Remember that billboard that says “Buckle up, it’s the law.” ? It made me wonder about why the law requires seat belts but does not require helmets for motorcyclists. After some digging, I found that different states have different laws. Utah, my dear home state, only requires them for 17 year olds or younger.
It fits the crowd, I suppose: carefree and individualistic people who want to be free to make their own choices.
There are many websites arguing the various points of the neverending motorcycle helmet controversy. Maybe that’s why each state does something different.
Here’s the benefits to a helmet law:
- Fewer injuries and deaths. It’s reported that in 2012, 15% of highway fatalities were motorcycles (and a 33% increase from previous years)
- Less thefts. A thief isn’t gonna bring their own helmet as they ride away on yours. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, motorcycle thefts in nineteen Texas cities decreased 44% in the two years after Texas legislature enacted a mandatory helmet law.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA, estimates that helmets reduce the likelihood of an accident fatality by 40%.
Course, there’s opposers. Who would say that riders should have the right to choose.
I agree, less laws and more freedom is better. However, should we ignore the fact that helmets are saving lives? Are there enough people who choose to wear them if there is no enforcement to?
Think about it.