In 2014 A Fed Task Force Will Be Pushing Again The US Mandatory Helmet Law

chphelmetsThe director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appointed a federal task force made up of 15 members to recommend that all US states enact mandatory motorcycle helmet laws, regardless of age or experience. Dubbed the Community Preventive Services Task Force, the group offers recommendations to the CDC and provides reports to the U.S. Congress on matters pertaining to community preventative services and policies to improve health.

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has long been an advocate for adult choice laws and suggests that it would be more advantageous to work to prevent motorcycle accidents in the first place than impose laws whose protective/preventative merit is questionable. According to the AMA’s “Position in Support of Voluntary Helmet Use,” the “AMA believes that adults should have the right to voluntarily decide when to wear a helmet…The AMA asserts that helmet use alone is insufficient to ensure a motorcyclist’s safety.”

“The AMA strongly advocates helmet use, but helmet use alone is insufficient to ensure a motorcyclist’s safety,” said Allard. “There is a broad range of measures that can be implemented to improve the skill of motorcycle operators, as well as reduce the frequency of situations where other vehicle operators are the cause of crashes that involve motorcycles.” In its position on voluntary helmet use, the AMA noted that mandatory helmet laws do nothing to prevent crashes.he AMA’s opposition to the proposed recommendation, Allard cited the official AMA position on voluntary helmet use. Your thoughts?

63 Responses to “In 2014 A Fed Task Force Will Be Pushing Again The US Mandatory Helmet Law”

  1. 1 BobS Dec 25th, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I think they should make it mandatory…that cars don’t hit us.

  2. 2 Sardeanie Dec 25th, 2013 at 10:37 am

    How much I being spent on this task force? How much tax payer money exactly? Can we afford an overriding Fed program when we already have States regulating this? Waste! It must go.

  3. 3 Ken Glenn Dec 25th, 2013 at 11:20 am

    This is a produce of “Obama Care”. anything can be listed as a health issue and the feds can step in. Thinking people saw this comming a long time ago.

  4. 4 Mr Dick Dec 25th, 2013 at 11:37 am

    U.S. citizens better watch out. Your country seems to be going the way of Canada, a left wing, big brother, cry -baby state. Once the gov’t. takes something from you, it ain’t coming back. I used to envy you, keep your eyes open. On another note, if you let universal health care come in, kiss your country good-bye, tax on top of tax on top of tax, so that all can have the same care at the expense of the taxpaying 15%, or so.

  5. 5 fuji Dec 25th, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I know I will never say, after an accident, “Thank God I wasn’t wearing a helmet.”

    Not wanting my rights violated? Maturity doesn’t always come with age and the right to vote, but common sense should.

  6. 6 Bludog Dec 25th, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Exactly what disease is the Center seeking to control.

  7. 7 James just another Crazy Kiwi Dec 25th, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    It has been mandatory here since the early 70’s
    Only time I don’t wear one is on funeral rides of which there has been too many recently.
    The Police have always turned the other way on those occasions.

    I am a bit of a nut case (yes really) and I have destroyed a number of helmets (whilst on my ugly head)
    Twice they have definitely saved my life.
    I rode around California a bit in the 80’s and there were no Bees, Wasps, Bumble Bees or enormous fat Blow flies.At least not in the bits I remember any way.
    Another reason to wear one.

    If they were not mandatory I would still wear one. If they had not been mandatory when I was young I would not be here to write this !.

  8. 8 ksw Dec 25th, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    As long as those of you who will blame whom ever is president, government, anyone but yourself when you’re laying in the hospital with massive head injuries and no longer able to support yourself or family for the rest of us wearing helmets to pay your way as a result I don’t care what you do. Just don’t expect everyone else in the world to come to your defense and pay for your own stupidity. I ask all of you to go stand on a a 10′ wall and dive off head first. Good luck with that. I assume you wouldn’t jump out of the back of pick up at speed, would you? Oh, yes that’s right it’s your choice and your choice to then pay out of your own pocket for your actions. Stupid is what stupid does is always the answer to this debate.

  9. 9 Stephen Dec 25th, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Every other developed country have helmet laws, get over it. There is no shame in acknowledging that if you come off your bike that you are likely to get hurt and because you are likely to get hurt protecting yourself as much as you can by wearing all the protective gear (boots, gloves, helmet, jacket and pants).

  10. 10 Dec 25th, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    The issue for me is being told to wear a hat by the government. All they need to do is to leave me alone.

  11. 11 SIGFREED Dec 25th, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Remember the infamous words from Easy Rider..,


    George Hanson: They’re not scared of you. They’re scared of what you represent to ’em.

    Billy: Hey, man. All we represent to them, is somebody who needs a haircut.

    George Hanson: Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom.


    There is hardly a greater expression of individual freedom than riding a motorcycle without a helmet.

    It is arguably the last of the great freedoms that is left – lose it and it will be one step closer to losing the right to private property. What will be next though, lose the right to modify your vehicle, lose the right to roam, etc.

    The choice to omit head-protection does not pose a threat to anyone other than the individual than makes the choice – such a choice is an absolute.

    Some may argue that the helmet law employs the same reasoning as seat-belt laws – it is nothing of the sort. Very briefly: seat belts protect the driver/passengers from the artificial container that is a direct consequence of its use – a bit like turbulence in a plane.

  12. 12 James just another Crazy Kiwi Dec 25th, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    The problem is that if you do not wear a helmet and you crash …..but do not die and end up in a vegetative state, you are nothing but a burden either to your family or in our case here the State will look after you if there is no family.

    It would be ok, if in your will you say that if this happens you want to be put down and it happens.
    But the true hand wringers will not allow this humane thing to happen

    In my little space of the cosmos, it is selfish not to wear a helmet.

    But that’s just me, and well I could be crazy !

  13. 13 Dec 25th, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    I’m all for personal freedom.I’ve got no problem riding in just a studded carbon fibre codpiece and leopard skin wayfairers and ending up in a pine box.

    But,helmet use is about dealing with a dangerous reality and not some dumb fight for “freedom”.

    If people want to ride without a hat they should be over 25 years of age,have full accident insurance to cover them and their dependents for life and over five years of riding experience.If passengers don’t have the same they should be required to wear a helmet in any case.

    SIGFREED,you are wrong.Motorcycle head injuries pose a threat to the healthcare system finances and the wealth and welfare of the victims family and children.Humpty needs to be put back together,and some sucker has to pay.

  14. 14 sollis Dec 25th, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    its OK don’t wear a helmet but don’t set up donation accounts on social medias to pay for your medical bills .

  15. 15 Dec 25th, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Any biker who thinks he or she is never gonna crash is an idiot. That being the case, what kind of idiot wants to risk crashing without a helmet? Riding bareheaded is not an expression of freedom, it’s an expression of stupidity and irresponsibility. Some people need laws to protect them from their own stupidity, and to protect their loved ones from the trauma and cost of a devastating injury or death in the family. Like James, above, I’ve had my life saved by my helmet when I was at an age when the law was the only thing that made me wear it, and I’m sure my wife and kids are damn happy about it.
    Good people of America, there are some battles worth fighting and some not worth fighting. I suggest the fight over helmet laws is the latter. Any victory for the “right to decide” lobby will be nothing more than a Pyrrhic victory.

  16. 16 bobx Dec 25th, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    motorcycles are dangerous with helmets or without.

    ban motorcycles.

  17. 17 Dec 25th, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    bobx,the British Police said not that many years ago,that according to accident statistics an experienced rider on a big fast bike was the safest road none (but with bars).That’s a good statistic to chew on fellers.

  18. 18 Scott Dec 25th, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I’m moving to Panama

  19. 19 Rob Dec 26th, 2013 at 12:11 am

    Ksw: it’s ok for me to pay for illegal immigrants healthcare , drug a users who are on social security, criminals who spend most of their lives in and out of jail, benefits for unwed mothers …… Should o
    I go on ? When I don’t have to spend my hard earned tax money on this and failed govt expenditures/ waste I’ll wear my helmet……….

  20. 20 Andrew Dec 26th, 2013 at 1:42 am

    Living in a country that made helmets compulsory many years ago, I can assure you that life as you know it will *not* come to an end should such rules be introduced in the US. And given the extent of the surveillance your government exercises on you right now, I’d say you already have much more serious threats to your freedom and rights to worry about than helmet laws.

  21. 21 Dec 26th, 2013 at 1:51 am

    Rob “Should o I go on ?”-no I say.

    If you don’t want to enjoy the benefits and the taxation of living in a civilized nation,contemplate living in a “free” nation like Somalia.Have you suffered a previous head injury? What have unwed mothers got to do with wearing helmets? Tax is the price you pay to enjoy stability,health,and law and order:its a bargain.Shop around.

  22. 22 bikerfred Dec 26th, 2013 at 7:27 am

    what next? helmets,seat belts,discbrakes,abs brakes,dual master cylinders,traction control,air bags damn all this safety stuff….how crazy!!

  23. 23 Calif Phil Dec 26th, 2013 at 7:45 am

    It’s important for all of us who care about freedom
    to do something about it. Support your local ABATE or MRO
    I wear a helmet when I ride but if I want to take a ride around my block without a helmet that should be my choice.

  24. 24 qajaqr Dec 26th, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I have come to the conclusion the helmet debate is the mechanism that separates those that believe their head to be important and those that do not.

  25. 25 Dec 26th, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I think the bigger issue here goes back to when the NHTSA threatened states with blackmail and extortion of withholding highway funds to those who did not pass specific laws. There were five (5) of them and they were the 55 MPH Speed Limit, which did not last long due to the public outcry, the mandatory seat belt law, mandatory helmet law, blood alcohol content and school bus legislation.
    A group of motorcyclist saw the mandatory helmet law as an intrusion on their freedom of choice and a group of us went to Washington for a hearing on the legality of how it was being presented. At the hearing we were successful in removing the threat of withholding highway funds and many states repealed the mandatory helmet law.
    Now some members of the legislature were very upset that a bunch of bikers had beaten them on their own turf. Since that time a Federal Mandatory Helmet Law has been introduced in one form or another every year only to be beaten.
    The NHTSA and specific legislators do not like the fact that the motorcyclist won and have used many devious efforts to make a mandatory helmet law and not necessarily because they feel it will save lives But because if they are ever successful in doing so it will prove to them in their mind if they keep after it long enough they will beat the motorcyclist into submission.
    This will bolster the idea they can continue to do things like roadside stops and other unjust actions against motorcyclist and get away with it.
    If for no other reason than motorcyclist saying do not tread on me it is imperative they are never successful in passing a mandatory helmet law.
    I sincerely hope everyone will their legislator and let them know they are against money being given to the CDC to stick their nose in what is a traffic situation and not a health situation.

  26. 26 BobS Dec 26th, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Jeeza, this is how the power structure works here. We’re thrown these little bones to argue over, like should a motorcyclist who’s not responsible enough to wear a helmet be forced to? Or should a single mother working at Wal-mart be forced to pee in a cup before she gets a free gallon of milk and loaf of bread? These little “arguments” over freedom keep the masses too busy to notice that billions of taxpayer dollars are being spent to build warplanes that get parked in the dessert because they’re not needed. Or wars get started because we need to deplete the ammunition stores before we can place orders to restock. Keep the masses busy arguing amongst themselves over the little things and no one will notice when both sides of the power structure cooperate to screw them over the big things.

  27. 27 takehikes Dec 26th, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I’d like to have the choice. However you can’t get around the fact that the cost of piling it up without a helmet on is less than without. So make helmets optional but if you end up with any kind of head injury no one pays for your care….not insurance company, county, state, feds no one but you. Can’t pay? Too bad.

    Honestly I rode with and without depending on my whim for years. Not that big of a deal to wear one now that we have some decent half and 3/4 helmets that are DOT rated so we don’t get hassled. My fear is we will end up getting mandated some god damn full face with inflating air bags and shit like cars.

  28. 28 pokergolf420 Dec 26th, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I guess while your at it, let’s mandate seat belts in school busses and public transportation. Or are our kids lives not important enough to protect with a seat belt law?

  29. 29 Rob Dec 26th, 2013 at 10:18 am

    This is about money and not safety.

  30. 30 Rodent Dec 26th, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Edward Snowden said “A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves an unrecorded, unanalysed thought. And that’s a problem because privacy matters; privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.”
    Now that is a problem!

  31. 31 domino Dec 26th, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    A.B.A.T.E. American Brotherhood Against Totalitarianism‎ Enactments.

    We later changed our name to American Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education.

    It’s all about Freedom, you either want it or you don’t .. period ..

    The double edge sword .. I have to grant you the freedom to not want it if you choose.

  32. 32 James just another Crazy Kiwi Dec 26th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Rodent,BobS and Andrew are completely on to it…the big picture

    This is the huge problem in so called western democracies of the governments spying on their own citizens or as in the USA getting Britain to do it and pass the information back to the US agencies.

    On Christmas eve Wiki leaks said he has only released a small portion of the information he has..
    Some governments must be very worried. I wonder how long he lives ?

    We just had a law passed here to allow more spying by our spooks on New Zealanders.

    All in the name of protecting us from terrorist’s.. Nobody hates us as we are too small. Except the French who blew up the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland because it was a Green Peace vessel. And the French were allies. I have family buried in France who died while fighting for their freedom.
    I hope that does not cause you angst Cyril, it was not aimed at you.

    Any way… sorry about the rage. I do understand Rogue as well, because as a subculture we are discriminated against. It is part of our heritage and nature that when pushed , WE always push back.

  33. 33 Dec 26th, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Something that was not in the original post, …

    “the Task force’s presentation to the CDCin October 2013 “links the adoption of universal helmet use laws to a potential reduction in motorcycle riding, which would help meet the CDC’s goal to reduce injuries and fatalities””…

    It is my opinion (and you know what they say about opinions) that this is the first strike to make motorcycling a bad health choice just like cigarettes, soda and Trans fats. As a community we need to make sure that motorcycling stays out of the health care debate. Please your congressional representatives (202-224-3121 is the Capitol Switchboard) and ask them to keep the CDC out of motorcycle safety issues!

    I would have posted my blog which has a lot more on this CDC issue but I am sure Cyril would not like that 😉

  34. 34 richard Dec 26th, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    rodent…you quoted snowden above…What he said is bullshit! snowden is a traitor to America.

    Regarding helmets. I do not currently wear one and have not worn one in 40 years. However, I do have a relatively new half helmet. It gets used in rainy, cold weather. It’s quite comfortable, light weight, I can still hear the tires on the road of cars in my “blind spot”. Recently I’ve been thinking that wearing it it “might not be that bad”…”maybe the helmet is a good idea”. Maybe I’m getting a little smarter as I grow older???

  35. 35 clyde the glide Dec 26th, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    We could save over 25,000 lives per year with a mandatory helmet law ……
    for all motorized vehicles, yes that includes automobiles. If they want to pass a helmet law, do it for everything that runs on a road. Now maybe the committee will look at this a little different.

  36. 36 Dec 26th, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Way to much Government for what they take and don’t give back,freedom means free choice to ware or not to ware a helmet and motorcycles are such a small part of a great big expense.The homeless are sucking up more medical expences than motorcycles riders so ware or don’t ware but stay to hell away from our freedom of choice!

  37. 37 Rodent Dec 26th, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Richard, Snowden may or may not be a traitor but what he said is true.

  38. 38 Badams Dec 26th, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Invest in a good helmet and this is all moot. Riding SoCal freeways with microclimates, shit flying at you and sun ducking between mountians and marine layer I went full face modular and it added 2-3x time in the saddle. Shoei nanotec is rad. So what if my profile on my long bike or pan head isn’t cool, I look at being able to add riding time to the day as freedom.

  39. 39 Sardeanie Dec 26th, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    My beef is that this is a State issue and an overstep by the Feds. We here in Michigan just had our helmet law repealed but I still wear my lid. My choice. I am much more happy with the resolution being decided by our citizens and our Governor than the CDC.

  40. 40 Brett Dec 26th, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    The real question is where does it end?? People talking about half helmets….& I know many that say unless you wear the most expensive full helmet covering your face…well you are a moron because many death involves the rider going forward into the ground & they have nothing covering their faces or throats or chests…..Hell why not make suits or armor mandatory

    Then there is the fact the DOT regulations are a complete joke. I guarantee you can go buy an authentic NFL helmet & be more protected them many of the DOT approved helmets on the market.

  41. 41 Tussuck Dec 26th, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    You yanks crack us up….thats why we keep you around; to keep the rest of the world entertained.

  42. 42 B. D. Howard Dec 26th, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    It is always the non-riders who propose these laws because they perceive motorcycle riding to be much more dangerous than it actually is. It is just like flying in an airliner – if all you know about the subject is what you read in the news about crashes, you would think that flying was much more dangerous than it is, too.

    To hear riders who always wear a helmet chime in on this, they should relax – their right to wear a helmet is not being threatened.

    Here in DE, where of the 12 riders killed in crashes during the last year for which statistics are available, half were wearing helmets. So the thousands of riders who would be forced to wear helmets in this state if this law was passed would save, at most six people (as if they would walk away unscathed thanks to the helmet, hardly likely)! Let’s compare this number to the number who kill themselves by smoking, drinking excessively, or eating a poor diet, More people incur head injuries while riding horses or skiing than riding motorcycles on the street. Where is the call to require these folks to wear a helmet. What about all of the head injuries incurred when elderly people slip and fall in the bathroom? Why don’t we require them to wear helmets?

    Helmets do not make anyone indestructible when they ride. They do offer a certain degree of protection in certain types of crashes, but just look at the legal disclaimer found in every new helmet!

    But the vast majority of those involved in motorcycle crashes have less experience – either they are fairly new to the sport or they own bikes that they rarely ride. And often, those involved in these crashes are impaired by alcohol.

    As a sober, almost daily rider of more than 40 years, rarely wearing a helmet during the past 35, I resent non-riders debating and pushing laws that effect me but not them and acting as though they are more concerned for my safety than I am!

  43. 43 Dec 26th, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Someone alluded to the notion of Big Brother here.The idea that we are all under the thumb and eyeball of Big Brother is a little outdated.Just about every man and his dog on the planet has a cell phone or a laptop and can make his own works and images right about now.Big Brother is way more scared of all the little brothers,than visa versa.

    It’s not like in the old days when spooks could just garrotte the whistleblower turncoats in the dead of night and the problem would go away.Snowdon and Assange would have plenty of buddies all around the world with caches of spystuff that probably should never be released,that would be released if they disappeared into a Berlin fog.Damn good little insurance policies in thumb drives I say.

  44. 44 fuji Dec 26th, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    richard: Its called wisdom.

    Maybe some states don’t require as to thin the heard. Ha Ha

  45. 45 Wilhelm Dec 27th, 2013 at 7:37 am

    well said, @fuji!

  46. 46 Wilhelm Dec 27th, 2013 at 7:40 am

    I was referring to @fuji’s first post.

  47. 47 Wilhelm Dec 27th, 2013 at 7:46 am

    If this is about freedom, give Snowden a medal. They know all your movements, know all your friends, know everything you ever wrote in an email, texted or posted somewhere. That’s what I’d call a clear and present danger to freedom. We wouldn’t know, if Snowden hadn’t told us.

  48. 48 Wilhelm Dec 27th, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Well said, James Crazy Kiwi: “If they were not mandatory I would still wear one. If they had not been mandatory when I was young I would not be here to write this !.”

  49. 49 KSW Dec 27th, 2013 at 8:10 am


    Couldn’t have said it better and I have to claim this as my country of origin.

    Ya’ll are worried about the Government spying on you? Really? Then what about Google, Facebook, Twitter and the JeremySumpter Blog? Don’t you numb nuts know where they are getting the info from?
    From you, posting and participating. Are any of you willing to give up your social media? Are You?
    Willing to say know to the legal documents you agree to when you use the InterWeb? Are you?
    If not then stop bitching!

    I’m happy when I’m abroad where drivers ed is more than a 6 hour classroom and being able to three point turn. I’m glad there are mandatory helmet laws. I’m glad a cell phone in your hand is a huge fine and points. I’m glad I see that big L for learner on the back of a vehicle and even gladder that new driver isn’t allowed to drive a Suburban and is graduated into more dangerous vehicles than a Punta.

    Freedom, blah-blah-blah. Guns, blah-blah-blah, America blah-blah-blah. The only thing we seem to be leading at these days is corporate amnesty and supplying the world with weapons and ammo to keep the wars going. That’s productive. Oh, and technology that allows us to be spied on by Companies and Governments alike.

    I’m an all people, all races, all religions type and that works just fine.

    Now, get enraged and write how you disagree. Cyrils blog analytics will look awesome. Don’t forget to click an AD link so he can make some money and you get email spam.

    Carry on

  50. 50 BobS Dec 27th, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Two more cents, I’m pro helmet use, anti extra laws being written. In my experience the bikers who bitch the most about how much they hate wearing helmets are the ones with the cheapest helmets. 500-600 bucks for a quality well fit lid is nothing, guys spend more than that on billet air cleaners and fake alligator skin seat covers. Someone else mentioned skiers, but I don’t think he’s been on a ski slope recently. The reason lawmakers aren’t busying themselves trying to pass helmet laws for bicycles and snow skiers…is because they’re all already wearing one. Those communities have “policed their own” and have deemed it “cool” to wear a helmet.
    Don’t want mandatory helmet laws passed? Do two things, write your congressman/woman…and wear a helmet. If you’re only doing one of those, then you’re half-assing it and we all know how successful that is.

  51. 51 Dec 27th, 2013 at 11:22 am

    All the more reason for a Convention of States so we can put the feds in their place and get them to do what their mandate is and that is to protect the country, collect fed taxes, control the borders, and a few other things. They have been over reaching for over a hundred years now and usurping states rights. That needs to end.

    All laws of this kind should be up to the individual states to determine. What may be fine in CA will not fly in AZ for a number of reasons. It should be illegal to be a nanny-brained, busy body, control freak I say.

    Personally, I wear a helmet on longer rides like being on the freeway for comfort, not safety, and around town I’m fine without it. If my state wanted to make a law where people under 26 have to wear a helmet because young people tend to get extra crazy, especially on the crotch rockets, I would be ok with that. Just bear in mind that helmets can be the cause of accidents at times and also make the injuries much worse and then have a brain-living quadriplegic who needs care for the rest of their days 24/7. I’d rather be dead. Please sign your donor cards if you haven’t already. 🙂

  52. 52 Dec 27th, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Boomer,two guys here have mentioned riding near home without helmets. Statistically you are more liable to die in a motorcycle traffic accident within two miles from where you live than anywhere else,If my memory serves me correctly.

    “Just bear in mind that helmets can be the cause of accidents at times and also make the injuries much worse”:that is overplayed nonsense.I always wear a quality top of the range Arai in a couple of types and I have never heard of any quality high price helmet causing an injury.I have never heard of a helmet causing an accident.Injuries to your skull and face will always be more severe with no hat on at all.

    While people rant on about rights and creeping state control,it’s ironic places like China are living the 21st century dream and prosperity.

  53. 53 Dec 27th, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Recently, there was a discussion on LinkedIn, about the possibility of a Federal Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet bill that is being spearheaded by the CDC. Of particular note is a collection of wonderfully written points by Mac Henderson. The entire discussion is found here:

    Here are Mac’s comments.

    To quote a figure of motorcycle riders killed that were not wearing helmets, then jump to the amazing conclusion that all died of head injuries is asinine. What would you say those who had their necks broken caused by the helmet. Or those who bought helmets and the helmets completely failed causing rider death? The public burden theory has been dis-proven for well over 20 years. Insurance? The average motorcycle rider carries far more insurance than the average auto driver. Because it is the cars that hit us. Let those who ride decide. What would make anyone think that Americans wants to be like Europe? Most of Europe and especially the UK is an Oligarchy type of government. The USA is a Republic. America, when founded was the first Republic government is 17 centuries. But a Republic form of government is threatening to those in power. So our government signed a UN treaty in 1998; Global Harmonization of Motorized Vehicles based on European Standards. Within that treaty, Working Party 29 is on motorcycles…to try and make us like Europe. Helmet laws are not about safety, they are about control. No such thing as a DOT APPROVED helmet.

    I have nothing but love and admiration for England. I have been to your country multiple times. For most of by “corporate” career I was a corresponding Lloyd’s of London underwriter (binding authority). But our countries are worlds apart. You are a subject, we (Americans) are citizens. Your country started out as an Elite Ruler Model then changed to a Oligarchy model. America is a Republic. The first Republic government in 17 centuries and the first Republic government to have been formed from a revolution. Because of our “freedom” what we consider a “natural” right and as guaranteed by our Constitution as “unalienable”; with in the first 85 years of our forming we (USA) became one of the strongest countries in the world. We attracted citizens from around the world due to our idea of freedom. So your remark about “freedom”; absolutely. Choice is freedom. No choice is tyranny. I have been involved in the insuring of helmet manufacturers/distributors and have been personally involved with legislature concerning helmet laws. Do helmets add protection? Absolutely. Have helmets caused injury, absolutely. Have people died from head injuries while wearing a DOT helmet, absolutely. I ask questions about helmets just to see what people know. Most don’t know crap. You stated a styrofoam bowl wrapped in plastic (a Bell helmet) with stood being driven over by a large truck. Have you ever tried it? As Gary stated correctly many modern day helmets have advanced shell material. But the energy absorbing material has not changed (at least not in DOT helmets) I want you to wear a helmet. I will not pursue any law to take away your right to choose. I am against helmet laws. I can understand how people in the UK can’t understand this freedom thing; but it nauseate’s me as to how many poser Americans believe they have the right to restrict freedom of choice, especially in the world most know for freedom; motorcycle riding. No such thing as a DOT Approved helmet. Anybody know why DOT helmets are NOT legal in the UK?

    I believe this discussion started off in regards to the proposed national helmet law. And I am guessing that those who believe it is stupid to ride without a helmet are all for the government telling us what to do and how to get dressed, after all it is for our own safety. I don’t believe that any repeal of any helmet law states you can no longer wear a helmet. I am pretty sure your individual choice to get dressed as you see fit still complies.
    The one comment about a “Harley” rider questioning your choice to wear a helmet is a jerk, not a friend. Motorcycle riding, at least for the decades that I have been involved, has always been about your individual expression of freedom. Ride what you want, get dressed as you see fit. For me and most of who I ride with and associate with it is about the love of the open road, freedom and meeting some great people.
    The first national helmet law was proposed in 1970. The Feds threatened to withhold federal highway funding if the states did not comply..blackmail/extortion. At that time less than 1% of all vehicles on the road were motorcycles and a historical fact, less than 4% of all motorcycle accidents cause severe brain trauma injury or death due to brain trauma. Do you ever wonder why the feds push so hard for helmet laws?
    Without emails or fax machines or internet blogs the motorcycle riders from across America banded together to fight this intrusion. Then as now, most motorcycle riders wear helmets; so the issue then as now is really about government intrusion.
    Fortunately for California and America we had a couple of Americans as governors during this period. Ronald Reagan was governor of California and pretty much told the feds to go piss up a rope. Ella Grasso was governor of Connecticut and she agreed to support the motorcycle riders in fighting this absurdity. To date Connecticut does not have a helmet law.
    The call to arms was started by Easyriders Magazine. The editors, Lou Kimzey and Keith “bandit” Ball helped to create one of the first motorcyclists rights organization; A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments (ABATE). ABATE and other MRO’s sprang up across America educating and informing motorcycle riders.
    In Connecticut; Donald “Pappy” Pittsley created Connecticut Motorcycle Rights Association. He worked closely with Governor Ella Grasso. Pappy worked closely with a good friend of mine, John “Rogue” Herlihy. It was Rogue who rode to the US Capitol and spoke before the Federal Transportation sub-committee. Rogue informed them of a letter coming from Governor Grasso and asked the committee “when did the Federal Government start condoning Blackmail and Extortion.” National helmet law did not pass.
    I never thought the day would come when other motorcycle riders would support removing freedom of choice from other motorcycle riders. The next thing you know we will have socialized medicine.

    I will be following up with a post on DOT helmets. When I ask questions about helmets it is really to see what the knowledge level is. The info will not be to tell you not to wear one but to help educate you to make the right choice for your own personal protection. If you really want to learn about good and bad helmets, if you really want to learn why the government enforces or seeks to create these kinds of laws, get involved with a rights organization. You will learn a bit about your American Heritage, your Constitution (which most have never even read) and why the government is doing what it is doing. To the rider who posted about lime green safety vest, yes we do follow that in your country. And yes that is being proposed here as well. Also lane splitting (here in CA) is being looked at making it illegal. In CA we have the highest number of motorcycle riders and the lowest number of rear end collisions due to being allowed to split lanes. But we also have the greatest number of apathetic do nothing riders as well. Motorcycle riding has always been about freedom. But fighting for freedom is hard work. It is much easier to simply comply.

    My comments should be considered “general” comments. I have been on the front lines of this battle for over 20 years and I get a bit frustrated with the lack of knowledge that people have when it comes to helmets and the laws. Most of the people that are in this battle wear helmets, we have sports bike guys in our group that wouldn’t be caught without their full face helmet. But these individuals fully understand the good and the bad of their decisions. Motorcycle riding is an expression of your/ours individual freedom..and that is the way it should always be. I have a couple of court cases this week. When I get back I will post about DOT helmets, Snell and ECE…simply so people get a little bit of knowledge and learn how to challenge and ask questions. I firmly believe that people buy helmets to protect their brains (all helmets add protection to the outside); but many helmets fail miserably so the unknowing or uneducated rider get seriously injured or killed. And yes there are some great engineered helmets out there. My group is extremely good at what we do. We know more about helmet laws than the judges or the cops And we are the only organization to ever have the CA Highway Patrol charged with contempt of court. May you never have to prove the quality of your helmet….I mean it, ride safe.

    The biggest difference between DOT and all of the rest; DOT is a self certification…which means there is no law that the manufacturers have to pre test their helmets. Most do not. That is the reason DOT helmets are not legal in the UK and the reason why many of the motorcycle pro-am racing events will not allow a simply DOT helmet. NHSTA only tests about 30 helmets per year and out of that approx 30% fail. You can pull the info from their website. Based on DOT guidelines and current helmet laws, anyone can make their own helmet and put a self certification sticker (DOT) on the helmet and it becomes legal. The article “Blowing the lid off” goes over that. When dealers or manufactures state their helmets are DOT Approved that is one of the bases for a law suit. Illegal to falsely advertise and no helmet is actually approved by DOT. It is misleading to the consumer, which we believe leads to riders deaths/injuries…buying a piece of crap.

    I would like to go over the propaganda about helmets real quick…just to get it out of the way. The conversations about helmets and testing standards are a good subject to stay on.
    In CA, after the first year of the helmet law; the news reported helmet law a great success, accidents dropped by 40%. What they didn’t state is the ridership dropped by more than 40%. If the accident factor is not per 100 it is simply bogus info. For 20 years there has been no significant change in accidents due to helmet laws. Some of you know why…because I could tell by some of the frustrated comments.
    We follow states where the helmet laws have been removed; Give em a few years for things to equal out…somewhat of a close ratio between helmeted and non- helmeted accidents and we look at the states DOT reports. Again the ratio of non helmeted and helmeted must be close or it means really nothing. In Pennsylvania, the DOT reported that more than double the accidents/injuries were with Helmeted riders as compared to non helmeted riders.
    So which is it? Do helmets cause accidents or prevent them? NEITHER! Helmets are protective gear for the head so if the discussion is not about head injuries or brain trauma and it involves helmets it is a stupid analogy. Just like this discussion link was started…accidents are up do you think helmet are safe or unsafe? Uh?
    NHTSA puts out reports and soon CDC will follow. 37% more riders would be alive today had they worn a helmet. When you read the report…first you have to question where they got the foundation data base for just head injuries, but the report itself is completely based on assumptions.
    If you have ever worked in the corporate world and the boss want 20% in production next year and wants the report on his desk; your report is based on assumptions. When politicians run for office and they have a plan to pay off the national debt, they use assumptions. When other politicians attack other politicians plans, they simply change the assumptions. Point is you have to read all of the info, not just take the headline tidbit for face value.
    Approximately 2% of all vehicles on the road are motorcycles (you can easily verify for your state via highway patrol and sometimes office of traffic safety). Of all of the accidents motorcycles get into, approx. 4% is strictly due to head trauma. The majority of deaths are caused by massive injury to the chest area.
    In the overall picture, motorcycle head trauma accidents are extremely small; more auto accidents have head trauma, slips and falls in showers have more head trauma accidents. As as an adult capable of making your own choice and as an American you prefer to have the freedom to make your own choice; don’t you wonder why, even just a little bit, why there is such intense focus on this little group of freedom loving motorcycle riders? Just something to chew on.

    I have been personally called in on several low speed “big ones” where the wearer died of head trauma. One was several years ago, Carol was a life style biker, swore by DOT helmets. It was in Folsom CA, I was called because it was close to where I live and many of us knew her. It was a single bike accident on a fairly new wide easy turn road. Estimated speed by the cops was around 30 to 35 MPH; Carol struck the center divider and hit her head, her helmet and her head split like a watermelon. One of the reasons I was called is she was a very experienced rider and it we just didn’t believe she crashed on her own. Another was a wife on the back of the bike. Accident in Lodi CA, coming off the freeway the bike hit diesel. She hit her head and the helmet had barely a scratch on it, she died of head trauma. When the experienced life style or highly experienced pro helmet rider makes blanket statements to the new inexperienced rider, that is a gross injustice to the person who truly wants to protect their noodle. Based on NHTSA testing many expensive helmets fail. If you the pro helmet user and the ones who have shown they KNOW testing procedures. You should be stepping up. And all pro helmet users should be asking questions; Why is styrofoam still being used. No other better product for energy absorption? What about the weight of the helmet? I would be pushing for lighter stronger material (Carbon Fiber) or like that cops helmet Kevlar. And yes we believe in rider education…but the right education, not a simplified every one passes course. And I recommend getting involved in the political process…just attend a transportation committee meeting (on helmets). Why would NHTSA come out and state motorcycle training adds no significant value?

    Email I sent to SHARP and their response. The “327” project is probably well known to those in the UK who fight for freedom of choice. In the US; Motorcycle Riders Foundation and the American Motorcyclist Association were both supporting a proposed motorcycle accident causation report. Not the usual BS using assumptions. But as the funding was being approved, the gov’t cut the funding so low that the persons hired to do a “neutral” study resigned saying it would be impossible. I will go over this a bit more later. Here is the email: By the way, the most conservative MRO in the US (The AMA) supports helmet usage but riders choice.

    Dear Mac,

    Thank you for your email below, and for your interest in SHARP.

    One of the most common questions asked of us by helmet wearers is “How long do helmets last and when should I replace mine?” This is difficult to answer as it depends greatly on use and storage, but in the absence of manufacturer information (which we always recommend a rider should follow where it is available), a rider should be thinking to replace a helmet that has been subject to regular use after between 3 to 5 years. This is because the inner comfort lining can compress and result in a looser fitting helmet. We have consulted with our industry experts and they are in agreement that this is appropriate generic advice.

    The research that underpins SHARP is the COST 327 study. This is the most comprehensive study of motorcycle crashes ever conducted in Europe, looking in detail at head injuries occurring in motorcycle accidents, and we would therefore suggest this may provide the information regarding brain trauma you are looking for. The COST report can be found at and you may wish to pay particular attention to section 2.2 which states “Most motorcycle collisions take place at relatively low speeds of around 30 km/h. Skull fractures occur at speeds of around 30 km/h upwards but brain injuries can be sustained at relative speeds as low as 11 km/h.” As this is a small extract, we would advise you to read this section of the report to put this information into context.

    We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

    Kind regards,

    The SHARP Team

    From: Mac Henderson]
    Sent: 27 November 2013 14:42
    To: SHARP
    Subject: Helmet life

    What is it in the helmet that breaks down requiring the helmet to be replaced in 3 to 5 years? At what minimum speed, in your opinion, would a helmet be unable to absorb enough energy to stop brain trauma?

    Mac Henderson

  54. 54 Dec 28th, 2013 at 12:50 am

    Re: “Mike Greenwald post”.

    If anybody has actually read,and waded through that long last vast barely literate confused hodge-podge of miss-guided,and “political” rant and cant:I take my hat off to you.

    But not my helmet.

  55. 55 calif phil Dec 28th, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Excellent post Mr. Greenwald.

  56. 56 Dec 28th, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Terence Tory,
    Thanks. You were not asked to remove your head gear.

  57. 57 Wilhelm Dec 29th, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Here’s a simple self test on the efficacy of helmets.

    Step one: Put on helmet
    Step two: Hit helmet (with head in it) hard with hammer of convenient size
    Step three: Repeat steps one and two, without helmet.

  58. 58 Kroeter Dec 30th, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    I’m convinced the main reason it is being pushed is because someone will make money off the deal. Helmet manufacturers, lobbyists, etc.

    If there was no profit to be made, they would not be too concerned with our “safety”.

  59. 59 Jeffry Scott Diamond Dec 30th, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    The CHP lied about helmet safety results back in the 1990s. They are lying again now. Also, studies done in NY showed an increase in spinal injuries as a result of wearing a helmet in a severe crash. 38% more likely if I recall correctly, because adding weight to your neck and then whipping it back and forth (as in a collision) like a slinky will do that. Helmets impede injury consistently ONLY at low speeds. The government is LYING and helmet supporters are LYING. Spin it however you want.

  60. 60 Andrew Dec 30th, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    ‘Helmets impede injury consistently ONLY at low speeds.’ … that’s fine by me, because most of my riding is at low speeds (commuting in the city). Focusing the discussion on how many LIVES helmets may or may not save is disingenuous in my opinion. If helmets prevent injuries in non-fatal accidents they are still a very worthwhile safety aid. maybe more so in fact because we all have to die one way or another, but we do not necessarily have to suffer through jaw or face reconstructions.

  61. 61 Dec 30th, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    The stupidity of the comment by someone that China or the Chinese are somehow “free” or “living the dream” is indicative of the ignorance or the stupidity of too many Americans today. I don’t want to think its all over and I will continue to fight for the freedom of the individual but it’s sad to see so many not only willing but anxious to give up their own freedom and help the govt take away others freedom and think it’s somehow good thing justified because it makes sense to them. To not understand the analogy to the many govt giveaways and the costs of everything from illegal Allians to Obamacare is another mind boggled. Helmet laws suck, and that’s got nothing to do with helmets! Too bad that there are so many who don’t understand that!

  62. 62 T Racer Jan 1st, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Having been spit off my motorcycle various times at the track and once on the street at 60 mph, I can safely say that the helmet I wear saved my butt every time in high speed crashes. Anyone who thinks or says otherwise has their helmetless head up their ass.

  63. 63 Jan 1st, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    New York myke,the Chinese are living the dream,in ever increasing prosperity and order undreamt of in their countries living memory.While you worry about big govt saving adult fools from brain injury? There are far more valid causes to fight relating to freedom that the right to hit your head on the pavement at forty miles per hour.It’s an easy trap to fall into thinking that freedom is the right to have no responsibility at all.

    All government historically is about taxing the population and then dividing the money up.It always has been,and always will be.

    I’m sure there are not many brain damaged riders,while living off their family or the state,who stand up and talk about “rights”.They are probably putting more effort into learning to walk or talk again.

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