I should have seen it coming when the Michigan governor repealed the state’s helmet law. Michigan’s lawmakers had been trying in vain to get the helmet law repealed for years. But the previous governor (or shall we say governess), Jennifer Granholm stood like the rock of Gibraltar vetoing any such insanities. Well, not anymore buddy. The new guv’nor in town – Rick Snyder in Lansing had no such qualms about preventing dummies from committing suicide. Suicide? Is that too strong a word? Ah don’t think so. Such are the odds stacked against you that the slightest lack of judgment or even premonition and a failure to recover will mean you hit the pavement, donate your epidermis to mother earth or worse smear your gray matter on terra firma.
|Stoner and Rossi face the same risk as everyone else…|
I have seen this fallacious argument being bandied about time and again, particularly in the city I come from (Pune, India), that wearing helmets obstruct your hearing and field of vision. Oh, another favorite excuse – I only ride at 30 kmph so I don’t need one. Balls, bullshit, poppycock. As a former motorcycle rider and helmet user, I can assure you that nothing can be further away from the truth.
Even members of my family or my wife’s family prefer to tempt fate even though a few of them have sustained head injuries in motorcycle accidents. Heck, I have been in a motorcycle accident where a pedestrian hit the handlebars of my bike and my bike did a rather violent 270 deg pirouette and I was launched through the air tracing a graceful parabola. If I had not been wearing a helmet, I would be lying six feet under the ground. All to no avail.
So when I came to this country for studies, I assumed that the United States, being a first world country, would be strict on laws on safety – given the fact that life is valued more over here. My assumption would have been correct in the late seventies, when 49 states had helmet laws. Alas, not any more. According to the latest figures, only 19 states have helmet laws. Lawmakers did the predictable – do whatever will win you the Mr. (or Miss) Congeniality title, not do what is right. And the results have been predictable. The latest statistics show that while automobile related deaths have gone down by 22%, motorcycle related deaths have infact gone up by 13% between 1997 and 2010.
A comparative graph of motorcycle fatalities versus all traffic fatalities
Looks like Michigan’s governor Rick Snyder will be the latest Mr. Congeniality contestant.
Hey you must have heard the saying that you can take a horse to the water but you cannot make him drink it. My point is you can never get all the motorcyclists to wear helmets if you make it voluntary. It has to be mandatory.
But I have given up on our citizens and law-makers getting a dose of common-sense. Lawmakers should at least have a motorcycle version of the ‘Stand your ground’ law. The next of kin should not be able to sue anyone for vehicular manslaughter, should his or her loved (and stupid) one meet his maker thanks to his refusal to practice common sense.