. I meant to make this comment when the post went live, but for some reason, I didn’t. I’ll simply say this: had actor Gary Busey been wearing even a cheap helmet when he crashed, he’d have been all right. I’ll just leave it at that…

    • Hi Mark,

      Well, sure. Just as not allowing yourself to become obese is likely to dramatically reduce your odds of being afflicted with chronic sicknesses. But – as regards helmet wearing – the correlation is far more tenuous in that being obese is very likely to result in health problems while not wearing a helmet will only affect your health if you actually crash. If not, the thing is a purely hypothetical “benefit” – with several actual/real/everytime-you-ride downsides, as related in the article.

      • When I read you guys talking/texting, I’m reminded again of the very experienced emergency room brain trauma surgeon who said, ~ “helmets aren’t Jack shit, the very nature of how & why concussions & brain injury occur makes helmets all but obsolete.” !

        … Just ask Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon or any number of the thousands of football players who have had their heads scrambled by low speed impacts.

        Helmets are a bad joke played upon mankind,… not much different than, “vax saves lives”.

        Yer being played.

      • Eric,

        I’m an ATGATT guy; if I ride, I wear helmet, gloves, jacket, special armored long johns, and boots. No matter how good and skillful you are, you can still go down. In our area some years ago, sickos were putting oil down on the road at a turn along a popular motorcycle road; if you hit grease or oil, you’re going down-end of story. It’s best to be prepared for the crash, so that’s how I dress.

        • Good for you, MarkyMark. If that’s how you wanna roll, you go.

          Just seems to me, from what I’ve read, don’t go thinkin’ a helmet will protect your head from a concussion or worse.

          I’ve known a number of guys in my life who have taken the dirt nap while riding,… every single one of them had on a helmet. It did nothing.

          I’ve worn a helmet many times myself, but only to stop the splat of bugs & the sting of rain and sleet, or a tree branch from taking out an eye. Helmets have uses, just not the ones being pushed by the do-gooder crowd. YMMV, I suppose.

  2. Here in Canada I can’t remember a time when riding without a helmet was ‘legal’. Even as a kid growing up in the 70’s.

    I wear the smallest possible beanie. It has got me pulled over a few times to check if it is “DOT”, but only by motorcycle cops. The two in our city are actually decent fellows and we ended up talking bikes by the side of the road. Now they just wave at me when I ride by.

    What we do have around these parts are plenty of guys who just ride fast street bikes with no plates whatsoever. The cops can’t legally chase them far as high speed pursuits aren’t allowed for the most part. Perhaps, if – when – one day they ban gas powered motorcycles I may just have to join that particular rider segment myself.

  3. It doesn’t help that new cars are turning into hard to see out of,,,, kind of like what helmets are as well. My mom’s Fiat 500 has huge blind spots. My Ford Focus has a high rear end that makes it hard to see whats behind it without the camera.

    I think its no coincidence that traffic accidents are increasing again. It’s due to hard to see out of cars.

  4. Got it…..riding with a helmet is unsafe. And so is riding without.

    For sure, each rider should decide for him or her self.

    It’s win-win either way for the organ donor recipients. 🙂

  5. Kudos to you, Eric!
    I find that such little acts of defiance afford me some of the greatest satisfaction I get in life.
    If only everyone realized that, we would be “ungovernable”, in the best way possible.
    Also, thanks for a great site. I really enjoy it, although I usually wind up more depressed than before I visited it!
    Screw these cocksuckers who think they have the right to control every aspect of our lives! Damn them!

  6. “There is always the threat of murderous violence in everything the government orders” – EP
    Absolutely. Government is founded on the assumption of authority to kill you if you don’t obey.
    Regarding “helmet laws are unsafe”, I previously pointed out how safety glasses can get you hurt. A splinter in your eye is of little consequence if you just cut off half your hand on a table saw because you couldn’t see what you were doing, because of the accumulated dust and sweat on your safety glasses. We are not built to function with tunnel vision. My peripheral vision exceeds 180 degrees. When I step outside, I can see more than half of the world.

  7. Helmet laws like all freedom infringing statutes suck. People should be voting with their feet when possible. And that, is itself a problem. No helmet laws here in Az except I think kids are required. The people who have been voting with their feet to come here are mostly Cal and Ill refuges. They cause more problems Than their worth IMO.

    It is becoming a shit-hole here as many newcomers are insufferable snots. Lots of natives are sick of the newcomers. The other day I saw a guy with flip flops and shorts riding a Harley. I thought to myself what a fag, he must be from California. I mean to each his own, If you want to ride a powerful motorcycle barefoot on a busy street, be my guest. I’ll laugh as your feet become bloody stumps to the cheese grater of the asphalt.

    When it gets really bad here I remember, nature will laugh last. This desert can only carry so many humans comfortably. Maybe an upside to this reset thing. The silver lining in the dark cloud. I remember what AZ was like when we had less than 1 million people. It was paradise in so many ways. We have something like 7 million now. Looking forward to things reverting to the mean.

    • Hi Norman,

      My folks used to live in Scottsdale; I have been through AZ many times. I noticed the same thing you noticed – about it getting worse as “the element” began moving in. It’s the same in my area – SW Virginia. The contagion spreads. Ironically – because these people who move in have moved away from places ruined by the very policies and practices they favor. So they bring them where they go, along with themselves – and the cycle repeats. It may well be that the only way to keep away from them is to move to an area remote enough as to be unattractive to them. But even then, it’s probably only going to buy you 20 years or so.

      • Hi Eric,

        Its very strange how this happens. Some people just don’t learn. Something tells me they are incapable of learning. The tone deafness of these newcomers is evident when I hear them in the hardware store, blah blah blahing about Orange man, or how the republicans are going to take bak congress and everything is going to go back to the way it was. It’s a pure fantasy world they live in.

        I’m of the mind that this is my land and home and its worth fighting for, that in this chaos, new opportunities should present themselves. I’ve considered selling everything and moving to a remote area like Alaska. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve started over, but as you know age has a way of making things more difficult. According to my son even Alaska is now filling up with all manner of varied detritus. Moving as you said only buys some time.

        If you ever cruise through AZ again drop me a line.

    • Norman,
      Let’s see how many remain in a region that can’t supply the water they want, or even need. California and the Southwest have been cruising toward their current water catastrophe for decades. There was a window of above average rain/snowfall, when every thing was peachy. Now that they face below average rain/snow fall, the jig is up. How stupid can you get? People who live in a city in a desert are actually allowed to water their lawns?

      • Hi John,

        If we go back to a world before Just In Time, I don’t see how the southwest in general and Az in particular supports more than 10% its current population. I’ve been hearing about how the ground water would be gone in ten years since I was a kid. I suppose at some point that stoped clock might be right.

        Az has an ocean of water underneath it, the problem is the same as with oil. Its deep and not always easy to get at. I check my well every year, I drop a 20 ft string with a rock tied to it in and measure where my water table is at. My well goes down 100 feet, the water table varies year in and year out between 12-15 feet. When people tell me ‘all our wells’ are going to run dry, I just smile to myself. At the rate we are heading to collapse I’m pretty sure there will be a mass die off before we run out of water.

    • I fled to AZ from commie hell IL at the start of the scamdemic. AZ still has a wild west libertarian streak in many ways principally gun laws. Very mild covid madness here. And yeah you can literally drive anything on the roads – golf carts, dune buggies, um – horses – and traffic enforcement is virtually non-existent in the Phoenix area at least. Tuscon and Phoenix are pretty commie though so I guess it will switch over soon enough. No way Brandon won this state though. Of course McCain was based here so the folks ain’t that bright. . My dream is to build a monument to McCain’s eye cancer for its valiant sacifice getting rid of this lizard.

      • Hi Mark3, I’m surprised you thought the convid madness was mild here. To me it seemed over the top full totalitarian. I guess its all perspective, I didn’t think it could be any worse, then our (supposed) conservative county closed parks, schools, and Gov. buildings for the sniffles.

        Now that you’re here, hope you don’t get caught in the PHX or Tucson kill zones. I’ve read enough of the stuff you post that I would probably like having you as a neighbor.

  8. Seat belt laws, helmet laws, all manner of laws imposed upon you “for your safety” signify that the government thinks they own you.

    Usually the argument is that the cost of your injury is somehow born by others.
    Curious the same argument is not made for heart attacks, diabetes, or any other medical cost, which is after all the point of insurance – grouped liability.

    And what of the big program that actually does transfer the cost to us – medicare?
    I hear no cries to regulate the health & welfare of those recipients.

  9. You know what isn’t “Unsafe”?

    Micromanaging other people’s behavior.

    When was the last time you heard someone say “Oh yeah? Says you and what army?”

    Doesn’t need to be said any more. Maybe not the army, but a lot of AGWs will get on g THC be case.

    The 911 system was the death of us.

  10. I ride a bicycle several thousand miles each year. I ride at night into winter until there’s snow and ice that sticks.

    I’m always festooned with neon yellow clothes, 3-4 super bright lights on the rear and a powerful strobe/light on the front. Always wear a helmet and I’ve survived three serious accidents with inattentive cars/trucks because of it.

    Yeah, I’m that guy.

    BUT, I still support your right to wear or not wear whatever the Hell you want. Everytime I’m passed by a gaggle of shrieking liter bikes with all practically dragging their knees deep into the bend, sans helmets, I still smile. I smile for the little girl or boy who might get those kidneys or livers if the wreck isn’t too bad.

    Education and choices. We all go out some day and don’t return. Let that be on our own terms.

    • Riding a bicycle in the dark wet roads of winter is likely much more dangerous than riding a motorcycle with no safety gear. You’ve survived THREE accidents with cars yet the motorcyclist is the organ donor? Time to write a will livestrong.

    • I admire your libertarianism, but not your common sense…
      If I’d had 3 not-at-fault accidents on bicycles, with cagers, despite all the safety gear you claim to wear, I would very definitively be, at the very least, choosing very different places and times to be riding bicycles.
      Or most likely, simply moving on to a safer form of transport/exercise/enjoyment, if simply to better remain among the living.
      But, as the saying goes, “common sense isn’t common…”
      Good Luck!!! Although you may have used most of yours up, with the “third times a charm” limit . Personally, I chose not to stress out my Guardian Angels any more than I already do, and learn from mistakes, mine as well as ones that are the faults of others….

  11. If you MUST wear a helmet, wear a STALHELM. Thousands of “Kradschützen Truppen” found them to be sufficient. Adorn the sucker with a “Pickelhuabe” welded to the top, and put “SS” runes on the side. Along with the stand leather jacket and leg chaps, that’ll set off the “Nazi butch” look!

  12. The great Walter Williams had this to say about the assertion that a lack of safety belt use is a growing public health issue that also costs us all billions of dollars every year.

    “That’s not a problem of liberty. It’s a problem of socialism. No human should be coerced by the state to bear the medical expense, or any other expense, for his fellow man. In other words, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another is morally offensive.”

  13. Seems to me the only way to protect yourself from the gang in blue going forward is to form or join your own gang. Safety in numbers. I’d love to see a group ride all round Assachusetts with free noggins, sans plates and stopping for no one other than to intimidate the hut hutters to prevent a bullshit arrest. Going further people could convoy to shop maskless when the covidians strike again. Pick up some supplies, toss a wad of bills at the karen manager and calmly roll back to the compound in some worthless junkers lacking plates and inspection stickers. These 1984 fucks aren’t going to stop. Eventually people have to become ungovernable like the enclaves of unintegrated “refugees” in their no-go zones. Everybody gave an inch and they’ve taken miles.

    • I agree, Rune –

      The game is, indeed, afoot. And we are under no (moral) obligation to play by their rules; rules they themselves don’t abide by, either. It is absolutely essential – for ourselves and our posterity – to never give the Left an inch. Because they will take a mile. I learned this by reading what Leftists themselves have to say about it, viz – Lenin and Alinsky.

    • “….. join your own gang. Safety in numbers”

      Close, I was with a group of fellow Harley riders, about 30 of us ended up at a restaurant/bar small tourist town. Parking was tight several bikes near a fire hydrant.
      Local fuzz “you know that bike is too close to that hydrant, please tell your buddy to move it.” One of our larger buds in his best bar room drawl, “officer why don’t you tell him – he’s inside, black leather vest, can’t miss him!”. We all howled laughing the cop just shook his head and left.

    • Exactly Rune, here in Ohio we are still free to ride sans helmet, but it wasn’t always that way. We would put groups together and ride to the state house to protest sans helmets. The Highway patrol would try to split the pack, but that didn’t work. Get a large group of guys together and see what the brave LEO does. On another note, Ohio is now a constitutional carry state going into effect on June 14, 2022.

  14. Leaving WA eastbound for Sturgis the stop in Post Falls ID was where the helmets were stowed for the rest of our two weeks until the return into WA. Summer temps and a helmet all day is miserable and an overheated noggin affects your thinking ability. Fuzzy thinking is a dangerous state on a scooter. Head wrap and a good pair of sunglasses good to go.

    Two friends stuck it to the “man” about 30 years ago, Washington State had implemented the helmet law. They got pulled over for “illegal” helmets, wearing beanie shells popular with the Harley folks at the time. A bit of research there was no definition of what was a “legal” helmet. At the court hearing they stated this to the judge, who then turned to the cop – “Officer Flossie please show me in the law what is the definition of a legal helmet, as I cannot find it”. Cop stumbles and mumbled then the judge, gavel down, “case dismissed!”.

  15. My neighborhood is a private homeowners association in the People’s Republic of Kalifornia, yet by virtue of the HOA’s roads, I purposely let my boys ride in the back of my pickup through the neighborhood … to give them a taste of what life was like when I was their age. Private roads are a blessing. They enabled unlimited driving lessons for my boy when he was 14 ~ 15 … even in uninsured, unlicensed vehicles.

    • My Dad let me drive him to work once when I was 14. It was about a 30-mile drive. What a thrill!

      Also, it was a great feeling knowing that he trusted me with his life and his property.

  16. “Get your motor running, head out on the highway… born to be wild.” – Steppenwolf, Born to Be Wild

    Dennis Hopper wore a western-style hat, Jack wore a football helmet. A stars and stripes helmet was for the patriots, the die-hard, rock-ribbed, dyed-in-the-wool red-blooded Americans. Having some fun is bad for ya, as George would say and people would laugh.

    Riding a motorcycle is akin to riding a horse, you’re in the saddle, you could fall off, might even get hurt. Horses can buck, you need to know how to rodeo.

    Bull fighters have a risky job, might get gored, gotta be very careful. The Wallendas walk the wire, always a scary business for those tightrope walkers, you could make a mistake and fall to the ground, you could get hurt and possibly die. Take a ride in a hot air balloon, it could deflate and you’ll plummet to the ground, make a hard landing. Sky diving is a dangerous sport.

    Everybody takes risks all of the time, quit picking on everybody, living can be dangerous at times. Boarding an A320 translates to betting you won’t crash land and will arrive safely to your destination. Air travel is the safest form of travel available. You buy the ticket to take the ride, no matter what the maha reisha says.

    One hundred thousand people die in car accidents each year, worldwide statistic.

    Nobody would fly if 100,000 people died in airline crashes in any given year, it would be over for Alaska Airlines and the whole kit and kaboodle.

    Over the Memorial Day weekend, motorcyclists riding their motorcycles were dying due to accidents, you don’t see them, doesn’t matter how loud the motorcycle is, windows are rolled up and music is playing inside the car.

    Two people riding motorcycles at night were hit from behind on the highway by a driver in a pickup. They both died from their injuries.

    All motorcycles need to have headlights on at all times, for your safety. You can see the motorcycle if the headlight is on.

  17. Its all about having power, control and telling other people how to live their lives. My husband told me years ago government would be intruding into our lives more and more. Here is one I think you will like: the state of CA is going to give household a water budget. One for inside water usage and one for outside water usage. They are flying drones over every single property in the state to gather information on the hardscape of each property, and collecting data on the square footage of land, far of the dwelling and number of people in each household to come up with each households max allowable daily water usage. That’s not intrusive at all……

    • Hi RS,

      Terrible. My sister and her family live in CA (near San Diego). I have been pleading with them to get out of the “Golden” state. For the same reason I urge them to avoid golden showers.

    • Hi Mike,

      All of us weigh these pros and cons – when we consider doing (or not doing) so many things. I fully appreciate, for instance, that if I wreck while riding without wearing gear (not just a helmet) I am more likely to be hurt and badly hurt. But – for me – the risk is acceptable for the sake of the reward. I would begrudge no one else their equal right to make precisely the same (in principle) pro-con-based decisions with regard to anything. Including, for example, whether to protect one’s health by staying physically fit. It amounts to the same thing, fundamentally.

      I am persuaded that not being overweight – and exercising a lot -greatly reduces the chances I will get sick, especially seriously so. I therefore consider it worth staying in shape by not becoming overweight and by exercising. But I would never dream of “mandating” that anyone be required to exercise – or punished in some way (other than whatever the consequences of being overweight and sedentary may prove to be).

      Busybodies more than annoy me. They baffle me.

      • Like when I see guys on MC and they are wearing shorts, flip flops and a full face helmet. I don’t wear a helmet, but would never think of wearing flip flops to ride. To each his own.

  18. In assumed authority to control what risks you may take, authority is assumed over nearly every aspect of your life. A very old statistic put forth by Kohler as a sales pitch for their then new cast iron bathtub texturing, stated that about 4000 people a year die slipping and falling in the bath tub. So, no more bathing allowed?
    If you don’t start, you have no worry about where it will end.
    Is not jumping out of airplanes perfectly legal? How about skiing without a helmet? SCUBA diving? Etc.
    There is no end, once the authority is presumed. It becomes a political weapon. I assume many bikers are of the insubordinate variety.
    Red Flag “laws” for another example.

    • I think you’d find that most of the 4,000 folks that perish from a slip and fall in the bathtub are elderly. That’s why either they’re in “assisted living”, or they get LIFE ALERT. OTOH, it did happen to Marine aviator and astronaut John Glenn when he was about 42, some time after his famed Mercury flight.

      • Self,
        Kohler of course had no commercial need to segregate by age. Nor sobriety. Nor obesity. If half the number were simply otherwise healthy, the state could “justify” restrictions on bathing. Especially now in California and the South West where the water is running out.

  19. I don’t ride motorcycles (I do ride bicycles, often at dusk), so I’m speculating here…

    Evening ride with a helmet. Most of them I’ve seen have tinted face shields. As the Sun sets you’ll not only lose peripheral vision but also all vision as you pass through the golden hour. Now you might remember to raise the shield, likely long after you should have, as your eyes can no longer adjust. And then you’ll get bug blasted, and probably worse becuse the now raised shield will direct air (and anything in the air) downwards to your face and eyes.

    • Well, I DO ride a bicycle with a helmet, but they’re not as intrusive as a motorcycle helmet by any means. Also, and the more important thing is, that’s by CHOICE.

  20. I recall reading something written by an experienced emergency room brain trauma surgeon, he said something like ~ “Helmets Do Not protect your brain”.

    He went on to explain how concussions actually work & such.

    Too many people are resistant to facts to be bothered knowing that, I guess.

    • Helot,
      Witness race car drivers killed when their heart or brain impacts surrounding skeletal structure in a sudden stop. Inertia cannot be defeated, except by reducing it, as in moving slower. How slow would one have to drive a motorcycle to have an impact? Apparently, bicycles are too fast, since there are in some places laws against riding one without a helmet.

      • Right on John. Severe injury or death is almost always about hitting something solid. physics. Instant stop, or deflection, etc….
        Walk into a wall at 2-3 mph. Not fun. I have hit countless immovable objects. It’s all about the sudden/instant stop, or not.
        I survived hitting a concrete wall at 100mph+ only because it wasn’t head on, it was at about a 30degree angle. Forces dissipated. My bones were not as fortunate. Unfortunately, for another rider in our racing accident, his helmet came off because he forgot the strap and he died hitting at the same 30 degrees.
        My head has hit countless trees at 15-20mph, only survive because the helmet dissipates the energy (a little) and almost always isn’t an instant/sudden stop (the bigger factor).
        I agree with the sentiment of choosing not to wear a helmet, and I do not as well on 25mph streets or less with no traffic, but if it’s 25mph +/- riding in the woods, helmet on for sure.

        • I wonder, not being a biker, if there is a velocity value that wearing a helmet negates? 3 mph, 10, 20?
          I see them as much like safety glasses. In certain cases they are for practical purposes required. In other cases, because they are covered in dust or sweat, they may cause other injury, or death, by lack of vision.

          • Hi John,

            There are many factors involved; Jim explained some of them. An impact into an immovable object vs. a deflected impact that dissipates some of the inertia. I don’t dispute that helmets – that full armored leathers, boots and gloves – can greatly decrease the probability of being badly hurt, if one wrecks. But the same’s just as true of skiing without a helmet (I got into an endless debate, years ago, with the original Clover whose name became synonymous with the type, over this.)

            I exercise a lot – but I don’t hector people who don’t (except when they hector me about being obliged to wear a “mask” because they are obese and scared of catching a cold I don’t have).

            This whole busybody bidness needs to be Thrown in the Woods!

            • The same is true for any human body doing anything over 3-5mph, skiing, bicycle, etc….. The impact force of say a 10lb mass (head) hitting something solid at 10mph is 33 ft-lbs.
              The question then becomes at what force does the brain get damaged, or the heart aorta dislodged, etc…..
              I will say this, my daughter was a cheerleader flyer and got dropped (I believe maliciously) and hit her head solid on the back of her head on frozen ground and it damaged the left rear of her brain enough that she got epilepsy from it. 5-10 year recovery of trying to repair her brain all while doing everything right and desperately trying to avoid triggers of seizures.

    • https://brconline.com

      AGW who offed himself on my front bumper 30 years ago was wearing a helmet.
      He died at the hospital about two hours later, from massive internal injuries.

      F=ma, E = 0.5mv^2.
      Laws of physics are the same for everyone, even those who wear a tin star.
      Velocity is a vector quantity. If you want to stay alive, learn what that means.
      Motorcycle tangles with pickup truck, motorcycle loses.

      Lesson 1: Don’t cross double yellow on your motorcycle, unless you have a death wish.
      Lesson 2: If you want to kill yourself, run your motorcycle into a bridge abutment, and spare a law abiding citizen the experience of PTSD.

  21. Amen brother. I’m very happy to live in one of the few states that doesn’t impose that absurd helmet law. Totally different riding experience. I have a tiny little Crazy Al beanie for riding into the surrounding soviet states.

    A nurse I was dating recently wanted to lecture me on traumatic brain injury. I said she could, right after I told her about my two pals who had real wrecks on their bikes. One is a para and one is a quad. We’re all gonna be dead someday, and I’d rather be road pizza than either of the above.

    Amazing how so many people know what’s best for you, isn’t it?

    • Hi Bill,

      Yup! It’s often the case, ironically enough, that the people who lecture about the dangers of riding without a helmet are very overweight or eat dangerous (to their health) food. Such people are frequently “masked,” too.

      I cannot abide – I cannot understand – this busybody mentality, nor the cognitive dissonance so often on display.

      • I lived on the West Coast for four years, and even though the place was filled with agnostics and atheists, “Church Lady” personality types were everywhere.

        And lest anyone think I’m being sexist, men can also be Church Ladies. They’re often among the worst.

        Compounding the personality issues is legalized weed and, in Oregon, decriminalized meth, crack, and heroin in small quantities. Of course the busybodies imbibe.

  22. You make a very valid point Eric, we should not be forced to wear a brain bucket, but regardless of the aforementioned detractions to wearing one its still a good idea to wear one. Especially given the rise a vaxidents and boosted drivers. I’ve been in numerous motorcycle wrecks over the years and can honestly say I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t had a good helmet on.

    • Hi Rusty!

      Yup; risk-reward (and cost-benefit) attends all human action. The issue, though, is who shall make the decision? I think it ought to be the individual’s decision as he is most affected by the consequences. Also, it is obnoxious, at the least, for some other person to interpose their judgment as regards risk-reward and cost-benefit. What gives them the right? The answer is that unless they are your parents, they have none. And if the are not your parents and so interpose, then they are asserting they own you.

  23. ‘I went for an evening ride with my girlfriend – neither of us wearing a helmet.’ — eric

    Thought experiment: imagine riding helmetless in San Francisco, a city where all manner of deviant behavior — heroin dealing; unopposed shoplifting; defecating on the sidewalk — is tolerated without police intervention.

    With this hellish chaos unfolding all around, would the SFPD stop and ticket one for riding without a helmet?

    Here’s betting they would. After all, infringed traffic laws are one of the few things over which they still exert minimal control, even as public order disintegrates.

    To be a bit hyperbolic, it’s like plugging a random victim with a 9 mm pistol in broad daylight … then receiving a littering citation for leaving the shell casing on the sidewalk.

    Those whom the gods would destroy, they first drive crazy.

    • Hi Jim,

      Indeed! Of course, there is no money in ticketing sidewalk-shitters, who haven’t got any to mulct. Despite the obvious health hazard actually resultant from sidewalk-shitting.

      • That’s EXACTLY what it comes down to.

        Case in point came from my once-great state of Californi(cate). About thirty years ago, due to publicity about road “workers” (don’t get me started on the irony of THAT) getting hurt by inattentive motorists, a law was passed re: “Construction Zones”. Gotta protect those roadside workers from the clods behind the wheel, right? The law DOUBLED applicable traffic fines for speeding, or failure to yield, or for not having your zipper all the way up. Other states soon followed suit.

        Where it started going sideways was I noticed in travels, mainly across Nevada, but also California, Arizona, New Mexico, And Texas, there’d been long “coned-off” zones, but NO work being done…and no evidence that any work was in progress and the crews were merely done for the day. Sometimes these zones went on for TEN MILES or more. So I wondered if these simply hadn’t become de facto speed traps, with the promise of greater “mulcting” for having violated one of those precious “construction zones”.

        The final insult came about six years ago, during the thankfully FINAL term of Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr, aka “Moonbeam”. There was a serious proposal to simply designate ALL California highways as “Construction Zones”, since work MIGHT be in progress at any given time, thereby doubling the fines everywhere. Fortunately enough of a stink was raised that the proposal was quickly withdrawn. I’d predicted back about 1991 that would be EXACTLY what’d happen, and it simply took 25 years to be fulfilled!

    • You can look up YT videos of packs of tractor supply type mini bikes in LA. No helmets, plates or even lights on them. It is easy to get excited about the open expression of freedom untill you realize most seem to be of the ‘woke’ mindset and riding in very disrespectful and dangerous mannor. But the cops don’t seem to bother with them much.
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ls0CYl4X7tM

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