What happens when a state repeals its motorcycle helmet law? Guess:
A Florida Today analysis of federal motorcycle crash statistics found “unhelmeted” deaths in Florida rose from 22 in 1998 and 1999, the years before the helmet law repeal, to 250 in 2004, the most recent year of available data.
The article notes motorcycle registrations are also up in the state since the law was repealed, but they’re up 87 percent, not 1000 percent, so as raw numbers and as a per capita number (or a per decaptia number, as the case may be), “unhelmeted” deaths are up.
This isn’t what bothers me, really. What bothers me is the following quote:
But Merritt Island motorcyclist and helmet law opponent Dave Carroll said the helmet law debate is misguided.
“What causes most of the crashes is cars,” he said. “Usually, it’s the car driver turning left at an intersection and causing an accident because they didn’t see us coming.”
You know what? If someone believes they shouldn’t have to wear a motorcycle helmet because the accident is someone else’s fault, the fact is I don’t want that person to wear a helmet. Because that person is clearly too damn stupid to live. For the rest of you, I’ll merely remind you of what you no doubt already know, which is that your brains will splatter themselves across the pavement just as readily when the accident is someone else’s fault as they will when it is yours. You don’t wear a motorcycle helmet because you’re a moron on the road. You wear a helmet because everyone else is.
I don’t really care if Florida reinstates its motorcycle helmet law; I think overall people would be safer and somewhat less dead if there was one, but if there’s not it’s no skin off my nose (and cheek, and forehead and jaw). The way I see motorcycle helmets is that they are just one of life’s stealth IQ tests, and when I see someone driving a motorcycle without one I know I’m dealing with someone who one of three things: A moron, delusional (“I’m too good a driver to get in an accident”), or a delightful optimist concerning the driving skills of every other single person on the road. I am none of those, myself, but it is always good to know when someone else is, and that they advertise themselves so clearly as being so.
(The picture at the top, incidentally, comes from here. It’s what happens when you go 155mph on your bike and then hit a car. To be fair, even a helmet won’t help you then.)