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MCN  says:

If helmets weren’t compulsory would you still wear one?

Despite studies showing time and time again that helmets save lives, there is still a strong lobby, especially in the USA, who argue that the decision to wear one should be left to the rider and not imposed by law. Indeed, some states have repealed their mandatory helmet laws as recently as this year, with Michigan making helmets optional in April, to...

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  • Posted 2 years ago (03 January 2013 11:39)

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Sep 09

Posts: 905

Rogerborg says:

Oh, do be quiet Rukster, you ridiculous man

There are no cunning linguistics that can turn repression into freedom.  Unless you define "freedom" as "doing only what I think you should be allowed to do", which has been the rallying cry of all tyrants, ever.

All laws that protect the individual from themselves reduce us to children.  Nanny State knows best.  If you're happy to be treated as a child, then please be seen and not heard.

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Feb 09

Posts: 241

tris123 says:

hell yes

Some injuries sustained in the course of survivable accidents can be greatly minimised by wearing protective gear. Not only does this benefit the individual but also saves the NHS and emergency services using up their valuable resources, consequently benefiting all of us.
Armoured clothing should also be mandatory.

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Feb 09

Posts: 3

admered1 says:

Let the rider decide

The article seems to make it plain that you either wear a helmet all the time, come what may or you are some kind of a suicidal idiot that should not be trusted with their own well being. Well so much for rational debate and considered argument!

Helmets are not the safer option on all occasions. The same as riding with headlights on is not always the safer option on all occasions; if you are riding directly away from a bright low sun, then turn them off .. if you still can.

Helmets increase the weight of your head, restrict your peripheral vision and get very stuffy and steamy on hot days, thus increasing your head temperature and reducing concentration levels.

So, consider this. You are tasked with a job on a public exhibition ground involving riding at low speed, in close proximity to the general public on a hot sunny day. Is it safer overall to wear a helmet or leave it off. All things considered, most would say that it is safer without. Under British law this is a no-no, so the law prevents you from taking the safer choice because those that brought it in have taken that decision for you, and they have chosen the "Obvious" rather than the considered; as usual.

It also goes to a deeper point. Traditionally, under British law, you are protected from the actions of others; see murder, theft etc. Should the state now have the power to make laws that protect you from yourself, with no other direct harm to others implicated. The helmet law was the British state's first go at that and they got it wrong. Many of us still speak for the helmet law being repealed to remove this aberration in British justice. If this trend is to continue, how soon will "those silly bikers that keep riding those dangerous monstrosities" get legislated off the road "for their own good". How about mountain climbers, abseilers, parachutists, rally drivers, racing drivers, horse riders, cyclists, pedestrians ... people that go outside their homes ... people that stay in their homes. You get the idea.

Debates about how its a better idea to wear a helmet in some given situation are completely moot. They are not relevant. In 99+% of cases it is nuts to not wear a helmet, but even that isn't the point. Are you happy for the state to take your decision on safety away from you, when the blanket ban on helmetless riding proves they are incompetent in such matters.

Oh and in case you are wondering, I am a RoSPA ADA Diploma qualified advanced riding instructor going back more than 10 years, with regular retests. I lecture numpties on their atrocious riding quite regularly and will be found wearing a top of the range lid 99+% of the time. But I want the choice to ride without when *I* feel it is safer so to do, and most certainly do *NOT* trust the state to make that decision for me.

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Aug 02

Posts: 54

Tetley says:


Although I started riding before helmets became compulsory, I still had one.  I didn't wear it on a summers evening when I was riding to the village coffee bar, but I always wore it for riding to work. It seemed logical at the time. Then, when "jet" helmets became available, I bought one and wore it all the time, mostly to show off, I suppose.

 No-one wore armour - it hadn't been invented. Few riders could afford leather, so PVC jackets were common, as were the heavy coats you could get at the ex-army stores. Boots? You wore work boots, or maybe the sheepskin lined boots favoured by air crews. Gloves were whatever you could get hold of. Leg and back protection simply did not exist. When you fell off, it hurt, but you usually didn't get the horrendous injuries which are widely publicised today.

Those were the days when traffic was much sparser. Those were the days when car drivers expected to see motorcycles being used for transport to work. Those were the days when you could fall off your bike without the likelyhood of something else running over you.That was when bikes had maybe half the pace of todays bikes.

I bought my son his first motorbike when he was 6 years old. He wore a helmet from day one. He's 29 now and rides daily - he doesn't have a car. He doesn't question the logic, or the pro's and con's of wearing a helmet. He just does it. He wears a full-face helmet, a one-piece leather suit, biker boots and gloves with carbon inserts. He's happy, and it keeps Mum happy.

On the other hand, My Dad rode bikes during WW2. His protection was a tin hat and a coarse Khaki suit. Later, he was an enthusiastic rider and my Mum rode pillion. As was the norm in those days, they wore no helmets, no protection at all.

Toady I wear a flip-front helmet and ride mostly with the jaw section raised . I like the wind in my face. I wear a leather jacket or a mesh jacket , with jeans, and light boots and gloves.

Having experienced all sides of the subject, where does that leave my opinion on the compulsory wearing of helmets?

I'd say it is not always necessary, but sometimes it is essential. But how do we translate that into a reasonable philosophy ?

I'd say that where the speed limit is 30mph or less, helmets should be optional. Where the speed limit is more, helmets should always be worn.

Well, MCN did ask for my comments ...


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Feb 09

Posts: 3

admered1 says:

"Freedom Misconceptions" Misconceptions

Rukster said " For example, speed limits are imposed to protect, without them, given the 'freedom' to do whatever speed we wish, many more people would die."

Speed limits, in common with almost all of our laws (not the helmet law of course) are there to protect us _from_ someone_ else_ and that is vitally important. The speed limits protect the careful considered motorist from the nutter who would try and drive way too fast for the road. The fact that it also protects that driver from himself is entirely secondary.

tris123said "Some injuries sustained in the course of survivable accidents can be greatly minimised by wearing protective gear. Not only does this benefit the individual but also saves the NHS and emergency services using up their valuable resources, consequently benefiting all of us. Armoured clothing should also be mandatory."

Then I assume you would be all for a ban on motorcycles in general, and horse riding, and cycling, and walking down a pavement, and climbing a ladder. How far do you want to take this Nanny Knows Best approach, because as the horrible old saw says "It's a very slippery slope". Once you have allowed and justified one snick of the ratchet, then next is difficult to deny in the light of the previous (snick) and (snick) so on.

This is not some kind of ethereal, angels on the head of a needle type deal. My elder relatives give life and several limbs in the protection of our rights to decide for ourselves. Maybe you think its nothing of any importance, but your negligence of my freedom should not be the end of my freedom. What does it matter to you if I slam into a tree with no lid on; you don't even know me. The financial implications to you are microscopic; certainly when compared to the vast pile of cash that is wasted every day on PC rubbish and dodgy deals with the private sector, so that one won't fly.

Some people get a perverse sense of satisfaction interfering in other people's lives, when it has absolutely nothing to do with them. You want to wear a lid? You want to wear head to foot armour plating every time you set butt on your bike? Go ahead. I'm not stopping you. You want to wear a chicken suit instead? No worries. It isn't my business what you choose to wear. Why is it your business if choose not to?

Freedom starts and ends with the individual allowing others to get on with things that do not offer harm to that individual. If everyone did that, we would all be free, but while there are those that have decided off their own back, that they know better than the rider and that they have some ordained right to stick their oar in, then we are not free. End of.

As I said below. Let the rider decide.


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Jan 11

Posts: 8637

snev says:

Politics asides.

Still can't see an argument against wearing a helmet TBH.

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Jan 13

Posts: 2

Rukster says:


Thanks for you're insulting and childish reply. This forum is for voicing opinions not abusing. It's people like you that laws are made to protect others from! My example of 'speeding' was one of many which I could have chosen. The problem is bikers don't just risk the lives of themselves when not wearing a helmet. They're designed to keep the elements and nature out ie wind, water, insects, birds. Having personally experienced being hit by a bird at 60mph! If you lose control of a bike it has a tendency to also hit other things; property, vehicles, people etc. There's a reason cars have wind screens, the same theory applies to people riding bikes.

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Oct 10

Posts: 484

racingfan99 says:

Sure would. Always have done, even when it is so tempting in warm weather or overseas not to bother.
Just as a footnote. A friend was in an accident 4 months ago and even though the crash helmet took the massive direct impact with the road still there was a small bleed on the brain. Needless to say still in hospital and will be for a very long time with many problems but would not have lived without the helmet.
Bloody hell if you come off at 30mph without gloves it’s the ruination of skin on your hands and agony! Gloves should be compulsory too I reckon. Bikes are fantastic and I’d never be without one but the damage caused if you come off can be pretty horrific even at slow speeds.

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Mar 06

Posts: 2

k2col says:

I moved to the USA a couple of years ago and I have to admit to riding without a helmet a few times. Mainly just to see what it's like and never on a journey more than a few miles. It's a nice feeling I have to admit and it's great for nipping to the shops or beach without having to worry about what to do with your helmet when you arrive. But all in all, I much prefer wearing my helmet than not.

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Aug 02

Posts: 5

acreda says:

how you could not protect the most important part of your body....

I think this is the rule not for the most but to the minority - i think the law needs to be in place for the inexperienced or young who are not wise enough to the danger.  i liked the campgain "clip up for connor" about a young kid who lost life in a crash when his helmet wasnt done up....

if the helmet law was repealed then it would the people who were coming in to biking that would chance it in bad situations...




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