When I had my firts bikes, I rode for years without using a helmet in the city, although it was compulsory (the traffic cops wereunarmed, only for traffic violations) had very old and slow machines thus they couldn't catch us. However, almost every time I'd go for an out of the city ride, I wore the helmet. I always founded uncomfortable to wear any kind of helmet unless riding in the cold (I ride the whole year round unless is snowing).
Recently I read some reports that in some states in the US where the use of helmet has been made mandatory, the number of incidents have actually increased since, remaining the same percentage of deaths. It seems also that whilst before the new laws the most commen cause of motorcycle accidents were cars hitting bikes from behind, with the introduction of the use of helmet now the main cause of accidents is motorcycles hitting cars from behind, exactly the opposite.
Besides, there is an increment of bikers running away from the police, who cannot caught them (only in bad films can a polica car catch a well ridden by a sober person 750cc and above sports bike!!!)
Personally, I'm very conscious that you ride a lot faster if I'm wearing a full riding suit and helmet with the visor down. That's what some people were arguing in that forum; if ride with only your sunglasses on, would you ride more than 50-60 MPH? With the wind moving your glasses and the bugs smashing up against your face?
In my opinion, I rather don't use the helmet at low speeds and inside town, but yes if I'm riding in a motorway (US = highway)...
I've heard many arguments that don't make sense to me, for example, well in the US they don't care because not having national health service, if you pop your head open and don't have insurance, the state doesn't pay you. meanwhile, in Europe we take care of the citizens to save taxpayers money (yeah, right, what about people who smoke? Surely the percentage of smokers who get cancer is a lot higher than the motorcyclist that have accidents and die for not wearing a helmet?
Finally, you can join the Army at 18 and get shoot at, maybe wounded or killed invading some country which never attacked yours but you can't decided about your own head????
What do you people think?????
Very interesting answer, KK. And interesting that you point out the American cult for the outlaw, very easy to notice in many films.
To the fact that you say you don't want to use taxpayers money to pay for people who don't wear a helmet, I answer, "fair enough, but I don't want to spend a cent trying to cure anyone who gets a cancer related to smoking". What about cowboys riding horses with a cow boy hat? Or "I don't want to pay a cent for those who get wounded during the invasion of a foreign country which never attacked us in first place", and here we get in a sour point, since many in your and my country decided that invading Irak was a good idea, and also for your job related to the military and my being an ex Italian army commanding officer...
But I think the most important point you missed in your reply is: Are there statistics proven riders who crash would have avoided serious injuries by wearing a helmet? Are those statistics the right ones to be used for those cases? I mention this because, one of the things I learnt doing a MSc, is how important are the statistic methods for a scientific paper and for information in general. You might not want to believe it, but there are peer-reviewed published scientific papers that used wrong statistical methods therefore their conclusions are somehow or totally wrong. Also, depends how you present the result. Here in Italy, ebay trying to get customers to use pay pal, writes "25 % of Italian customers prefer pay pal" as it was a good number!!!
My point is: is there a serious study, using the right statistics, that show the use of crash helmets could have save a number of people who died or suffered serious head injuries for not wearing a helmet? In my own experience, having feel off my bike 8-9 times in my first 4 years of riding when I used to do it like a mad man, and one recently, as you know, hovewer I never hit my head anywhere. One of the reasons could be that I feel always at low speed, either for braking too hard in wet and muddy, a tyre suddendly blown up or taking a turn far too fast. But this is one man, not statistically significant. But it's myself, therefore I know it for sure, LOL.
I think that wearing a helmet you lose visibility and hearing, and besides, and maybe more important, you go faster; that is was the reports I've read from the US say, also.
I believe you won't try to run away from the police, neither would I, specially in the US where case of police violence are well known, but surely the temptation is there to be taken, maybe if you had a beer too many, if you're an illegal immigrant, if you aren't WASP (and have money in the bank), or m aybe because you're just young and a bit crazy...Or one of our religious people who believe god rides with'em? People do try to run from the police in the US, anyway, check on youtube, a lad did so even in his bicycle, hahaha, and it seems he did manage to escape when two lorries close down to get him trapped in a highway, he passed but the two police cars behind don't!!!
I wonder if the whole helmet industry did not do (does) lobbying to make money selling us a product that, it could save our lives, true (but it needs to be demonstrated with a proper scientific work) but in the other hand, because the lose of visibility and hearing and the fact that allows to ride at maximum speed, can cause MORE accidents that just riding your bike at a comfortable 40-45 MPH enjoying the wind
Finally, you worry about young people driving, and I agree in the US you begin driving too young, but also in many states there isn't any mandatory vehicle control (in Italy you must do every 2 years, in the UK every year in specific garages where you get brakes, lights, seat belts and poluttion levels controlled). I also worry about very old people riding big MVP or vans...People without car insurance...And also let me tell you this: I had my car hitten 3 times in WI in a year and a half. Twice the bloody car was parked, the third time I was in a mall, waiting for people to cross the road crossing, when this woman hit me from a side, going backwards in the wrong sense...I also wondering if the cult and the absolute need of a car in the US, plus the fact that in the absence of a national ID card the US government identifies people through their driving licences, leads to a far too easy release of driving licences? What do you think?
For me it is all about choice. I live in South Carolina..we have no mandantory helmet law for adults over 21. I wear one sometimes, and other times I do not. This is supposed to be a free country. I can see being forced to do something if it regards the safety of others..but, my own safety is my business. Same with a seatbelt in cars. We are forced to wear one here, but I seldom do. If I have a wreck and am not wearing the seat belt, the only one likely to be hurt is me. By me not wearing a seatbelt I am not likely to hurt someone else..what am I gonna do, fly out of the car and spear you to death? Not likely. As far as the government and taxpayers having to pick up the hospital bill? Well, I'd assume a rider with no helmet is more likely to be DOA- So, no bills to worry about. Again, My Life-My Choice. And it should remain that way.
Too bad I cannot cross state lines though as all surrounding states are mandantory helmet states. geez..