Helmet Laws

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If you ride a motorcycle, “the law” – that is to say, busybody people who write them  – probably requires that you wear a helmet when you ride. If you don’t, “law enforcement” – that is to say, the armed goons employed (at your expense!) by those who write “the law” will punish (that is, harm you) you for failing to obey “the law.”

But what about this “law?” (Which, interesting enough, is the “law” in almost all the states of the old Confederacy.)

It is said by those who favor such “laws” – that is, by the people who believe their opinion about your business entitles them to force their opinions on other people – that using the “law” to force motorcycle riders to wear a helmet is “safe.” It would be even “safer” to not ride the bike at all – and the principle is implicit in the “law” forcing people who ride motorcycles to wear helmets. Those who have accepted being told they must wear a helmet might want to think on that a bit. . .  .

But is it indeed “safe”to wear a helmet?

It is certainly “safe” – in a hypothetical way.

This “safe” business assumes the rider goes down. That he wrecks the bike and – in the process – his head hits the ground, a tree or some other object that. In that case, it is certainly the case that wearing a helmet is “safe.” Well, the odds are it is. Note the italics. Not all wrecks result in injury or death; that some of even many do is not the same as always and all. The same is true about car accidents – and seat belts (and air bags). They may decrease the chances (and severity) of injury – if there is an accident.

In exchange for this hypothetical benefit, people are forced by other people to buy (and wear) seatbelts in their cars and to buy cars equipped with multiple air bags that add thousands to the buy-cost of a new car and greatly increase insurance costs as well as increase the throw-away disposability of otherwise repairable cars after they are involved in accidents.

But seatbelts and air bags have the upside of not increasing the chances of accidents.

It is arguable that helmets do precisely that – by significantly decreasing the rider’s field-of-vision, which (on a bike) is a very important “safety” feature. This is easy enough to prove. It is not even necessary to ride a motorcycle in order to prove it. All that is necessary is to put on a typical “full face” helmet – not the beanie type worn by many people who ride big cruiser-type bikes as a way to conform to the “law” without totally ruining the experience – and take note of how much peripheral vision you’ve just lost.

You now have tunnel vision. Everything ahead of you. Much less to the sides of you. To compensate for this, the helmeted rider can (and should) be constantly turning his head left, then right, to see what he might otherwise miss. Especially in traffic-dense areas where there is so much going on it is easier to not see something. In a car, that might result in a fender-bender (or plastic-ripper, as new cars have flimsy, easily-damaged plastic front-and-rear-end covers. On a bike, it can result in a broken leg, wrist – or worse.

Helmet law people will chime in about now and say: That’s why people who ride ought to wear (they mean, ought to be forced ) to wear a helmet! As is always the case with people who think their opinions ought to have the force of “law,” they do not see (or give a flip about) the unintended consequences of their opinions. The forced-wearing of helmets hypothetically reduces the risk and severity of injury if the ride crashes. But the helmet the rider is forced to wear may also increase the chances he will crash. Both hypotheticals are valid – yet one has the force of law behind it.

And there is more to it than just that.

Unless the rider can afford a top-shelf helmet, it is probable the helmet is fatiguing – due to the added weight it impart to his head. Try it yourself and see. Put a lower-priced helmet (one that costs less than about $150) on your head and wear it for awhile. After awhile, it there’s a good chance your head will feel heavy (and sweaty) and that your neck will begin to ache.

Fatigue isn’t safe either. And – unlike the hypothetical benefit of wearing a helmet – it is an actual safety-reducer. One caused – ironically enough – by the wearing of the helmet.

This problem can be palliated via the purchase of a high-end, lightweight helmet. But not every rider can afford to spend $300-plus for such a one. The “law” merely requires a helmet  – just as a “mask” was required (and literally anything would do, including dirty old bandanas that “worked” about as well as a beanie-type helmet “works” in the event a rider goes down). New rides are likely to wear the helmet-equivalent of a bandana – because that’s what they can afford. They have complied with “the law.”

But is it really “safe”?

The point being that helmet wearing is one of numerous factors that might change the equation, as regards whether an accident happens – and whether (and how badly) the person is injured. The main variable being how skillfully and judiciously the person rides.

And that is properly the rider’s responsibility – as opposed busybodies’ business with regard to whether the rider wears a helmet.

. . .

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123 COMMENTS

  1. We all know people are too stupid to care about their own interest so it is a requirement for the gubmint to take care of us.
    Although not related to motorcycles, my state wanted to impose a mandatory bicycle helmet law. The Pediatric society published statistics how many lives would be saved by this imposition.
    I went through the numbers and found a bicycle helmet MIGHT stop one disability every two years.
    I virtually always wear a motorcycle helmet versus a bicycle helmet. I have been hit in the head by a bird and countless bugs. Periodically road debris and gravel have hit me. So I try to stay on the ‘safe’ side and wear a helmet.
    However, that is my choice for the bike I ride (1974 Norton Commando). If I were riding a full dresser with windscreen, that debris might be of little concern as it would block or deflect such hazards.
    These safety laws are “nice” but not “need.” The buyer and user should be able to purchase what they are comfortable with and can afford. It is not my responsibility to change your behavior no matter how foolish I might think you are.

  2. I’m in MI so I don’t have to wear a helmet but I do (I use a HJC MotoX helmet which affords me very good vision and protection in any accident where a helmet could help). I participated in the ABATE cause years ago to abolish the helmet “law” here. I think it’s a good decision to wear a helmet but in no way think it should be forced upon a rider!

  3. I once saw a 1959 Cadillac Sedan De Ville with the pancake roof and wrap around windshield and rear window.

    Yeah, you were toast if you rolled over, but you had great visibility. But what are the chances of you rolling a car like that with its long wheel base and low center of gravity?

    Which brings me to this: Has anyone done any real statistical analysis on how likely rollovers are versus other types of crashes? And if accidents due to poor visibility are more common than rollovers, then why aren’t we focusing on reducing those?

    But maybe that’s the wrong question to ask…

  4. I never really knew how good I had it here in Iowa until I saw that national map of helmet laws.

    I (almost) cannot Even Imagine having to be forced to wear a helmet. …How different growing up would have been. …How different it was/is for others less fortunate in other States.

    …A thing which kinda blows my mind is how Illinoise isn’t a helmet Nazi State like the other Blue States. …I guess downstate Illinoise has some pull? Idk.

    ‘Sammy Hagar – Bad Motor Scooter – 5/19/1978 – Winterland’

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNjdSYvUjMs

  5. Richard,
    Fear and insecurity propagates the ‘compulsory’ statement: Data proves XXXXXX saves lives.
    Living is a death sentence, in case you haven’t noticed. None of us are getting out alive.
    Full-body air-bag suits would ‘save lives’, living in a plastic bubble would ‘save lives’, mass incarceration of everyone who has or has not been injured would ‘save lives’.
    We could easily argue that abortion would have ‘saved’ everyone that has been killed in all of history.
    “Covid masks and vaccines save lives” got translated into “No masks and no vaccine can kill someone else”. Take away freedom of personal responsibility and you get the Marxist shit-show we have been seeing in this country for the last 3 years. And why?
    Because, “Doin’ right ain’t got no end!”

    • Your argument is irrelevant when the subject is mandatory seat belts in automobiles and mandatory motorcycle helmets. You have completely evaded those two subjects. You have provided an excellent example of the Appeal to Extremes Logical Fallacy.

      • Richard: I think you’re confused here with your logical fallacies. I believe gts’s point is that just because you can point to some data that shows a particular thing will “save a life,” doesn’t mean that the application of that thing must be imposed upon individuals by force.

        A good example of this for me is with tobacco. I strongly thing that smoking or using tobacco products is terrible for one’s health and that ceasing it’s use would prevent ill health and premature death. With that said, I don’t for a second want its use to be banned.

        You seem to conflate what some think ought to be done with what must be done.

        • I feel the same way about tobacco use. Smoking, chewing, dipping, and vaping are known for certain to be hazardous to your health. I don’t use them, and if you use them, I think you ought to quit. In short, I strongly disapprove of tobacco. And I support common sense restrictions, like age limits and limits on smoking in public.

          But I also disapprove of making tobacco products illegal. One reason is that doing so would empower and embolden both criminal enterprises, aka “mafias,” and Big Government—two organizations whose power must be curbed.

  6. All kinds of motorcyclists with no helmet on the noggin.

    They’re on the move towards Sturgis, 500,000 motorcyclists will be drinking beer and givin’ ‘er hell for nine days and beyond.

    When they’re standing around with nothing to do, they don’t wear their helmets, drinking beer is a harmless pastime.

    You have to do some serious planning to have a motorcycle rally that beats them all.

    The nights are warm, the door is open all night so the cats can come and go as they please. A couple of nights ago, four raccoons invaded the porch and were eating cat food.

    Gotta chase them out of the house, the masked bandits make you feel guilty for their brazen behavior, they just want something to eat. Have a heart, raccoons can be pets too. It is over the line, the door stays shut.

    Have to keep on keeping on. The green beans are at bumper crop stage.

    • The last time I stood around drinking beers with a group of bikers I would have felt safer with a helmet on. The big one, full face mask.

      • Hunter S. Thompson found out the hard way how not to talk to a biker who is abusive to his wife and a dog. The wrong words can make for a bad day.

        You don’t want to be around a band of Chippewa/French métis when they are picnicking with a half gallon whiskey on the picnic table.

        You pack up and drive off, do it furtively.

  7. Sunday, August 19, 1973 a Chrysler New Yorker ran a stop sign in front of
    my Honda 350. At collision I was thrown over the trunk section into a backflip that landed my body on the road, face up. I can still
    feel the energy of impact as my head bounced on the highway—–only to be saved by my helmet. The force on a human body in a 40mph crash is astounding. To this day, I still wear a lid when riding and have no sense of
    embarrassment or feeling of being pussified for doing so……

  8. ZH – “Under a law that took effect immediately upon its signing by Governor Tina Kotek, drivers in Oregon are finally free to pump gas into their own vehicles, rather than being forced to wait for a gas station attendant to handle it for them. That leaves New Jersey as the last state where where pumping your own gas is a crime — punishable by a fine of up to $500.

    Self-serve was outlawed in Oregon in 1951. Lawmakers said the practice was too dangerous, citing the fact that “cashiers are often unable to maintain a clear view of and give undivided attention to the dispensing of [gas] by customers.”

    Leaving one’s car also supposedly exposed drivers to “the increased risk of personal injury resulting from slipping on slick surfaces” and an “increased risk of crime.” What’s more, wrote the law’s authors, “the dangers of crime and slick surfaces…are enhanced because Oregon’s weather is uniquely adverse, causing wet pavement and reduced visibility.” ”

    ———–

    Self serve gas was outlawed based on what? Utter bullshit. It was a jobs bill, tand everyone in Oregon knew it. Tiny Kotex saves the day!

  9. Has everyone heard of RI’s helmet law? No requirement that the driver wear a helmet. But any passenger(s) must wear them. Supposedly a legislative compromise some years ago.

  10. Great article Eric.

    There is an interesting parallel with cars and safety:

    Rollover crash standards are forcing thicker A, B, and C pillars on newer cars. It is very easy to not see, say, a pedestrian in a crosswalk when making a left turn since the A pillar has been so pumped up by rollover strength mandates.

    Again – busybody authoritarians forcing “safety” in the extremely unlikely event of a rollover crash, but making every driver’s peripheral vision worse for 100, 200, 300 thousand miles, increasing the likelihood of a crash the entire time.

    When do we need “blind spot detection” now? Probably because the previous safety mandates, forced at gunpoint, have blocked vision in every direction, making bigger blind spots.

    My guess is that blind spot detection will become mandatory within 5 years.

    You can’t make this shit up.

    • Yeah, and I would bet that so called blind spot detection saves exactly zero lives. All BSD is is another indication that people are going to disregard while driving their stupid cars. Many vehicles come with this feature already. It’s operation is fairly spotty.

      There is absolutely no doubt that the current rollover and side impact standards forced on us by FMVSS are causing more pedestrian accidents, injuries and fatalities. Since 2009, fatalities have gone from around 3500 to a staggering 7300 in 2021. In the 2000-2009 tiime period, an average of 4600 people were killed in ped related accidents. When the standards went into full effect in around 2010, the number for 2010-2021 increased to 5600 ped fatals a year. That doesn’t tell the whole story as it takes a while for the more dangerous cars to enter the vehicle mix. I predict the number will level off around 8000 pedesterian fatals.

      The pedestrian fatality increase doesn’t tell the whole story. There are other collisions that occurr at speed on crowded freeways or on arterial routes which numbers have also risen. those are a little harder to identify and analyze. I haven’t looked at that yet. I believe that lack of outward visibility in todays cars is causing more crashes of all types. There is no other explanation for the upward trend in the mileage based fatality rates since 2014, (with the exception of 2017-19 when the rates dropped).

      The rough ride will continue.

      All of this has b

      • Watch many of the dashcam videos on YT to see the crazy stuff new cars and suvs in particular will do in a crash. Stuff that never happened with the older cars before the crash standards came into existence. These vids are so educational.

  11. Eric,

    In response to the comments regarding pillars interfering with vision, I invite you to search out the report by RAF fighter pilot John Sullivan.

    Very interesting and explains why the person who turned in front of you really did not see you as their brain is essentially showing what it expects to see, i.e. an empty road.

    Pillar blindness is a real thing and is responsible for many pedestrians getting run over.

    Here is a link to an article which has a Dropbox link to one of Sullivan’s article.

    https://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/raf-pilot-teach-cyclists/

    Anon

  12. I 100% agree that none of this should be law (either helmets or seat belts), but i personally prefer to ride with a helmet. I don’t agree with the comments on visibility. Test it. Motorcycle helmets have wide and tall viewports (compared to full face auto helmets, where they worry about intrusion of parts from the car), and in my opinion, don’t limit my visibility at all. I had a fairly minor motorcycle crash 25 years ago, but I did go over the handle bars and land on the pavement. I wrecked my helmet, but my head was fine. This was a stupid one person accident (oh hey, I’m in a curve now; whoops). It turns out, letting a bad day at work dominate your thoughts can be a form of impairment. 5 years ago I crashed on a bicycle, and again, a result of my brain focused on the wrong thing and I missed the steel post right in the middle of the path (going around a blind turn). Again, over the handle bars, landed on the pavement, and wrecked a bicycle helmet, but not my head. Back then I only wore my bicycle helmet about half the time, and I changed my habit after this crash.

    Interestingly, a few years ago I read an article about how many serious head injuries would be prevented on motocycles if just bicycle helmets were worn. Apparently, the limited coverage of them still protects the most common head injury areas. They don’t block sound or sight, so the only downside is that they look dorky. And that’s enough to not wear them for some. And it would be a damn great thing if eveyone was allowed to make that choice on their own.

    • I don’t ride a motor cycle, but I did ride a bicycle to commute for a long time.

      The bicycle helmet was hot despite being an open cage. It changed the airflow to make a noisy ride.

      I quit riding with the damned thing. It’s my damned business whether I ride with or without a helmet.

      I don’t like riding anymore since everyone is pecking on their cellphone, driving one of the dangerous vehicles with no outward visibiliity and also playing with their stupid i-pad looking touchscreen in the car.

      Busy bodies have turned this country into an intolerable shithole. If I knew a foreign language or two fluently, I would have been out ages ago.

      Bottom line – I don’t care if a certain helmet protects me from this or that. It’s my damned choice to wear that bullshit or not. It’s not your or the governments call

  13. I know first hand why they have helmet laws, and it is actually not about your safety (although that is the BS they tell you to sell it to the public) – the state, county, is concerned about their money, their end of the fiscal year fiscal bleeding. I saw this as it went down in Idaho. The state looked at their bottom line and the statistics said motorcycle accidents with head injuries cost mucho shekels, millions and millions per year, and they wanted that eliminated – so they mandated helmets and riders insurance so they do not have to pick up the tab when you wipe out.

    How did the state pick up the tab? Ahhhh. The first responders are NOT going to sit on their duffs when a motorcycle crashes and the driver is injured. Not in Amerika, no way, because in civilized France they send out the rescuers. Our society will not allow you to bleed and die if you are not insured. So out they go, lights a flashing, sirens wailing, take you on a stretcher to the nearest county hospital, then maybe life flight you via helicopter to the big hospital in Boise. That costs big bucks. I know about this stuff because my first wife did the books for the county hospital.

    So to sell this increase in state intrusion, which the people of Idaho are very opposed, they get an ad campaign going on the safety of helmets, they basically brainwash the public to accept the agenda, but it was always about their money. You can bet the school kids are blasted with safety propaganda, and the nice officer all dressed up visits the classroom and tells them children how concerned they are about their safety,

    The joke here, is that the state does NOT care about your safety at all – as a matter of fact the state is trying to kill you will death jabs. That is a fact Jack, and if you disagree with that objective truth then you are dumber than dog shit – and many people argue against that proposition BTW. People are dumb as dog shit, read this, most people are not just dumb, in groups they are insane:

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2023/08/gary-d-barnett/the-bizzarro-effect-of-universal-insanity/

    The state does not care about your safety at all, and in fact the state mandates military service in most nations, and in police state Jew run Amerika, the state has sent many of our most fit young to their deaths in the Iraq wars, Vietnam wars, Korean wars, World wars, etc. War all of the time for Jewry proves the state doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your life.

    So when the state says it cares about your safety riding a motorcycle, that is very disingenuous. They say that shit to justify lording over you. And they believe that utter bullshit because as Gary Barnett writes, they are all insane.

    • It is true that helmets are protective with regard to head injuries. However without that protection we have many more donors for body parts. We call them donorcycles. The medical industry needs spare parts, young dead donorcycle riders are a prime source of spare parts. So really the government should encourage riding without helmets. Same is true for airbags and seatbelts. Crashes that would kill you making you a parts bin allow your survival making you a drain on medical resources. No good answer except, people making their own decisions, which you live or die with.

      • Donorcycles – that is damn funny. The government is really stupid, since they want us dead, so they ought to remove all the laws keeping us safe. No speed limits, no helmets, and no limits on rocket launchers and C4.

        • Hi Jack,

          I’ve been riding a long time. So far, my bits and pieces are still intact. Obviously, I might go down tomorrow – I’d be a fool to deny the possibility. But I don’t obsess about it. And if saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety were my guiding principle, I’d never have ridden a motorcycle in the first place. I do not understand the modern fearfulness and risk-aversion. Life is risk and risk is often part of the fun of living.

  14. John Stossel had a show where he showed two charts: one where OSHA was touting how, since their inception in the 60’s, severe accidents were reduced. The second chart was a chart showing the same but included going back to the 20’s showing the same rate of reduction was occurring without OSHA. Lies, damn lies and statistics.

    I worked for a large general construction firm back in the day where a fatality occurred on a jobsite regarding a steelworker falling off a high rise. Back in the day, fall protection was not required. Also, the steel workers could do things like using the beams to slide down to the lower levels, etc. Apparently, this worker was doing something negligent. The steel worker union filed as a lawsuit against the general contractor on behalf of the family. The general contractor’s defense was that this was the subcontractor’s steel erection work, and they were responsible for discipline and safety during this portion of the project. The judge ruled against the general contractor stating that the general contractor could not delegate responsibility for safety on to others. The GC lost a large settlement. After that, this GC had a no exception policy to fall protection. The union and steel contractors then fought them over this policy stating it affected their productivity but eventually it was adopted.

    I write this not to advocate for mandatory helmet laws (which I oppose) but to point out that government regulation did not motivate a change, but it was a private lawsuit with a monetary penalty. I’ve been on both sides of the argument that lawsuit awards should be curtailed or not. I say, I rather have large lawsuits pushing changes rather than government bureaucrats who think they know better pushing ridiculous regulation that restricts freedom and causes unforeseen circumstances.

  15. Here in Ontario Canada there is a helmet law, unless you are a Sikh. In that case you don’t need to wear a helmet because your religious needs over-ride the helmet law (wearing a turban). I would like to not wear a helmet once in a while here but I don’t wear a turban.

  16. Helmets save lives
    Good idea to wear one

    Seat belts save lives
    Good idea to wear them

    Front passenger air bags save lives
    Good idea to have ONE in your automobile

    Some rules make sense
    Anarchy never does.

    The people who believe the government is always wrong have a lot in common with the people who believe the government is always right – a lack of common sense and intelligence.

      • I believe my comment will stir things up here, just like walking past the monkey cage at the zoo while clanging a steel water cup against the bars of their cage. Not that I would ever do that.

        The mantra here:
        — If that pesky government wants us to do something for our own good, we’re not going to do it, just to show them. We don’t care if a law makes sense, or not.

        • Richard writes:

          “If that pesky government wants us to do something for our own good, we’re not going to do it, just to show them. We don’t care if a law makes sense, or not.”

          Not at all. I simply reject the degrading idea that some other bastard has the slightest right to direct me how to live my life because he believes doing (or not doing) “x” is “safer.”

          It’s insufferable – and ought to be extremely offensive to any self-respecting person.

          • No age laws on buying alcohol?

            No age laws on driving automobiles?

            No age laws on buying a gun?

            No age laws on voting?

            No Social Security?

            No disability welfare?

            No veterans benefits?

            No Medicaid?

            No speed limits?

            No road signs?

            No road tests to get licenses?

            No need to supervise the building of highways, bridges and roads?

            No need to regulate interstate pollution?

            Government is evil — we want anarchy!

            And most important is that we anarchists don’t care about the majority — few Americans support cuts to most government programs, including Medicaid.

            But never mind the majority — they must be ignored, because we anarchists know better!

            • Perfect, the classic straw man argument. Next up, an anecdotal, I knew a guy who knew a guy…

              I’m disappointed that someone with your “superior intellect” would resort to such basic fallacious arguments.

            • I won’t even bother refuting all of the nonsense in this post. All I can say is, after posting this pile of bullshit, don’t even bother pretending in the future that you are any kind of libertarian.

              • Libertarians do NOT force people to live the libertarian way, or to live with anarchy.

                I listed government rules and programs that are popular.

                The first government programs to oppose are the censorship, supporting Ukraine, excessive deficit spending, unfair elections, CO2 scaremongering, persecution of Trump, and Biden family corruption.

                People who oppose wearing seat belts and helmets, on principle, are not changing minds on the far more important subjects I just listed.

                • Richard writes:

                  “People who oppose wearing seat belts and helmets, on principle . . .”

                  Who said that? I did say I oppose forcing anyone to wear (or buy them). Such distinctions are critical.

                • Libertarians have neither the power nor the desire to force people to live in any way. Libertarians simply wish to be left the hell alone to live their lives to they choose as long as they do not violate the equal liberty of their fellows, not to tell other people how to live.

                  You really think libertarians are a threat to force other people to live “the libertarian way”? We have no power to control others, nor do we wish to have such power. Anyone who wishes to control other people is no libertarian.

                  The world is rapidly collapsing under the bootheal of totalitarianism, both at the hands of the US government and global totalitarian movements like the WEF and WHO. And you’re worried about the threat posed by libertarians?

                  • Good morning, Martin!

                    Richard is one of those people who thinks it’s okay – even necessary – for government to impose things on people “for their own good.” Or the “good” of “society.” The things he thinks are “good.” People like that never seem to understand that other people may (and do) have different ideas about what’s “good” – which he may not agree are “good.” But he has no argument to level in opposition, having agreed with the premise that it’s okay – even necessary – for government to impose impose things on people “for their own good.”

                    Or the “good” of “society.”

                    Libertarians are morally consistent (as you have already explained). They believe in leaving everyone alone who is peaceful – and demand to be let alone on the same basis.

            • I’m going to answer this bullshit directly. I’m not going to get into polemical bullshit arguments

              No age laws on buying alcohol? Different countries have different age limits. Within the United States during a time we had drinking ages that varied across state lines between 71 and 85. There was no substantial increase in drunk/drugged driving during that period. In fact, fatalies dropped because of automobile safety impreovements such as radial tires, rack and pinion steering, anti-sway bars and revisions to suspension geometry. In other countreis, they let kids drink under the age of 18.

              No age laws on driving automobiles? Why? Who cares? If someone is capable of handling a motor vehicle, who cares how old they are. There are 12 year old kids that have a higher maturity and skill level than some 30 year olds. If you are capable of reaching the pedal, who cares.

              No age laws on buying a gun? What the fuck does buying a gun have to do with driving a motor vehicle. This is a straw man argument. Do you not understand the wording of “shall not be infringed.” The constitution does not specify age limits on anything but holding office and voting.

              No age laws on voting? There are some on the left who would let 16 year olds vote, so what are you getting at? That can be handled at the state level.

              No Social Security? Social security is on the verge of bankruptcy. I would have been happy with being able to keep that 7.65 percent of my income to myself that I have been forced to pay.

              No disability welfare? I have seen people wantonly abuse that system. Some of it is understandable, some isn’t.

              No veterans benefits? Veterans have very little in teh way of benefits and it doesn’t make up a big part of the budget. Since the veterans served this country in some capacity (whether or not the military action was moral or not), they deserve benefits. It doesn’t distract from teh main argument that the government sucks. Just look at a VA hospital. They are a complete mess.

              No Medicaid? The need for medicaid is overstated. Many medical issues could be handled through a naturopathic response rather than consistent transfer payments. Medicaid sucks.

              No speed limits? Speed limits are not popular at all. On any given road, 7/10 people can be found in violation. A correlation between speed, speed limits and highway fatalities has never been established. People drive at speeds they feel safe and reasonable driving and the speed with the lowest accident involvement rate is the 85th percentile speed limit. I do NOT suggest that everyone drive at the 85th percentile as that speed is not the safest speed for every individual. People should be able to select the speed they choose to drive.

              No road signs? Road signs should be readable and in English. No need for a lot of government there.

              No road tests to get licenses? Are you kidding. Do you think that driver’s have gotten better because of these road tests? Pull your head out of your ass for long enough to know that drivers are as bad as they ever have been. A lot of these tests have done no good.

              No need to supervise the building of highways, bridges and roads? No one is supervising it now. Few roads and bridges have actually been built int he last 50 years. In some areas bridges are crumbling anyway. Hell, the government can’t even fill in potholes or paint the lines on a highway. Don’t give me that crap.

              No need to regulate interstate pollution? “Pollution”
              Garbage. Unless you can prove that after 53 years of the clean air act and 50 years of the clean water act that Americans are demonstrably healthier, leaner and are not burdened with pesticide based endocrine disruptors like atrozine in the drinking water, Bisphenol A and other microplastics in the water and the soil, government regulation hasn’t done a G- D thing.

              Government is evil — we want anarchy!

              I’m going to add this- governmetn interference is causing more pedestrian accidents, injuries and fatalities on the nation’s roads. Since the govenrment imposed further changes to FMVSS 204 and 208, the standards dealing with side impact and rollover rigidity, pedestrian fatalities have increased from 4600 per year from 2000-09 to 5600 per year in 2010-2021. Taht’s an average. The actual number for 2019 was 6500. Government regulations are causing untold numbers of accidents injuries and fatalities on our nation’s roads. Government has caused the wanton slaughter of thousands.

              So, there you have it. Keep the god damned government.

              • This post about anarchy was nonsensical incoherence. It talked about the “Constitution” which means nothing to an anarchist. It also mentioned handling at the “state level” when there is no state in an anarchy. It mentioned welfare and veteran’s benefits which would not exist in an anarchy.

                Also it criticizes driving tests/licenses, road signs/speed limits, road building and maintenance, pollution control and government safety rules, because none of those has been perfect, when in an anarchy none of those will exist at all. Thus the problems that are partially addressed by government will not be addressed at ALL by anarchy.

                Government has not killed millions, disagreements between people has killed millions, before large governments were around tribes killed each other in large numbers. In an anarchy there would be constant warring over resources as there would not even be the possibility of resolution between large groups of people (government). It actually turned out to be a post in favor of government.

                • Hi lyspooner,

                  Most of us here support rules – but not rulers. That’s a not-bad way to define “anarchism.” It strikes me as not dissimilar from the essence of libertarianism. Both are moral systems in which people are let alone. Libertarians (generally) condition this on people being peaceful, i.e., they have (morally) an absolute right to be left in peace so long as they are peaceful toward others. This is the so-called “non-aggression principle,” the renouncing of the use of force except in self-defense.

                  The dilemma arises: How to assure that people are let alone; that the peace is kept? Here we arrive at the frustrating dilemma of reconciling an ideal with the reality that not everyone will behave morally and not everyone can defend themselves against the immoral.

                  My personal “take” is as follows:

                  I will always admire and defend and strive for the ideal while recognizing that the perfect can be the enemy of the good. It is my opinion – and it may be in error – that human nature precludes a perfect libertarian society from ever being realized, except perhaps on a very small scale (and for the duration, perhaps of a handful of years). But I think it is possible to achieve something pretty good, if enough people within a society accept the moral idea of leaving other people be and everything that follows from this laudable ideal. A constitutional republic may be as good as it gets – and it’s not half-bad.

                  Sadly, this not half-bad does contain half (or a third or a fourth, etc.) that is bad and that seems to inevitably wax over time as there will always be people in any society who chafe to not leave others be. It may be that the very best that can be hoped for is a respite from tyranny, perhaps for a given generation – and then it skips a few before the errors are comprehended and the lessons relearned.

        • “Richard Greene August 6, 2023 At 3:44 pm
          I believe my comment will stir things up here, just like walking past the monkey cage at the zoo while clanging a steel water cup against the bars of their cage.”

          Richard finally comes out of the closet and admits he’s a troll.

    • Richard, it’s not a matter of government being wrong or right. It’s about the use of force. Decisions as to one’s own risk and safety is up to that individual, not government.

      Why does anarchy not make sense?

      • It does, Richard has just fallen into the ongoing delusion that anarchy means chaos. We operate in anarchy most of the time. We don’t have government goons following us around to make sure we do right. We do it on our own. Nobody drives down a cul de sac at 80mph. There are bad people who do bad things, but they’re amateurs compared to the state. Governments are only really good at one thing, killing people, and they are VERY good at it.

        • Correct. I had this misconception about the definintion of anarchy when I was younger. It is the absense of a ruler, allowing people to self organize, which they do very well. When you are walking in a very crowded airport, and yet almost no one runs into anyone else, that an example of anarchy and self organization. It’s a natural human state.

          • A grocery store is similar to the airport example.

            Ever see a grocery cart speed limit sign in a grocery store?

            Or, no passing zones?

            Or, stop signs?

            Or, turn signal lights on a grocery cart?

            …”I am often asked if anarchy has ever existed in our world, to which I answer: almost all of your daily behavior is an anarchistic expression. How you deal with your neighbors, coworkers, fellow customers in shopping malls or grocery stores, is often determined by subtle processes of negotiation and cooperation. Social pressures, unrelated to statutory enactments, influence our behavior on crowded freeways or grocery checkout lines. If we dealt with our colleagues at work in the same coercive and threatening manner by which the state insists on dealing with us, our employment would be immediately terminated. We would soon be without friends were we to demand that they adhere to specific behavioral standards that we had mandated for their lives.”…

            https://www.lewrockwell.com/2004/01/butler-shaffer/youre-an-anarchist/

        • Hu Krusty,

          In re: “Who resolves disputes in an anarchy?”

          The parties to the dispute. Or an adjudicator. Will the result be acceptable to both parties? Maybe, maybe not. But isn’t the same true as regards disputes arbitrated by the government?

        • Online marketplaces, like ebay, resolve disputes between buyers and sellers all the time. There are also originations to arbitrate matters such as the American Arbitration Association.

          It’s sort of hard to imagine private dispute resolution since the gubmint claims a monopoly through the court system.

          • There are huge quantities of data supporting helmets, seat belts and air bags. Don’t pretend you don’t know.

            Where are the data proving wearing a helmet increases your odds of getting in an accident?

            I looked for those data and found this:

            Another common myth regarding helmets and motorcyclists is that they block your ability to see or hear danger. This is not true nor is it supported by statistics. Wearing a helmet actually does the opposite: the visor provides eye protection from wind and debris, allowing a rider to see better.

    • Richard,
      Maybe the government should pass a regulation that if you are overweight you cannot by the double char-broiler at Carl’s Jr. After all, it’s for your own safety.

    • Richard,

      It’s not about “making sense.” It’s about an adult’s right to decide for himself. Government – when it uses force against people who’ve not used force against anyone else – is always wrong.

      • He knows that, he’s only here to rile people up and display his “superior intellect” to us simpletons. I’ve mentioned this in the past about others who offer a contrarian view on every subject. They’re playing a perverse “parlor game” and their “bingo card” is filled out by the number of commentators who take the bait.

        Again, can you imagine actually living with this individual? There’s no way he only displays this type of behavior on internet blogs.

        • Hi James,

          Yeah, I’ve noticed this also. And also that he publicly makes fun of his wife (e.g., she backs into things). I wonder what it’s like in their home… .

          • It is an American tradition to make fun of the wife, but only behind her back, especially after she backed into poles with three different cars so far. She also backed into the side of her girlfriend’s car once.

            Now you take my wife.
            Please!

            You must not have a wife, EP.

            Mine has stuck around since 1978, trying to train me, but so far it has not worked.

            It’s great to find that special person … to annoy for the rest of your life.

            To show how well behaved I am: I never curse.

            And at a 75-year old’s birthday party Friday night, the discussion turned to how many Covid shots each person had taken, and whether they should get more shots. I kept quiet. The birthday girl (75) had four Covif shots, but it’s not polite to disagree with a person on their birthday or start an argument at a birthday party. At least they have stopped wearing masks!

            It’s okay to disagree with strangers here. Even with the Big Cheese. The internet was invented for endless arguments and crackpot theories.

            • “It is an American tradition to make fun of the wife, but only behind her back.”

              Really? That doesn’t sound too endearing. I have been with the same guy for almost 30 years and I would never put him down in front of a group of strangers (or even friends). It is about respect. You don’t throw your S.O. under the bus. Do we give each other a hard time in private? Hell, yeah. But, what does that say about us if we are constantly playing up our partner’s mishaps to make them look foolish or asinine? That we marry idiots?

              • You may be the first woman in the history of the world not to complain about her man to her friends. As it was explained to me by my wife it’s the main reason to get together with her friends. I didn’t mind because it’s one of the main reasons I get together with my friends. If you can’t complain about the one you love, who can you complain about?

                • Hi krusty,

                  I don’t have friends. I have hubby, a couple kids, and two dogs. I have no girlfriends. I have very little in common with most women. I have three sisters though so if I need a female perspective I just call them or my mom.

                  I have learned if I have to complain about anybody I talk to the dogs, because I don’t have to worry about it reaching anybody else’s ears. They are fabulous at keeping secrets, are excellent listeners, and can be bought off with sausage links and popcorn. 🙂

        • Richard,

          Whether it “matters” to relatives is not a moral justification for forcing anyone to wear a helmet. If you say it is, then I reply that your logic demands motorcycle riding be banned, as – helmet or not – there is more risk to riding than driving. Hell, your logic could justify fining fatties and requiring people to exercise.

          As far as taxpayers: This is the Cashy/socialist argument. The premise is that “society” – i.e., other people – must be forced to bear the cost of the actions of others and so “society” – i.e., other people – have the right to restrict what you and I are allowed to do.

          Fuck that.

          If I wreck on my bike, it is my problem. Period. You owe me nothing – other than to respect my right to take risks (and bear the rewards as well as the consequences).

          I have parents. I don’t need to be parented by strangers.

          • Did you make the personal rights argument when Mom made you eat your peas? I was unable to do that as I lived in a dictatorship as a kid. You think the government is bad, I had no rights, no free choice, no privacy, it was like living in NY city!

        • “…when people refuse to wear helmets, or use seat belts?”

          Or cross the street, slip on the ice, walk in the woods, take a bath, hell, get out of bed in the morning. I fail to understand how friends and relatives grief will be much different depending on the manner of death.

          “How did he die?”
          “He drowned while on vacation in Florida.”
          “Whew, that’s a relief, I thought maybe he was riding his motorcycle without a helmet.”

          • Because helmets and seat belts save lives. Data have existed for many decades to prove that claim.

            They have nothing to do with crossing the street, etc. … but a helmet might help when slipping on ice.

            • Richard, life is risky. Individuals should have options, not mandates, when it comes to acts that only involve them.

              Does someone else not wearing a seat belt interfere with your life or mine? I would state only if we know them would it affect us on a personal level, but even that boils down to individual choice. Actions have consequences and we each need to make the right one for us. At the same time, the rest of us should not have to be held down by the consequences of one’s actions. If one wants to believe they will win against gravity the rest of us should not have to be responsible for the clean up bill.

          • That’s a good one, James N

            “How did he die?”
            “He drowned while on vacation in Florida.”
            “Whew, that’s a relief, I thought maybe he was riding his motorcycle without a helmet.”

            Imagine all the lives which would be saved if swimming were made illegal.
            Especially, in the ocean.

            /Sarc off.

          • Oh, wait. That’s not quite the correct analogy, rather, it would be this:

            Anyone, while in any depth of water, must be wearing a floatation device/life jacket.

            Even if only walking in ankle deep water a life jacket must be worn at all times. A person could trip & drown!
            That would be akin to someone on a moped having to wear a helmet while driving 5 m.p.h. on an empty street, no?

            And, even if a body of water was infested with tiger sharks, the main concern is that a person must wear a life jacket while swimming in those waters.
            That’s akin to being forced to wear a helmet while driving a motorcycle through crime ridden downtown areas of Blue State cities, no?

            No appeal to the extreem in the above, is there? It’s for your own good, eh?

            Sarc/off.

    • Richard, if the general population is so inept and in need of guidance, why are all the edicts of those in government considered good? Are they not also part of the human race?

      We are supposedly so stupid as to not be able to live our lives by our own wits. But, we are supposedly capable of voting in politicians who allow themselves and their unelected bureaucrats to run our lives.

      Please answer the above questions and explain the further conundrum.

      • In a recent article, Julian Adorney noted that a central belief of the gospel of social democracy is that the majority of the people are too stupid to buy or consume the “correct” products and services without government diktat, but that when it comes to voting, the opinions of the majority are infallible and never to be questioned.

        You are spot-on, sir!

      • “Richard, if the general population is so inept and in need of guidance, why are all the edicts of those in government considered good?”

        Most government edicts are bad news, but NOT all of them. I named a few that paid off in fewer deaths without stopping the use of motorcycles and cars or adding much cost to the drivers.

        It is a big public relations mistake to be anti-government on every subject, and sound like an anarchist.

        The EPA promoted the needed reduction of serious US air pollution in the 1970s. But when they accomplished their goal, they lived on to eventually claim CO2 was pollution, a completely anti-science claim.

        I believe in minimal government with more power at the state and local levels than at the federal level. The current level of government control is more like fascism than the US government in 1973 when I became a libertarian. Mandatory motorcycle helmets and seat belts in cars are the least of our problems concerning our loss of personal freedoms. We don’t even have fair elections anymore.

    • From Greene: “Front passenger air bags save lives
      Good idea to have ONE in your automobile”

      Front passenger airbags have killed infants. Airbags are for
      unbelted passengers, no need for them if one is “belted”.

      • NHTSA estimates that the combination of an airbag plus a lap and shoulder belt reduces the risk of death in frontal crashes by 61 percent, compared with a 50 percent reduction for belts alone and a 34 percent reduction for airbags alone.

        • How do you think they figure that out? Do they take the number of accidents with airbag and seat belt, and compare it to accidents without? Or do they determine that the airbag/seat belt saved someone from what would have been a fatal accident in their judgement. I’m not really doubting the numbers as it makes sense that not being thrown into the windshield is helpful but the methodology of the numbers is what interests me.

          • Kk it’s a wild ass guess. Government servants who have better things to do than review and compile statistics that will not be what the bosses want. So they make shit up, keep their jobs and are heroes. If they can keep it up long enough and most do they retire. Reset.

        • Here is another gov “solution”: – if the airbags are found to be defective, park the vehicle. No, DISABLE the airbags – MY choice.

          Where are the “numbers” for individuals killed or maimed by airbags?

          What is the legitimate authority for the “official” gov entity, spouting the “numbers”, to exist?

        • I was referring to ONE airbag in front of the front passenger. The air bag in the steering wheel does not seem necessary.

          The front passenger airbag is deactivated if there is a small weight on that seat. That’s why there’s a safety weight switch on the passenger airbag.

          • Richard,

            The government – i.e., busybodies with guns – has as much right to force people to buy air bags as it has to force them to eat asparagus.

            • Indeed, we all engage in potentially dangerous activities. Well, perhaps except for Richard.
              As far as I know, skydiving, SCUBA diving, mountain climbing etc. are all still legal.

  17. Years ago Washington State Patrol got a bug up it’s butt over “illegal” helmets. Many Harley riders were using the tiny beanies with chin straps to at least keep the cops off their backs. The “man” decided this was not acceptable and did emphasis patrols to nail the renegade bikers. My two buddies got pulled over together and ticketed for “illegal” helmets. Pissed, they researched the helmet law and found NO definition of a legal helmet. Took a day off from work, traveled 100 miles to court in Kittitas county. State Patrol actually showed up. Judge “ticket says illegal helmet”. Buddies “judge, we’ve researched the helmet law and can find no definition of a “legal” helmet” then handed him a copy. Judge “well, reading this I also do not see a definition, so, officer, what is your legal authority to issue this ticket?” Stammers “uh uh uh”. Judge: “dismissed!”

    WA legislation subsequently updated to require helmets be DOT approved, rat bastards.

  18. “There are two types of human beings: people who want to interfere in the way other people live their lives, and people who are content to mind their own business.  Which type of people do you think go into politics?” Ed Crane

  19. I wear a full face helmet…and every time a big old bug hits the faceplate I’m sure glad I have it on!. I wear earplugs to cut down on the wind noise too. Maybe I’m not cut out to be a bike rider. Oh well, I’m 77 so I don’t know how much longer I’ll be two wheelin’. Been at it since 1960.

    • Last time I wore a full face helmet a bee got inside it while going about 60 miles an hour. That was fun, went to a beany style afterwards. I’ve also had bugs on the inside of my glasses too. A full face brain bucket is not necessarily safer either.

  20. I forget the year some time back when I saw the most ironic scene, ever.

    North Carolina has a helmet law. I was on the sidewalk of US 74 that ran through town. A motorcyclist passed by wearing no helmet. Several seconds later a cop car flew by, light ablaze and siren wailing. He pulled up behind the biker.

    The day?

    July 4.

    That’s what we’re up against, folks.

  21. ‘If you ride a motorcycle, “the law” – that is to say, busybody people who write them – probably requires that you wear a helmet when you ride.’ — eric

    State law, that is. Unlike the case of seat belts, in which Clowngress effectively forced state legislatures to mandate them, or else lose fedgov transportation funding.

    Then the 535 dwarves of Clowngress even funded hateful ‘Click It Or Ticket’ campaigns, to oppress their own constituents by ruining their holidays with saturation enforcement crackdowns.

    Why didn’t Clowngress mandate 50-state helmet laws too? Probably because motorcyclists are too few in number, and rarely carry child passengers. Maybe they are suspected of being borderline Wrongthinkers as well.

    Hunter S Thompson’s 1967 book, Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, certainly left a mark. Who could forget Thompson’s depiction of thick-skulled, chain-wielding meatheads, clad in never-washed jeans turned to rigid canvas by an armature of dried blood, beer and semen stains?

    Four wheels good; two wheels b-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-d.

    • Indeed, Jim!

      And: The other day, we stopped for gas at the bottom of the mountain and – ahead of us at the forward pump was a fully patched Pagan on a chopper with ape hangers. I haven’t seen one of these guys since I lived in the big city, a long time ago.

  22. I don’t ride bikes, but the reduced visibility does not stop with helmets. The same problem arises with the massive door pillars installed in cars to keep you “safe” in a roll over. Never mind that you can’t see out of the car, and thus may end up rolling it over, or worse.
    I have no objection to safety equipment, unless it is forced upon me. I do use a seat belt, but I would definitely prefer my steering wheel, door, and seat NOT exploding at me if I bump into something a bit too hard. Rendering the vehicle immediately undrivable, possibly before you quit moving, if not totaled out. And of course the potential of incoming shrapnel. The very most effective safety device is a mostly competent operator.

    • Hi John,

      We were out on my ’83 Honda yesterday – 40 year-old bike! – and on the way home, I just decided to take off the damned helmet; Dawn did as well. We rode free the rest of the way and I was reminded how much more present you are without that damned thing on your head. Not to mention how much more enjoyable it is. I italicize that to accentuate the fact that these busybodies trample everything that’s freeing and fun. They are killjoys as well as control freak assholes.

      • Missouri repealed its helmet law. Still a lot wear them, and that’s cool. Those who don’t certainly look like they are enjoying it more. But then it’s hard to see if someone is with a helmet on.

      • I’ve done many weeks long road trips on the Road King. Here in the West it’s hot in summer, always has been you climate freaks. Anyway going east out of WA, Post Falls ID was our lunch stop and helmet freedom stop. No adult helmet requirements ID, MT, WY, SD. When it’s 95 plus and the air feels like riding inside a hair dryer the last thing you need is a heat soaked sweaty head ruining your clear thinking. Dew rag only (muh hair!) for two weeks was wonderful. And most of all, no visibility limits.

        Here in WA I wear a half helmet, light weight and minimal visibility issues.

      • It’s their Puritan roots, who did literally outlaw fun. The Puritans evolved into Yankees, and the Yankees evolved into progressives, and here we are.

    • Hi John
      I have twice in the last year or so come very, very close to running over pedestrians while making a left turn. The A pillar on my truck is about a foot wide at the bottom, and in both cases, the people were in that spot where I just didn’t see them, even when looking that way. Ridiculous. Be interesting to find out how many people actually died in rollovers versus how many pedestrians have been killed from poor visibility.

    • John, I think my biggest complaint about new cars is the slits that they call windows. At every intersection, I have to sit there and move my head fore and aft literally a couple of feet to see what’s coming. It’s frightening how things can hide behind those fat pillars.
      I need a longer neck.

      • One of several reasons why I loved Miatas. You can see everything with a simple turn of your head. I briefly owned an Impreza, and the visibility was crap. On top of that, I usually adjust my side mirrors so I have to move my head to see the side of the vehicle, which covers for the “blind” spot. The Impreza’s side mirrors would not adjust out that far. After a couple of near misses, I disposed of it.

    • Absolutely agree about the door pillars; on my commute back before I retired there was one intersection with a stop sign that had a utility pole on the corner. With the combination of pole and door pillar you couldn’t see squat until you pulled halfway out into the street, had a few close calls there over the years.

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