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Customer Discussions > Motorcycle forum

Helmet Laws

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Showing 1-25 of 190 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 14, 2011 6:02:37 PM PDT
Joe Bouler says:
I live in Maryland where a helmet law is in effect. I'm just 13 miles from the Delaware state line and Delaware does not have a helmet law. The Delaware law states that you don't have to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle, but you must have one in your posession when you're riding. I'm still trying to figure the logic behind that. Many Maryland bikers will stop after crossing over into Delaware and remove their helmets. Mine stays on my head. I have participated in anti helmet law rallies before Maryland had a helmet law. I have always been opposed to a helmet law. I wear my helmet by choice but I feel that those who don't want to wear one should have the freedom of choice. It's not the helmet that I oppose, it's the law that demands I must wear one. It's my head and I should have the right to bust it if I choose to. Indian Larry died as a result of a head injury while performing a stunt on his motorcycle. Had he been wearing a helmet, he would most likely still be with us today. I guess wearing a helmet just wasn't cool. Maybe it's much cooler to be dead. No disrespect intended toward Indian Larry. He was an expert rider and a master stuntman. It was a mechanical failure that caused his accident, not human error. Regardless, he's just as dead one way or the other. Since the head is the most vulnerable part of your body, and 95 % of all motorcycle accidents involve trauma to the head, that's why I choose to wear a helmet. There is no guarantee that a helmet will save my life, but it will definitely improve my chances of survival in the event I should take a spill. There's an old saying I've always heard and I don't know how true it is, but it goes like this: "There are only two kinds of bikers, those who have gone down, and those who are going to go down" The road is very hard and unforgiving. If I go down, I want to protect my melon. For those who choose not to wear a helmet, it's not my place to tell you you should wear one. It's not my place to even suggest you wear a helmet. I feel it's a personal thing. I've heard all the arguments about what if someone becomes a vegetable and becomes a burden on the taxpayers. I come back with: " How about all the smokers who get lung cancer despite the warnings on the cigarette packs. Do your tax dollars pay for their medical expenses?" NO! End of subject. My personal belief is riding a motorcycle without a helmet is like walking a tight rope without a safety net. You may do it a thousand times without incident, but it only takes one time. Life is too short to take unnecessary risks. That's why I don't ride without a helmet. I still respect the rights of those who choose not to wear one. Helmet Laws SUCK!
If it weren't for my helmet, I wouldn't have anyplace to put all my stickers. Like one of the stickers on my helmet says: "Let Those Who Ride Decide"

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 16, 2011 12:17:07 PM PDT
Maryland bikers have been opposing the helmet law for decades without any success. The reason is that they are totally absent from the campaign trail. Helmet laws are decided on Election Day. Making noise during the legislative session is "too little, too late." Once Maryland bikers figure this out, they'll restore their right to decide. Until then they can keep on riding to Delaware.

Posted on Oct 23, 2011 12:24:51 AM PDT
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Posted on Jan 29, 2012 12:49:08 AM PST
Carl G says:
Texas was one of the first states to change its mandatory helmet law, after the federal government ended a long-standing policy of reducing transportation funding for states without such a law. In 1997, Texas began requiring only motorcyclists under 21 to use a helmet.

Only 20 states and the District of Columbia currently require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 29, 2012 11:12:57 AM PST
B. Noe says:
Thought you didn't wear helmets youngblood

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 29, 2012 11:15:44 AM PST
B. Noe says:
Carl your an encyclopedia on everything motorcycle. Thumbs up man

Posted on Feb 5, 2012 5:36:54 AM PST
C. STEWART says:
I agree on the fact that wearing a helmet is a good idea when traveling at highway speeds for protection, except full-face ones as they impair your ability to see on the sides. I've tried several brands and designs (specifically for a long winter trip), and decided to stick with my Arai SZ (with visor) for comfort, and for lateral vision. Agreed, my chin is more at risk if I fall on it, but a full-face is more likely to put me in a position (enable an accident) where I'll need that protection, but will not protect either my torso or limbs. If a law ever passes making a full-face helmet mandatory, it will be passed by people who are totally foreign to the two-wheeler world (like is the case anyway with most laws governing motorcycles anyway).

My beef with helmet laws is that it gives grounds for police officers to stop and fine you, whatever the circumstances. You can be riding at 20 mph away from traffic, for a two-block trip to your mom's house, and be eligible for that racket. The only danger you're causing by riding without a helmet is to yourself. That choice should be left to the one exposed, nobody else.
When I was in Spain in 1990, they had a helmet law that made more sense: on city roads limited to city speeds, no helmet required. But as soon as you hit the Highway (with vehicles riding at higher speeds), you had to wear one. Not perfect, but better, since everyone pretty much would naturally ride around town with or without a helmet depending on the person, but most everyone would ride a helmet at highway speeds even if it wasn't mandatory. Of course, with the European Union, "security" is forced on everyone now, never mind freedom of choice or responsibility for one's own fate.

Posted on Feb 5, 2012 6:47:16 AM PST
Joe Bouler says:
I've noticed that certain types of helmets go with a particular style of bike. Those who ride cruisers and touring bikes prefer the half to 3/4 helmets. Sports bike riders prefer the full face helmet. It's highly unlikely to see a sports bike rider wearing a half to 3/4 helmet, while it's equally unlikely to see someone on a cruiser or touring bike with a full face helmet. There may be a few exceptions, but that's the general rule of thumb. Outlaw bikers prefer the smallest, lightest helmet they can get away with. Most don't even have any inside padding or liner and are not DOT approved. These helmets are totally useless and offer zero protection against a head injury but keep the riders within the law. Some states have even gone as far as to have the police inspect the helmets during a traffic stop to make sure they are DOT approved. A non DOT approved helmet will result in a traffic ticket. Many bike shops sell bogus DOT stickers which the cops are wise to. Anyone with any common sense at all knows that a helmet with no inside padding couldn't possibly be DOT approved. I agree that the full face helmets restrict your peripheral vision. They probably do offer the best head and face protection but the vision restriction makes it more dangerous. I have no desire to own or wear one. The full face helmets also fog up on the inside of the face shield when you come to a stop. They require air constantly moving to keep the face shield clear. I own both half and 3/4 helmets. The half helmet is my preference but in colder weather I wear the 3/4 helmet for added warmth. When it comes to head injuries, speed is really not the the killing factor. A head injury at any speed can be fatal. I keep referring back to Indian Larry, but he wasn't traveling very fast at all when his bike went out of control causing him to fall and hit his head. I completely agree with C. Stewart, "The only danger you're causing by riding without a helmet is to yourself. That choice should be left to the one exposed, nobody else." I'm going to wear my helmet regardless of whether it's required by law or not. Since I'm going to be wearing one, it will be DOT approved and offer some degree of protection. That's my personal preference. I also respect the rights of those who do not want to wear a helmet. It's their head and they should have the right to bust it on the pavement if that's their choice. I grew up during a time when seat belts in cars were unheard of and I'm still here. Car dashboards were hard steel instead ot the padded vinyl ones of today. Motorcycle police didn't even wear helmets back then. Somewhere along the way our government sat down and figured out what's best for us and what we need to do. I call that dictatorship. As far as America being the "Land of The Free" We're only free to do what our government says we can.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 7:59:46 AM PST
C. STEWART says:
Amen to that. It seems everything is geared toward total security, whether it infringes on your freedom or not, and whether it even makes sense or not, and it goes way before 911, mind you.

About the seatbelt laws, I used to hang out with my older cousin alot, back in the mid to late '80s. He never wore a seatbelt while driving. When asked if he just did that to act as a rebel or because he liked being pulled over by the cops, he explained that he'd been in an accident several years ago, and that his riding without a seatbelt had allowed him to be ejected from the car when another car ran into him head-on, ramming the engine compartment into the area he would have been sitting in, if he'd been strapped in with his seatbelt. Basically, he bruised his head and his shoulder, flying through the windshield and landing on the ground, instead of being crushed in his seat, then burning when both cars caught fire, finishing off those who were strapped in the other care if they weren't already dead. That served as a lesson for him, and he refused from then on to wear a seatbelt. When he eventually next got pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt, he got a ticket, then fought it in court by producing the police reports, hospital and insurance experts reports, all concluding that his life had been saved by not wearing a seatbelt (in these very specific circumstances, obviously). The charges were dropped (actually: the fine), & he obtained a certificate from the court, obviously addressed to Highway Patrol and Police officers, ruling that he should be permitted to drive a motor vehicle without wearing a seatbelt. I'm not sure of the exact phrasing, but it boiled down to that.
Not sure if he still uses it now, or if a court would still rule that way now, but it just goes to show that the pro-safety-by-all-means status quo isn't always right in every instance. It also shows that such decisions should be made by those taking the risks. If he'd obeyed the law, he'd be dead.

Posted on Feb 5, 2012 2:00:01 PM PST
DOT helmets are uncomfortable, and don't fit over my hats as well.

Good thing I don't have a fragile skull like B. Noe.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 11:02:48 PM PST
Carl G says:
I normally wear a 3/4 helmet while riding locally and when the temperatures are in the 90's and higher. However, during the winter I wear a HJC Sy-Max II modular helmet and it has excellent peripheral visibility. I also have the J&M stereo headset intercom and Blue Ant wireless for my cellular telephone and communication with another rider using the same system.


In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 11:12:31 PM PST
Carl G says:
I generally don't mess with other motorcyclist unless it is obvious they have never ridden a motorcycle before. Nine times out of ten, the ones I stop don't have a motorcycle endorsement on their license and the motorcycle isn't even registered to them. The others that blow past me at 100 plus while I'm working stationary Radar, I don't even take my car out of park because I couldn't catch up with them anyway.

Posted on Feb 6, 2012 2:57:47 PM PST
Sam says:
Helmets are a personal choice for style... I personally have "shorty" 1/2 helmet which I use occasionally around town on a warm day... speeds rarely over 35... but when I know I'm going to hit the highway or anywhere I'm going to be faster than a JOG, I grab my full-face SNELL helmet (YES, I drive a cruiser, too). I wear my full-face helmet for two, main reasons... bugs/debris (little suckers sting when they smack bare skin) and crash protection for "whole head/face". No, I don't have loss of peripheral vision... mine has a very wide opening, and I can barely see the "rim" or "edge" out of the corner of my eye... most full-face made today have excellent peripheral vision as opposed to the ones made just 5-yrs ago. Also, a properly cleaned visor rarely fogs up, and you can buy dozens of "treatments" to prevent/diminish fogging.

Now to address the laws... again, I can't stand the nanny-state... helmet laws, seat-belt laws, cell-phone laws, etc.... they are all about liability and legislators jumping through hoops to acquire Federal funding. Think about seat-belt laws... if the gov't really worried about our protection when driving a car, we'd be required to wear Nomex fire suits, neck-braces, and full-face-helmets just to drive around the block. None of these laws have to do with "keeping you safe", they are about "reducing state's liability" and gaining Federal money for the state's coffers.

If you have insurance, you should be able to ride the way you want.... helmet, no helmet, leather, no leather... etc. Here in KY, the law is pretty simple (even though a bit restrictive)... Under 21... you must wear a helmet, even as passenger... Over 21, you can go without a helmet as long as you've had your Motorcycle endorsement 1-yr or more (does not include permit), and you must carry a minimum level of health insurance (no medicaid/medicare) and/or a minimum level of personal injury protection on your bike's insurance. After you have "experience" riding for a year with endorsement and carry sufficient insurance... ride however you want...

Personally, regardless of laws... every time I ride, I wear a helmet, jeans (also leather chaps in cold weather, long trips, or Interstate travel), leather jacket (even in summer), sturdy leather boots, and leather gloves (even in summer). As the old saying goes... "There are two types of bikers... those that have gone down, and those that will go down.", and if you've ever hit pavement at any speed... a little leather (and head protection) between you and the ground is a GOOD THING. I just shake my head whenever I see our local teenagers on their crotch-rockets... running 100mph...wearing shorts and flip-flops... Sure, it's their choice... and I support their right to their choice... while I disagree with their choice... its not my "right" to inflict my beliefs on them... which is what the states (gov't in general) need to understand...

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2012 12:21:05 AM PST
I'm with you on the helmet and seatbelt laws, but cell phones are a separate issue. Not wearing a seatbelt doesn't have a significant impact on one's ability to control their vehicle. That's far from the case with cell phone usage. I lost track long ago of the number times my life has been jeopardized by some cager on his phone.
Personally, I think it's far too easy to get licensed in this country.

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 5:49:34 PM PST
I wouldn't care if you rode in shorts and sandals, as long as I didn't have to pay higher Insurance premiums to pay for your stupidity. I Have been riding since 1967. I have crashed. We all will sooner or later. Last year my wife and I happened upon a crash scene at an intersection that just happened. Man

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 7:56:56 PM PST
I am good with the "no helmet law as long" as someone who rides without a helmet has enough life insurance and medical insurance so the state is not required to pay the bill for them to be on life support for months or go through some kind of elongated rehab because of a head injury. People can not always make smart decision about their safety due and when states end up having to take care of these people cause of their indiscretions than I think the state has a right to protect their citizens and their own financial survival. I have a sister who at 45 got into a car accident that caused her brain stem to be injured mainly because she was not wearing her seat belt. Now she will live in a nursing home for the rest of her life and the state has to foot the pay the bill. When people don't do everything possible to prevent injury or death is that nature's natural selection process? :-)

Posted on Feb 17, 2012 1:53:28 AM PST
Carl G says:
While wearing a helmet isn't a guarantee the rider/passenger will survive a crash, it has shown to reduce the amount of blunt impact trauma. If someone doesn't value their life enough to do all they can to protect themselves, why should anyone else!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2012 10:43:18 PM PST
You expect people to do EVERYTHING they can to 'protect themselves'? Trust me, man, that would involve a lot more than a helmet, and would probably necessitate giving up riding...

Sticking a helmet on my head hampers my enjoyment of riding. I don't own a car - I don't like them. Sticking a helmet around my face is like finding a new way to put me in a cage.
Besides, I guarentee I'm more aware of my surroundings with my 'helmet' (/hat...) than you are with your head-cage.
But yes, GENERALLY-SPEAKING a full-face, DOT (or higher) certified helmet will provide more head protection IN THE EVENT of a crash. They do not reduce likelihood (if anything, many INCREASE likelihood), and they can, in rare cases, be the CAUSE of serious injury or death (in all fairness though, this is a very small minority of cases). Oh, and there's also the possibility of insects getting stuck inside (if you ride with the visor open). Last thing I want while I'm riding is some wasp stinging my cheekbone.

Posted on Feb 17, 2012 11:40:13 PM PST
Carl G says:
For those over the age of 21, I feel riding with or without a helmet should be a personal decision but with the understanding that if they are involved in a crash and don't have medical coverage, they are on their own. Unless of course they have agreed to be a organ donor.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2012 3:04:12 PM PST
spookiewon says:
And only four have no helmet requirement at all: Iowa, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Colorado. (I live and ride on the Iowa/Illinois border.) The remaining 26 either require a helmet under the age of 17, 18, 20, or in the case of Maine, 14. What's your point?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2012 3:06:35 PM PST
Carl G says:
What's your point?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2012 3:08:16 PM PST
spookiewon says:
I also use helmet bluetooth. It's my reason for wearing a helmet. I use 3/4 and modular full-face helmets (I own several helmets) because bluetooth doesn't seem to work properly in a half helmet. Full-face helmets that are not modular are way to difficult to get on if they fit properly. If they go on easily, they are too big to be effective.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2012 3:11:02 PM PST
spookiewon says:
I can't include cell-phone laws with helmet and seat-belt laws. The motorcyclist who has no helmet kills only him/herself. The distracted driver on the phone kills and injures others. Not at all the same thing.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2012 3:19:08 PM PST
spookiewon says:
I just don't understand you post. Are you saying that the vast majority of states don't restrict an adult's right to ride without helmet? That Texas is a leader in this regard? I don't understand what point you are trying to make as regards wearing or not wearing and requiring or not requiring a helmet.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2012 3:36:40 PM PST
Carl G says:
I have a Blue Ant Interphone for my 3/4 and it just doesn't have the volume I need to hear above the wind noise at highway speeds. I haven't tried it on my modular helmet because it is already crowded with a J&M system for the radio and intercom. But, even the modular helmet is too noisy at highway speeds.
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Initial post:  Oct 14, 2011
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