I selected this particular "social burden" letter to respond to because in some ways the comments made here are typical. The Author is a newly elected Oregon House Representative who seems like a very nice person and someone who sincerely wants to do a good job down in Salem. She is also a Educator.. someone who presumably has a better education than most and who is probably more adept than average at determining what is and what is not scientific fact. Yet this person parroted off the "Government credo" that states that if Motorcyclists are not commanded to wear helmets, there will be mass carnage on the highways and that "society" is going to have to pick up the tab for this recklessness. Sounds pretty formidable, right? Then one wonders why we aren't seeing headline news stories about Motorcyclist massacres and huge Taxpayer expenditures in the 25 (soon to be 26) States that do not mandate helmet use for Adult Riders. Why indeed. The reason, of course, is that the whole "social burden" theory is just that. A theory and a scam that has been perpetrated on Law Makers by Bureaucrats who's real agenda is to legislate motorcycles right off the road. The first step in this process is to get everyone believing that motorcycles are too dangerous to allow people to ride.... because of the cost to society for injuries sustained on them, of course.. I guess it's true that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will start to believe it. Here's a letter that was written by a very nice woman who's Brother is an experienced Motorcyclist.
At 09:56 AM 12/28/98, Representative Elaine Hopson (D) wrote::
I certainly haven't any such stereotype regarding bikers. However, just like folks in every area (including education) "we" are sometimes our own worst enemy.
Unfortunately, my brother and I differ on mandatory helmet laws - he HATES them, I favor them. I'll bet that's not what you want to hear. I am sure willing to talk, however. I just don't think I should pay for the injuries caused by folks not wearing them - similar to my argument for seat belts.
See you in Salem.
Easyrider (tm) responds:
Ah yes, the "social burden" theory.
I think you need to get thyself an education about motorcycling and about motorcycle helmets.
I'd be interested to know why your Brother hates mandatory helmet laws. If he's been riding for a long time, it could be that he knows that his helmet is a lot more likely to kill him than to do him any good. The Government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to prove that helmets save lives and so far has been woefully unsuccessful. Most of the Government data is posted on my web site, if you are interested in looking at it.
Ms. Hopson... I haven't been fighting mandatory helmet laws for 35 years because the damn things muss up my hair... or because I think I look "cool" without one. I have spent a lot of energy, time and money doing what I do because mandatory helmet laws are killing Motorcyclists...and especially young and inexperienced Motorcyclists who haven't learned to compensate for the impaired vision, hearing and so on that motorcycle helmets cause.
Contrary to popular Government lore, "the cost of injuries caused by unhelmeted riders" are not borne by the Taxpayers. First of all, even the Government admits that helmets are only effective in a narrow band of accident situations. In most accidents, helmets do not effect the survivability outcome at all.
Second, helmets *cause* many, many accidents... some of them fatal. Who do you think bears the financial burden of accident injuries that are *caused* by motorcycle helmets? If you are really concerned about the costs associated with Motorcycling injuries, you ought to get on the train with us and get rid of the mandatory helmet law! Mandatory helmet laws do *NOT* save Taxpayers money... they *COST* Taxpayers money. How many more Motorcyclists have to die before the Legislature figures this out?
If you don't believe that helmets cause accidents, take this test: put on a full face motorcycle helmet and get in your car. Back out of your driveway and, if you don't run anyone over or crash into anything, head downtown and drive in traffic for an hour or two. If you take this simple test, you will know exactly what we have been talking about for the past several decades. You won't be able to see, you won't be able to hear, you won't be able to turn your head as far as you should and your face mask will completely fog up. Does that sound like the attributes of a "safety" device to you? It doesn't to us, either.
Third, there is no evidence whatsoever that Motorcyclists are any more of a "burden to society" than any other segment of the population. Last year, we surveyed every trauma center in Oregon and were unable to find a single Motorcyclists who had been treated at Taxpayer expense. It seems that all of us are carrying insurance. How about that?
Many uninformed people draw a parallel between seat belts and motorcycle helmets. The only thing that they have in common is that their use is required in much of the Country by Government edict. There is no organized movement that I know of to overturn mandatory seat belt laws, and probably with good reason. At least seat belts provide some measure of benefit to the Motorist without compromising his/her ability to operate their vehicle. Not so with motorcycle helmets.
I really wish that the people making the laws would rely on something other than Government propaganda, stereotyping and unfounded opinions when they are casting their votes. As Constituents, we have a right to expect that our elected officials are not going to make any laws that put our lives in peril. This expectation has not been met with regard to mandatory helmet laws. There is a very good reason why these laws are being repealed throughout America - THEY DON'T SAVE ANY LIVES!!!!
Please feel free to look over the facts and statistics on my web site regarding motorcycle helmet effectiveness. If you keep an open mind, I think you will be surprised to learn that you are on the wrong side of this issue.
Again, thank you very much for the opportunity to present the safety side of our argument. I look forward to working with you in Salem.
Click HERE to chat with Marc Abrams, Democratic Party of Oregon Chair. Note that I have had several conversations with Mr. Abrams and that he has always said that he supports our right to choose. The problem is *NOT* with Mr. Abrams but with many in his Party.
For more information
about the "effectiveness" of helmet laws, Click HERE
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