mandatory helmet and seat belt laws

Where should the line between’ individual freedom’ and the ‘public good’ be drawn? Is it hypocritical to support seat belt laws, but oppose helmet laws? If most head injuries occur in the home, should people be forced to wear head protection while in the shower? Speak out now, or forever hold your peace (or piece, if that’s your thing).

113 thoughts on “mandatory helmet and seat belt laws

  1. if we didn't have pooled health care facilities, and rules on shared resources like emergency rooms that are required to take you if you split your head, then that would be one thing. In that hypothetical case, go right ahead and ride your Harley buck naked if that suites ya.

    But if its going to lean on either my tax contribution, or my benefit cost, then please take your dance with the grim reaper up to Canada, please.

    1. I hate mandatory helmet laws and seat belt laws. If the government didn't make us all pay for the bills that others won't pay, we wouldn't have these laws.
      I wore a seat belt long before there was a law because it made sense to protect myself. Same with the helmet laws. When I first started riding there were no helmet laws, but you never saw me get on a motorcycle without one.

      Personally, I see these laws as diluting the gene pool. Those that were so stupid as to not protect themselves would die, leaving a more intelligent pool of genes.

        1. I know this will sound funny but I have always felt that the parents should be responsible for their kids, not the government.
          I don't like the mandatory helmet laws for kids on bikes or skateboards either.

          I'm really big on personal responsibility.

            1. Neighbors, friends, family, your church, yes they should all step in when you see obvious danger to a child. But I don't think the government has the right to tell you should or should do with your kid.

              1. in a democracy, the government represents the people, is elected by the people, reflects the will of the people… and (arguably) IS the people.

                So, why shouldn't the community step in the way an organized community can most effectively step in… via government?

                1. Democracy elected Adolf Hitler. I know you've heard this before, but we live in a Republic. It's not perfect, but it's better than a democracy.

                  Yes, in many states there are laws requiring helmet use, but it's my right to try to convince people to vote for those who would repeal these laws, and instead require each individual to take responsibility for their actions.

                    1. Yes, the difference being that democracy is based on the will of the majority, and a republic is based on the rule of law. It's a subtle and nuanced difference, but it's real, nonetheless.

                      Have to go. We'll continue later.

                    2. Respectfully disagree. For one, there is no subtle and nuanced difference… these are very different concepts. its like describing the shape and the color of something. a shape and a color are very different concepts. you can have a orange circle. Saying something is orange does not in any way conflict with it being a circle.

                      likewise, we couldn't successfully support our democratic processes if we did not first establish and maintain the rule of law. those two concepts generally complement each other, and that's what we have here.

                      There are occasional instances were the people vote in something un-constitutional, and that's when our republic-ness trumps "pure democracy". But pure democracy is a very impractical and undesirable thing anyway. Who has time to vote for every damn little thing?! Delegation is power.

                    3. Touché. Hung by my own petard, as it were. I usually reserve the 'subtle and nuanced' line for that crowd, both left and right, that has a difficult time understanding the difference without making them feel bad. Ok, if I'm going to be completely honest I just use that line on people on the right, the lefties I usually just call 'idiots,' but I really am trying to mellow out some.

                      This conversation is heading in a direction that may be best suited for a thread of its own. The electoral college. The 17th Amendment. The Constitution being a 'living document' ONLY through the amendment process, and not through judicial activism, which we see happening more and more.

                      At least helmet laws are still a states rights issue. And the fact that some people may not take personal responsibility for their actions is no reason to take personal freedoms away from all. Back when I used to protest in Sacramento, our motto was 'Educate, Don't Legislate.' Some other interesting facts I remember from past studies, and although the numbers are from memory, I think they're pretty close.

                      Percentage of all motorcycle accidents involving riders with one years experience or less and not having taken a riders training course: 90%
                      Percentage of all motorcycle accidents involving riders with no endorsement: 50%
                      I can't remember the numbers with regard to drugs and alcohol playing a part, but I'd bet it's at least a third.

                    4. for whatever the heck it maybe worth, I accidentally did a TD. I meant a TU.

                      back to the helmet issue… I sensed you were going to go back to stats. dang those undeniable FACTS.

                      see my comment just down and to the left of this one on my basic thing regarding this. I'm libertarian-inclined here. But I don't want to pay for someone else's negligence.

                      and you may have stats that effectively make the case that the cost impact to insurers and emergency rooms is negligible, so maybe my concern there is satisfied.

                      so if that's all the case I say… LEGALIZED IT!

                    5. No problem. If I cared about thumbdowns I would have started a new account for those times I visited Wonkette. My personal record was in the neighborhood of -80 for a Keith Olbermann joke I told. Hey, I thought it was funny. : )

                      Yeah, once I saw an article in Easyriders (back when it was good) that listed the percentage of the federal and states budgets (for 1980? '81?) that went toward all motorcycle accidents where the insurance was insufficient or nonexistent. I remember it was peanuts, but since it wasn't an official study, just someone picking numbers from a spreadsheet, and since it didn't differentiate between helmeted and non-helmeted riders, I can't give it much credence. An official study of this sort would be a good indicator.

                      One stat that the pro helmet law people throw out is the reduction in fatalities seen in states immediately after the passage of helmet laws, but that can be explained. Usually, the number of registered motorcycles goes down, and many riders take their vacation out of state, or out of state vacationers STAY out of state. I remember seeing where once the number of registered bikes goes back up, the fatalities go back to their pre-law numbers as well.

                      I remember yet another study that claimed the number of accidents went up for every 100,000 miles ridden after helmet laws were passed, but I don't know how they verified those numbers so I probably couldn't use this as a reliable source.

                    6. Can I ask you something? (sure Lips, ask me anything) Are you against wearing a helmet for safety reasons? For political reasons? Or, because you just don't like to? (almost done) And, do you wear one? If so, do you do it because it's the law?

                    7. It depends on the circumstances. I always wore a helmet riding a dirt bike, and when I started riding street bikes, I wore them as well. One summer day when I lived in eastern Washington I was really hot, and took the helmet off, and it was like a whole new experience. There for awhile I sometimes used one, and sometimes didn't, but I started having close calls on the times I wore the helmet. Car drivers not giving me much room was the most frequent problem, and the closest call was one time while entering the freeway a wasp got sucked up inside my face shield and helmet. Just thinking about that still gives me the willies.

                      Also, on long rides, the added weight of the helmet would make my neck ache and my head hurt. Unless your bike has a windshield or fairing, the extra size of the helmet catching wind puts a lot of strain on your neck and upper back. When they passed the law in Washington I wore a DOT helmet. Then I moved to California, and damned if they didn't pass a helmet law too. But then I started wearing something like this … http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oGkke7Xj9PsjAAsa

                      They're illegal, but so many people in California were wearing them and fighting the tickets in court that judges started to refuse to hear the cases, so unless you were breaking some other law, law enforcement wouldn't even look twice, as long as you had something on your head.

                      If it's raining or really cold I wear a DOT approved open faced helmet with a snap on face shield. It helps if you use Rain-X on the outside of the shield, and some kind of defogging agent on the inside surface. Mostly, it's a personal choice, and I'd never try to talk anyone into NOT wearing a helmet. Except under some extreme weather conditions, I have a better overall time without one.

                    8. You're going to think I'm hitting on you if I keep agreeing with you. But, at least there's evidence in my comment below (posted hours ago), that for the most part, follows the same mindset. Only pertaining to seat belts. I know when I should wear one. And I know when I'm better not to. People tell me all the time, when I'm driving at excessive speeds in the hills above Arlington, that that's when I should be wearing one. But, it restricts my movement when I'm taking tight corners, and shifting, using my e-brake, etc. I'm in the plains and can see for miles, on smooth roads. And whereas your neck hurts from the helmet, I'm getting choked out from the seat belt. It's already been established that I'm just over five feet, and I refuse to use a booster seat (lol). A shoulder strap to most is a headband to me.

                      Then there's the legality.. I get/got/alwayswas tired of the law being up my ass for stupid shit. I rationalize it by being able to afford the ticket, cash wise and record wise. I'm over insured, so no one will need to pay for my reconstruction or my funeral.

                      But the bee thing.. terrified of them. Point a gun at me, swing an axe, just don't threaten to open that tiny jar of bees. Yeah, that afraid of em. lol

                    9. You mean you're NOT hitting on me? (sniff, pout) : (

                      Heheh

                      Yeah, I saw that comment, and you're right, each of us is different and should know what is best for us at any given time. At least those of us who have had some experience in our lives. I don't like the people making poor decisions being the ones used as examples by those who write our laws. I've made plenty of bad choices and every time have paid the price of those choices myself, and you know what? I tend not to make the same mistake twice. Now, if someone else had paid the price of my mistakes, there's a chance I'd keep making the same ones over and over.

                      Hey, it's late and I really need to hit the sack. Talk to you later. I want to know more about that '69 Chevy.

                      Sweet dreams.

                    10. Mine turned out to be cry-baby sniffles. I never ended up sick, which is pretty typical for me. Glad you're doing better. We had a great time. Walked out to the tip or Oregon. Than four wheeled out to the tip of Oregon. Camp grub, cold beer, warm fire and good company. I slept ten hours both nights. That's double my average.

                    11. Yeah, he joined me in his hippie bus. Two days of listening to me sing. lol. He's a camp gremlin. He turned my fridge on high and froze my tossed green salad, just so he wouldn't have to eat veggies for dinner. He'll deny it though.

                    12. Well hello. I would ask how your trip went, but it looks like you've summed it up pretty well already. Glad you had a good time.

                      Did you walk out to the end of the jetty? I've never been on the south side, but the north side used to (maybe still does) have a huge flat boulder at the very end, about 25 feet from the next big, above water boulder. When the conditions are right, breakers will hit the flat boulder and launch waves onto anyone dumb enough (no further comment) to be standing out there on the end.

                    13. The two that look like a small section of Stonehenge? No. Never been near them. ; ) Jetty slime, high winds and Session made it a challenge to stand upright on the north end. Launching waves were just an additional obstacle.

                      Hopefully you stayed out of trouble and got your homework done.

                    14. Yes, it's beautiful. Also to ride the go-carts and horses. Which both have a comparable top speed. Too slow.

                    15. Go-carts, yes, horses,no. When I was about 7 or 8 I had a cousin killed while ridding a horse. She was a couple of years older than me, and I had a little boy's crush on her, which made it all the worse. That's why I like bikes, they don't panic and run when you've fallen off and your boot is hung up on a footpeg.

                      My daughter has a friend whose parents used to have a couple of horses down in Cali. It used to worry me silly every time she went out riding with her friend, but she'd grown up around motorcycles and I wasn't about to stop her from having fun. I did wear out a couple of pairs of boot heels pacing the floor till she came back, though.

                    16. Horses do have a mind of their own. Especially trail horses, which means you have to take the upper hand with them, and I hate doing that. It's been years since I've been anywhere but the back of a bike, but there's no doubt about who's boss, and they don't fart.

                      You have a daughter? Nice.

                    17. Yup. She'll be 19 in April. She lived up here with me for awhile, but then started missing her friends in Cali. Too bad, her and I get along very well, but her and her mother fight like cats and dogs. Go figure.

                      I saw where you have, a daughter and two sons, was it? I hope you get along with them and are able to see them as often as you like.

                    18. I do. My entire family is within ten miles of each other. My parents, brothers, nephews, nieces.. My daughter is my youngest. She'll be 21 in October. Everyone is out of the house. Whew! So if your daughter is 19, then your are.. not going to tell, huh?

                    19. Remember? I just had my 14th 39th birthday? I think that adds up to 53, right? February 13th (yup, it was a Friday) 1959.

                      It's nice to hear that your family is close by. So many families these days are so far apart.

                    20. Crap, you didn't expect me to do the math and get it right, did you? I was close. Anyway, I like that. I think older parents are better parents, and I highly recommend it. And don't think things get passed me. I know the metaphor behind your ''crutches'' comment. For me, I'm so hyper, sometimes I need to walk slower, to enjoy it longer.

                    21. Hey, I'm not judgmental (at least where recreational drugs and alcohol are concerned), I was only speaking for myself. In fact I've had it out with more than a couple of my Breibart allies when it comes to the legalization of pot and decriminalizing other drugs.

                      If pot were legalized and regulated, like alcohol, it would be harder for minors to get their hands on it. To get alcohol, kids need an adults help or inattention.

                      To get pot, they just need a few bucks and to take a walk in just about any park or shopping mall.

                    22. I didn't think you were judgmental. Not in the least. So, I tried to google the meaning of your handle. You need to help me out, cause la-di-da, is all that pops up, and it really doesn't fit. But I might have to use it if you ever get full of yourself. 😉

                    23. Heheh. I tried to think of something clever to say about 'getting full of myself,' but I'm stumped.

                      HEY! That works! Did you every read the Stephen King short story about the doctor marooned on a tiny island with nothing but a bag of heroin? He ended up 'stumped' too. :p

                      My handle was the first thing I learned after boot camp, at my advanced training post. It's Morse code. di da stands for the letter 'A' (alpha, in Army speak), da di di dit stands for 'B', and so on. So much for my military experience leading to a civilian job. : )

                    24. He did end up stumped, but he didn't go hungry.. Ugh… Have you read the unedited ''Trapped'', by Jack Kilborn?

                      Very interesting on the handle. I've never learned much code. I like writing runes, and can speak and write ''robbers talk''. Both useless. So, what was your military training.? If you can fit it here, we're getting pretty skinny.

                    25. Oh look… Griz removed the thumbs down function. Now if that's not an old hippie move, I don't know what is. We're all winners now, baby. lol

                    26. Thats cause he who will not be named had all his cronies coming here to do nothing but DT us all regardless of post content..

                      I find it hilarious! Been laughing bout it! Spoiled their fun!

                    27. Your comment about the wasp reminded me of something I saw on a road trip. While traveling from Great Basin National Park to Winnemucca a group of motorcycles passed us. It was about then I noticed our windshield was being hit by an inordinate number of bugs. It didn't take long to see where these bugs that now covered the windshield were coming from as I passed a truck that was hauling bee hives.

                      I caught up to the cycle riders at a service station in Ely, where they were cleaning helmets and bikes of the honeybee carnage. I just can't imagine the pelting they took riding through it.

                    28. Doing well. And, you?

                      I saw the forum here and watched where Griz was looking to take it. Hopefully, it was okay for me to interpose myself in the discussion.

                      If not, mea culpa, and I apologize for jumping in without an invitation.

                    29. Thanks, Lips. I was asked once what Saltire means, it is a St Andrews cross and the national flag of Scotland. I have a Scottish heritage. Hence, my avatar.

                    30. Nice. I've often wondered. Yeah, this site is a nice break from the same old stories and comments that run week to week on the local site. It's like a soap opera there, if you miss this weeks gang shooting, or officer involved, you can tune in next week for an encore.

                    31. Or, last night's or today's gang related shootings and a girl sharpening a machete on MAX. Life is getting curious-er and curious-er.

                    32. If I may jump in (sure, what's up?) I have been on bikes since my dad put me on the tank of his Harley when I was three and we headed up the east coast to Maine from Georgia. I don't like the government telling me what I should (must) do. I would wear a helmet in most cases anyway, but it should be my choice.

                    33. okay di da, so on one hand I think we are well covered on the question of the practical virtue (or lack thereof) the helmet laws, which negates the socially distributed cost question. Because in practice, it seems there is no change in the stats.

                      but on the other hand, we're doing a disservice to a greater aspect of this, more to the core of libertarian philosophy, by only looking at it through that practical lens.

                      Say for example: there was a significant difference in the stats… like with seat belt laws, or we could even talk about this in terms of SMOKING.

                      so- what then? Should our society embrace freedom so much so that we are free to harm ourselves to any degree with like… even if in doing so, others have to pick up some of the tab??

                      This question has far reaching implications in this era of health care crises, sky rocketing obesity, suicidal aids-spreading parties, and on and on.

                    34. Coggy, you're starting to dip into this again.
                      84 weeks ago @ Big Hollywood – Democrats — Why so Un… · 1 reply · 0 points
                      I don't post over at Kos and I never did. I am easily bored by "mutual agreement societies". If I felt the way you guys do about issues… my interest in these discussions would go for about 5 seconds.

                      clearly, I'm argumentative and take pleasure in being the ants at somebody's picknick / rain on someone's parade. maybe there IS something wrong with me, in that, but I don't care. The way I see it- its a free country. Moreover, I value the "Socratic method". That may sound pretentious – implying that I'm here to offer "constructive" criticism. If I manage to do that then that's great, but I don't expect to be acknowledged.

                    35. Are you suggesting we ban smoking? I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I interpret your post as saying, "is there a point when we need mandatory condom laws? To ban certain foods and behaviors?"

                      As much as I hate to say it, I'd rather be forced to pay for the mistakes of others than to have my freedom limited in order to prevent people from making those mistakes. And who's to say people won't continue to make those mistakes in violation of the law, and I'm hit with the double whammy, both financial responsibility for others, and a loss of freedom?

                      That may not be much of an answer, but it's the best I can do at the moment. I think we can all agree that education (which starts at home, leading by example) is key. Not just educating our youth about the dangers of certain behavior, but also about the necessity of accepting personal responsibility if you want to continue to live in a free society. I keep thinking of the movies 'I, Robot,' and 'Colossus: the Forbin Project,' in which the human race is enslaved for our own good by a 'superior intelligence.' All I have to say to that is, "Never."

                    36. No, that's a fine response.

                      I am not saying we should ban smoking. However, that IS the logical conclusion to a simplistic approach that the left is caricatured as having. (paternalistic "food nazis" etc.)

                      but I have a simple broad view on social fairness here, and this cuts to the core on my views on the environment too.

                      morally speaking, we should not harm others. one individuals actions, should not negatively impact others, including in one of our most sensitive regions: Our wallets. (Or our common air and water.)

                      IF your smoking impacts MY hospital's budget and etc, then the way I see it: there are two options:
                      1. Ban smoking. (Which I do not agree with.)
                      2. Allow you the freedom to smoke, provided the overall system of your freedom doesn't impact people like me who don't smoke. Why should I pay for your cancer treatments when you smoke?!

                      SO: Cigarette taxes should cover the health care costs that the smoking industry contributes to.

                      That's the moral thing to do.

                      If that is unacceptable, then sure ban smoking. But I think we SHOULD have the freedom to smoke, as long as we are each willing to pay for the SOCIALIZED cost of that freedom.

                      Ditto for polluting the environment, seat belt laws, etc.

                      (Sorry if it is confusing to conflate this with environmental stuff, but I see it all identically, and I'm trying to buttress the logic of my point here.)

                    37. My biggest beef with cigarette taxes, hell, ALL taxes, is that they never seem to go where they're supposed to go. Yeah, if all the taxes collected on cigarettes went strictly toward covering the societal cost of smoking, that would be a good thing. Too often, it seems, state governments attempt to use an increase in cigarette taxes to cover gaps in the state budget, then can't figure out why the money collected always falls far short of their projections. Ha.

                      On paper, though, that would be the logical option. An increase in smoking would equal an increase in money to cover the cost of that increase in smoking, and if fewer people smoke, he reduction in tax revenue would be compensated by a reduction in smoking related health issues.

                      A couple more topics for future discussions might be; a) how to bring the overall cost of health care down, and; b) the environment.

                    38. Di da,
                      Sorry the lag in response. I've been thinking about your comment here this weekend.

                      At this point I'm conflicted.

                      "My biggest beef with cigarette taxes, hell, ALL taxes, is that they never seem to go where they're supposed to go. "

                      on the one hand, it seems that we'd be better off to push for a governmental "ethos" of steadfastly making sure that this doesn't occur. e.g. when the logic I put forth above (we SHOULD have the freedom to smoke, as long as we are each willing to pay for the SOCIALIZED cost of that freedom) is governmentally implemented, then as a society we make damn well sure that the system is carried out as promised.

                      e.g. gas tax goes to roads. cigarette tax goes to health and PSAs. etc. etc.

                      we are not perfect at this, but maybe we just need to embrace the challenge of getting better at this.

                      So what's the problem with that? Well, I see one. As a California resident, I am familiar with the "constitutional crisis" we are continuing to have here. We have so much "direct democracy" that our politicians hands are tied. A lot of people say: "GOOD! I don't want to give too much latitude to our elected representatives. I want to tie their hands! I want to make sure that the lottery revenue stays into schools, etc."

                      But I think you live in CA too, and know that this isn't working out for us so well, especially with the constant effort to balance the budget.

                      So I honestly just don't know. IMHO, the "jury is still out".

                      anyway, I do want to also add that, it seems we agreed pretty well on how things ought to work… we are just short of a good way on how to do it, since its not hard to point to the inconsistent effectiveness of government here.

                      I wonder how much more we might agree on, and see that the only diverging point comes down to what we think is or isn't possible for the government to manage to do effectively.

                    39. Some states with partial helmet laws have covered this as well. It goes something like this; you must be over 18, have a minimum of two years with a motorcycle license, and have a minimum of $xxxxxxx medical coverage as part of your motorcycle insurance, to be legal to ride without a helmet. In some of the states you can't even get motorcycle insurance without medical coverage.

                    40. We are guaranteed liberty in this country. Something that other countries don't have.
                      A simple little verbal visual:
                      A Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
                      Liberty is a well armed lamb, contesting the vote.

                      Democracy is mob rule. Even if we see it as such right now, we can change the direction of our country with one election. Our problem is, the voters who get from the government, almost out number those that support them. Is mob rule something we want? Because we are close to getting it.

                    41. FS, I was disappointed to read your posts on the subject today for a couple of reasons.

                      1. Your points here about "democracy" vs. "republic" are not noticeably different than what I've read and heard very often on right wing boards and radio.

                      2. I feel that I've already "dealt" with the familiar points your are making. Sorry to be negative in response, or prideful in where I'm coming from, but because Di Da already said what you said, and I addressed those points already, and (unless I'm missing something) you do not seem to be picking up on the counters I've already expressed, well, this just doesn't appear to be "good form".

                      I don't like to copy and paste what I've already said here and sound like a broken record. I hope you can understand.

                      anyway, I encourage you to consider this positively and I invite you to continue to weigh in on the topic.
                      Thanks

                    42. I understand that you view our country as a democracy, and in recent years, because of the lazy attitude of our voters, we have traveled that direction. Our way of government originally set up has all but disappeared with people voting for what they can get for free from others, not what is good for the country on a whole.

                      A prime example of not being a democracy is in WA this year. Where no matter what I think, I will not be allowed a vote in the primary. Why? Because the system was set up that I could vote for someone to represent me to make that decision. Unfortunately, with all of the wrangling of districts and boundaries, pretty much only king county gets any say. No matter what the popular vote is, our representatives will throw in with the candidate who gives them the most goodies. That is NOT a democracy. Perhaps at some of the lower levels it is, like in Clark County, where public employees and their families out number private employees. No matter how many times we try to stop levies and new taxes, they seem to sail right on through. I have yet to speak to anyone in my area who has voted for more taxes, yet for some reason they seem to pass every time. Small portions of mob rule, who benefit from the hard work of others, tend to control these local elections.
                      Sad but true.
                      Today is a federal holiday. Traffic has about 1/3 of what it normally is on a regular work day. That alone says a lot to me. We have way too many people living off the taxes of a few.

                    43. FS, much better comment. I get a palpable understanding of why you feel this way about our lack of democracy / problem with too much democracy.

                      sounds like you believe in this thing that Alexander Tytler supposedly said: "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy."

                      there is a truthful warning in this notion, but I do not see this as a rule.

                      As for another thing you said in your comment, how we head more and more toward democracy in recent years, I think that, yes, we have become more democratic since the founding in the following ways:
                      * voting citizens need not be landowners
                      * voting citizens need not be white and need not be male
                      * voting citizens need not pay a "poll tax" in order to vote, or jump through other prohibitive hoops in order to vote.
                      * state citizens have direct election of their US senators, instead of selection by an elite.

                      So for these above reasons, we are more democratic. I expect we will continue to be more and more democratic as liberty prevails. But this is not a linear process.

                      You point to the anti-democratic processes of the primary. Well, sorry to be technical and lawyerly, but primary processes are for political parties, not the country. And if you study the history of the primary process, it is extremely elitist. Since the 1970s they've tried to reform it to better align with public sentiment, but it was not designed to be democratic.

                      Also: As any Ron Paul fan will tell you, the Founding Fathers warned us about "foreign entanglements". They also warned us about the dangers of political parties.

                      “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
                      – GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address, September 17, 1796

                      They also were concerned about "mob rule". What's funny about your comment though, is that you say "small portions of mob rule". Sorry but that doesn't strike me as mob rule*. There are problems with mob rule and that's why we have Constitutional protections of the individual and why we are a republic and not a "pure democracy". So, fine. But you cannot really have a mob rule without a mob, and a mob – as the Founding Fathers meant – is a majority. Not something that comes in "small portions".

                      (*I assume you didn't mean like, mob aka mafia rule. That's different than, mob aka a big group of people mob rule.)

                      Anyway, I do agree with you that our democracy is under threat, but for a different reason than you would probably point out: Corporate Personhood.

                      Here's another warning our Founding Fathers gave us:

                      "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
                      Thomas Jefferson

                      p.s. I had today off, and I definitely do not work for the government. Plenty of private companies give today off.

                    44. Stick with it. The country is a republic and needs to remain such. It is a republic that is unprecedented in history.

                      "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." – Alexis de Tocqueville.

                      I think we may have come to that point.

                    45. The difference between a democracy and a republic …..

                      "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury."
                      Alexander Tytler

                      You may be right, but let's hope we're not there yet.

                    46. Yeah, we settled this. Just conversing with someone new. I haven't been ignoring your latest post to me, a ways up the thread. I just haven't had time to really think through a good answer. The tying of politician's hands with regards to how taxes are spent is similar to tying judge's hands with three strikes laws. Bad politicians and bad judges, constantly making bad decisions are leading to the public throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

                    47. its all good. I'm feeling like a hostile sniper these days when it comes to certain tropes that float around on the rightwing blogosphere.

                      In the same manner I'm sure many feel toward tropes that are common on left wing places (no really, there are some!)… I am willing to discuss the notion, but I implore the adherent to be prepared to back the thing up with some thought out muscle.

                    48. Good quote. Here are a couple of more you might file away for future use.

                      "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties." – Abraham Lincoln.

                      Theodore Roosevelt, "The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight."

                  1. re: helmets, you of course have the free speech right to convince anyone of anything.

                    say we repealed those laws. would people truly take responsibility?

                    Or would the tax payers and insurance companies wind up having to pay more for the resulting injuries?

                    1. It's not a question of if they want to take responsibility.

                      Reality is that if society doesn't force them, won't cover for them, then they are faced with the consequences whether they like it or not.

                    2. Shouldn't someone, riding without a helmet, be paying a higher premium for insurance than say someone who does not even drive?

                      When did we become the nation where everyone else covers the costs of our decisions?

                      And although riding without a helmet may cause more death by head injuries, helmets may have caused an increase in brain injuries requiring long term care. It was not really a viable trade off.
                      The professional racers know the benefit of helmets and other protective gear and at the same time, they also learn how to crash, which increases their survival almost as much as the helmet does.

                      We started off road. We never road anywhere (besides around the campground) without a helmet. When one of the neighbors knocked out all of their front teeth, we went to full face, which are great off road. My personal opinion is on road, they limit your line of sight and your ability to hear.

                      With everything there is a drawback, and people should be allowed to make their own choice. However this can only happen if the government quits forcing the rest of us to pay for their decisions.

                    3. "Shouldn't someone, riding without a helmet, be paying a higher premium for insurance than say someone who does not even drive? "

                      Then getting insurance will become as complicated as the tax code, "How often do you ride? Where do you ride? do you take passengers?" etc.

                      And, like it or not, the reasoning behind it is, you are not being forced to pay for others insurance. You opt to become part of an insurance collective, voluntarily taking on the burden of others so that one day when you need it they will take on yours.

                    4. Insurance companies rate people now. Some refuse to offer insurance to smokers. Some will give you a better rate if you work out 2 or 3 days a week.
                      Personally, I am totally screwing with their pigeon holes. I ride, I smoke, I work out 3 to 4 days a week. I have very low blood pressure, no family history of any life threatening disease, not obese…
                      I have my own disability insurance, my own life insurance, the best policy available for auto and bike insurance.
                      When I go down, I will be covered and I will have already paid in, way more than I will ever take out of the insurance pool. I also have a living will and a DNR.
                      BTW I said when because there are only two groups of bikers; Those that will go down and those that will go down again.

                    5. I don't know about that last statement, I've know people who have ridden for 50 plus years and never taken a dive. But there were a lot less cagers on the roads 50 years ago too. I live in the rural mountains, and hate going into the city. As long as I am in the mountains, I have no fear of the road or the people I share them with, in the city I get overwhelmed with the idiots around me.

                2. CD, our country is not a democracy. Yes for years the schools said it was, the politicians said it was but it is not and never has been. It is a Republic.

                  And anything your neighbor can do, your government will do for ten times the price.

                  I grew up when neighbors helped one another. We didn't turn to the government for help. It's called being self sufficient. You didn't do anything within sight of your neighbors that you wouldn't do in front of your parents. You knew they would find out before you even got home.

    2. No, I'd never ride buck naked. Most motorcycle injuries are foot and leg injuries. On the other hand, I'd never ride a dirt bike WITHOUT a helmet, if you're not crashing occasionally on a dirt bike, you're not having fun. I used to have hard copy of several studies, and I'm still trying to find those studies on the web. I can't remember the exact numbers, but they were along the line of ….. percentage of head injury that was fatal in and of itself in all motorcycle fatalities was about 25%, while in auto deaths it was about 50%. The majority of motorcycle fatalities were caused by chest injury, about 50% .

      In order to justify a mandatory helmet law bill in the legislature, the state of Arkansas did a study in 1978 or '79, in which they compared the percentage of head injuries that were in and of themselves fatal between helmeted and un-helmeted riders who were killed. The percentage of helmeted riders suffering a fatal head injury was slightly HIGHER ( something like 27.8% compared to 26.3%) than the un-helmeted riders. The state then passed a mandatory law anyway.

      I'll keep looking for confirming links, but I have a lot of studying to do this weekend. I'll find something by next weekend, fer shur.

      1. I've always wondered why cagers aren't required to wear helmet, especially in convertibles? There are far more head injuries in auto wrecks than motorcycle wrecks.

    3. What should we outlaw next? Climbing trees. You could fall and cost the tax payer money. Or maybe just have our kids in Michelin man outfits so they never get hurt.

      I survived a childhood where we rode bikes wearing nothing but a pair of shorts, climbed hills holding on by our fingertips, and stayed in the woods all day without adult supervision. I didn't start getting hurt and having to go to the hospital until after I started working full time. Ooo, maybe that is what we should outlaw! J/K (being funny, not mean)

      1. Eyes-
        speaking in terms of argument-quality, your point is more emotional than particularly elucidating.

        insurance companies take into account whether people have kids or not. And all kids generally engage in a certain amount of unsafe behavior, across the board.

        That is not the same as with adults, where there are just some who smoke, or are obese. The obesity epidemic already has a noticable effect on our general health care costs, and its only going to get worse.

        And also: I don't think anyone here actually said "outlaw" anything. So let's be clear about that too please.

        1. No, I was being extreme. My real point was that the more we allow government to mandate our behavior, the further the government will seep into our lives. They are already telling parents what their kids MUST bring to school for lunch. How far are we willing to let it go?

          1. Eyes,

            Good question: How far are we willing to let it go?

            So you know, I SUPPORT our recent new thinking on making sure our children get healthy lunches.

            I don't want foot health care premiums (or taxes) in order to serve the OBESITY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, okay?

            So please allow me to transpose your important question into a question of morality.

            What is the limit we should allow government to go to, in order to prevent one person's freedoms and livelihood from hurting another person's?

              1. I haven't seen anything ever to lead me to believe that we cannot have good government when an involved and animated people show that they care about having good government.

                Is government going to be a good thing when its left alone and the people look the other way? No.

                but that's not the only option.

                1. At what point do we throw out personal responsibility in favor of a nanny state?

                  "What is the limit we should allow government to go to, in order to prevent one person's freedoms and livelihood from hurting another person's?"
                  How is school lunch Nazi's going to help?

                  How is a mandatory helmet law protecting you from me?

                  Whether or not I protect myself, and what I fix for my kids to eat should be up to me, not the government. They have proven over and over that when allowed to make decisions, beyond the very limited scope that was originally intended, the government usually gets it wrong. Case in point, for 40 years the FDA has required that schools teach the "food pyramid" as the proper nutritional guide, now they have admitted that it is all wrong and have revised it. They were "requiring" way to much bread and cereal. Isn't it interesting that the FDA was getting a lot of its funding from the dept of agriculture, which had a vested interest in increasing the consumption of grain. Now the D of A has pulled back it's funding and grain suddenly isn't as good or necessary as it once was.

                  Politicians are all about lining their own pockets, so you can't trust them to make the right decisions, only the profitable ones. And if the kid next door gets fat, that isn't my business or my problem. And if I bust my head open, it is on me, not you, that's why I carry insurance. Neither my health insurance nor my bike insurance premiums change if I wear a helmet or not, so they obviously don't care either.

                  1. I have not checked the US Code recently, but 20 years ago, it still said that if a state required persons over 18 (maybe 21) to wear  a helmet when riding a motorcycle, they they were to forfeit a percentage of their federal highway funding.I wonder how we citizens make sure that our respective states are being properly penalized. Of course we want our state to get all of it's funding, so we should urge our representatives to make sure that adults have the choice to ride free if they like.

                    1. Really?! I did not know this. I have always looked at the helmet laws as a state issue, never knew anything about the federal government "clauses". I will have to check into this. If you happen to find a link to some information, please let me know.

  2. Wow, this subject is right in my wheelhouse. I wonder who thought it up?

    First ……
    "Researcher Ian Walker equipped his bike with a precise sensor that measured exactly how much room British drivers gave him when they passed. After tracking thousands of motorists, he was able to make an astonishing claim: when he was wearing a helmet, drivers gave him significantly less room on the road — over 8 centimeters less."
    http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oGklOB3z5PvmMAEs

    I've noticed this myself over the years. Also, wearing a helmet gives one a sense of false security, and they become more willing to take chances. Many more head injuries are received in car accidents, even with seat belts and air bags, so why not require car drivers and passengers to wear helmets? I believe it's illegal to wear a helmet while driving a car in several states.

    As for liability, people need to be responsible for their actions, and if they aren't, they should face the music. Let's not have the government take over the roll of VIKI from the 'I Robot' movie.

  3. I always wear my seat belt when driving around town, long before it was law. My cousin (a medic) convinced me in one sentence..
    ''To date, I've yet to unbuckle a corpse.'' But.. as we all know, I'm a hot rod, fast car kind of girl. I've always owned (and personally maintained) hot rods, and was not afraid to drive them how they were intended to be driven, which was not slow cruises down 82nd Avenue. It's only been over the last few years that I dropped the old muscle cars, and went sports. When I go out to remote roads that I like to drive fast on (I have several), I don't wear my seat belt. They interfere with my performance. I don't think the government should have the right to tell me I have to. Obviously, I don't care, or I wouldn't be breaking speeds in excess of 100, which is against the law as well. It's all about the money, and the revenue they can generate from tickets. They don't care about you, me, or anyone else. I can't get through a day without breaking the law. Since in general, I'm a responsible person, I'd say we have too many laws.

    I did wear my seat belt in my 69 SS fastback Impala, because I had a slick shiny bench seat, and would slide into the passenger side if I didn't. Again, my choice, as it interfered with my performance.

    1. No, I haven't heard of that book, and I'm not sure if I've heard of that author, either. I used to read all kinds of horror, sci-fi, and Tom Clancy military novels, but other than a couple of John Sandford cops and robbers novels, I haven't read much of anything nonfiction for the last few years. Watership Down was the last really good book I read, and that was close to 10 years ago.

      I was an 05-Delta/Hotel in the army. I trained as a Delta, but the crossover is easy and I used to work double shifts for the Hotels for $20 (there's that capitalist in me again). The 05-H would find Soviet signals coming out of Russia or eastern bloc occupied countries and copy down all their chatter. The 05-Ds would latch onto the signal and using a directional finding type of oscilloscope locate the direction the signal was coming from. 05-Ds at other bases would also get directional shots, and then you could triangulate and find out just where the Ruskie was hiding.

      It was tedious work most of the time, working in what amounted to a dark, windowless bunker, but when the Red Army went on maneuvers it could be pretty fun.

      So, who are your favorite authors, and which are your favorite books?

      1. An exciting game of cat and mouse. There's something enticing about hearing what you shouldn't be hearing, and piecing it together to trap your enemy. Usually a dark windowless bunker would be dismal, but under the circumstances, it must have brought some security. I'm glad you came home, and I truly do thank you for your service.

        I read fiction to fall asleep. James Patterson, Patricia Cromwell. Kilborn, but he's so graphic. But I don't keep those books, and barely afford any available memory for them. I collect old books. My favorites are Books of Knowledge. They make me laugh. We really were quite conservative on what we felt out future abilities would be. I find humans interesting. It's so obvious that we aren't natural to this world. lol.

        1. Thank you for your thanks, but I was just a tiny part in a large machine.

          I hate to admit it, but I'm not familiar with any of those authors. Well, I did google Patterson and Cromwell, and I've seen the movies, 'Kiss the Girls,' and 'Along Came a Spider.' They were both pretty good movies, so when I get a chance I'll check out the books. If you like political satire at all, try P.J.O'Rouke.

          I know what you mean about Books of Knowledge, and how they tend to miss the mark. Seems like history gets rewritten every few decades, too.

          I have some other questions, but will have to save them for later. Have a good evening. G'night. : )

          1. Our history isn't the only thing they rewrite, fiction is rewritten too. I have the original Tom Sawyer, the one recently banned because Injun Joe is too insulting to such a sensitive society.

            Morning! Ugh… back to work for me. When I came back within cell range, yesterday, I received several texts from my employees. ''OMG!! You won't believe what happened this weekend. Wait til you hear.'' Never a good sign. lol.

      2. This new advertising feed Griz is running is cracking me up. This page is running your Dot Helmets at half price, and the Christian page has a support group for porn addicts. If I get too bored I can always start posting random crap to see what will pop up. Nobody mention ED.

        Night, Di Da.

  4. OK… Here is my take on the helmet front

    My older sister got into a motor cycle accident while riding as a passenger. She was wearing a 'beanie' helmet that had a snap clasp instead of a buckle. She hit the pavement so hard it snapped the clasp open and her helmet fell off, she bounced and when she landed the second time without her helmet her skull was cracked from back to front. She slide long enough to wear holes in her leather jacket and pants. Amazingly she survived this, it took her over a year to recover enough to come home and the only real side effect she had was that she lost her sense of smell and taste.

    She was wearing a helmet that didn't meet DOT standards as we were told that if her helmet had a buckle she wouldn't of lost her helmet and not had such a serious head injury. I think even though her helmet failed it initially saved her life as it took the brunt of the initial landing, and she was wearing it to be 'legal' as she didn't like wearing them. So in a way the law did save her life.

    1. I am sorry that your sister went through such a terrible event.

      The hoopla over helmets being DOT approved would stop if more people knew what that meant and how they were tested.

      First, the DOT has only two requirements one is the fasteners must be double D rings, the second is that it not break completely in half on impact at 15 miles per hour or less.

      Second, the DOT doesn't have inspectors to go to the companies and test the helmets, or a facility to do the testing themselves, the companies are on the honor system to guarantee that they meet the specs.

      Third, and this is the one that will get you. The DOT prescribed test for the 15 MPH impact is to take the helmet and drop it on a concrete floor from a height of…….6 feet… Yep, just 6 feet of free fall is suppose to simulate a 15 mph crash. I have slung my non-DOT helmet against the wall with 10 times that force and I still wear it today.

      The only visible difference in a DOT and a non-DOT helmet is the 3/4 in think styrofoam that makes them heavier and catch more wind. Even the DOT admits that the foam doesn't improve the impact resistance.

      (jumping off the soap box) "Next"

          1. She was very lucky… even the doctors were surprised. I guess she got up and was walking around at the accident and it took two officers and two paramedics to get her to settle down so they could fly her to Immanuel. They had to shave all her hair off to see the extend of her injury.

    2. I am also glad your sister survived, however the law was not created to save lives, it was created to save money. DOT certified or not, the helmet law did the opposite of what it was intended to do, minimize health care costs.

      Riding without a helmet opens you up to certain dangers that the government felt it could minimize by requiring all to wear a helmet. Then they created standards and paid themselves to enforce them and approve them. In WA, because of the way the helmet law is written, you can not even buy a helmet that meets their requirements as none have ever been produced based on their requirements. That seemed silly at first until I realized that they could make tons of ticket money with their regulations.
      So many people who ride motorcycles didn't have insurance and because the government requires hospitals to provide care regardless of ability to pay, well you can figure out who was behind all of this.
      My personal take on helmets is; Sometimes they will save your life, sometimes they may cause a life altering injury. Not wearing a helmet does the same but you can pretty much bet that if you go down on the road, you will be dead or a vegetable. I have always gone with the better odds, even though many would argue with me. However, many times, people arriving on a motorcycle crash scene cause worse injuries by trying to remove the riders helmet. So laws or not, if you ride, you take a bigger risk of injury or death. The only question is, are the dangers worth it? For me the answer is yes. For others it's no. We are back to personal responsibility.

      1. I was more impressed with the fact that she didn't have a single scratch on her, her leather clothes literally saved her skin. When I visited her the first time when she was in ICU, you couldn't tell she had such a horrible accident. If she didn't have a helmet who knew if she would of survived or had more severe side effects (brain damage) and then need full time care for life at the government's expense as she was not insured.

      2. Speaking of screwy helmet laws, the one in Georgia is a real mess. It seems straight forward enough, unless you are like me and look deeper. The law states that you must have a helmet that is on an approved list, the list was to be compiled by the dept of public safety. When you go to find the list, it doesn't exist. The official stance by the dept is that number one it isn't their responsibility to make a list regardless of what the laws says. Number two, they don't have a constitutional right to produce the list for the state patrol (I don't get that one, but not my call). And number three, they don't have the man power to do the work. This has been going on for over twenty years.

        The Law requires head, eye, and foot protection. So, a cap, goggles and sandals would qualify. I know of several that have gotten out of riding without a helmet tickets by producing these facts and declaring the law void due to vagueness. But the state won't fix it or remove it, so the ABATE fight goes on.

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