By Scott Cochran, Editor
I was tempted to dig through the morgue where we keep our back issues to see how many times I’ve written an editorial on helmets.
But then I realized this rant isn’t about helmets, it’s more about pushing back against the “nanny state” that is attacking our personal liberties with legislation designed “for our own good.”
At least that’s the position of the National Transportation Safety Board is taking.
Calling for all 50 states to enact mandatory helmet requirements for motorcycles, Christopher Hart, Vice Chairman of the NTSB (A Federal agency with little or no Congressional oversight) said that motorcycle fatalities have doubled, while total traffic deaths have declined, and that riding a motorcycle without a helmet is a “public health issue.”
I’m throwing a BS flag on that one Mr. Hart.
There’s nothing inherently dangerous to the non-riding public if a motorcyclist opts not to wear protective gear. It’s not contagious or likely to cause innocent bystanders harm.
However, let me state unequivocally that if you choose to ride without a helmet or protective gear, you are not exercising good common sense.
But, for full disclosure, there have been times when yours truly has ridden without a helmet. I don’t make it a habit, but it happens.
So, it’s not the wearing of the helmet that I oppose, it’s our Federal government (which represents us) using its power to force individual states to usurp personal freedoms, and use taxpayer (our money) funds to accomplish the agenda.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims the public pays when motorcyclists go down without helmets. “Only slightly more than half of motorcycle crash victims have private health insurance coverage. For patients without private insurance, a majority of medical costs are paid by the government.”
With the passage of Obama Care, everyone will be covered, but premiums of non-riders will increase to cover motorcycle accident victims.
Can you see the logical conclusion to this agenda?
If your activity causes my health insurance premiums to increase, and the government subsidizes health insurance, then it becomes a “public health issue” and government has an obligation to regulate it, or ban it outright.
What disturbs me the most is not what the NTSB is doing, but the absence of any outrage among civil libertarians over this.
Society, (aka The Government) does not own my body. It does not own my thoughts nor what I generate from my thoughts and actions.
As an adult I am (and rightly so) free to engage in various forms of self-destructive behavior.
I can smoke or drink alcohol to excess. I can eat whatever I want as much as I can afford and refuse to exercise. I do not have to visit a doctor or a dentist. My teeth can rot out and my body fall apart if I so choose.
I can ride horses and climb mountains without the first piece of safety gear. I can operate a chain saw without a minute of safety instruction. I can go for a swim in any river or ocean without having to wear a flotation device, and I don’t have to know how to swim.
I can have casual sex with as many strangers as I like (and risk contracting AIDS) without having to wear protection.
All of these activities are inherently dangerous to my personal health, so what’s different about riding a motorcycle without a helmet?
Not much, if you think about it.
The sad fact is that If we remain complacent, and do not defend personal liberty, no matter if it affects us or not, most of what active, fun loving adults enjoy will be banned as “too dangerous” by some new alphabet nanny agency. Most likely the National Organization for Boosting Life Expectancy or NOBLE in gov speak.
One day future generations will look back and wonder how the world survived with idiots smoking in public, sweet tea, fried food and motorcycle riders who rode without ballistic armor, airbags and full face helmets.
Sadly, they’ll never know what they missed.
Ride safe and always take the road less traveled.