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Old 08-21-2014, 12:31 AM   #1
catweasel67 OP
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Do we have an ethical/financial responsibility to wear a helmet?

Do we have an ethical/financial responsibility to wear a helmet?

There's no denying that wearing a helmet reduces the chances of becoming a courgette (that's a zucchini to you colonials), there's plenty of studies, statistics and even if there weren't, common sense would, I hope, prevail.

But...

Should it be compulsory?

I don't want to have a pros and cons discussion on helmets, (types of helmet) so let's try and steer clear of that, but I was thinking that a discussion centred around the ethics of it all (first person to even mention "morals" gets a rhetorical slap around the head with a fish) might be interesting.

Making the assumption that one of our society's primary obligations is to protect us, and our freedoms - where's the line when it comes to head-gear?

The Financial Argument
Should our medical care system be a factor? In most of Europe, we've social health care and, apart from some pretty exceptional cases, all emergency treatment is "free". By "free", I mean the tax-payers cough up the dosh each time but from a purely financial point of view, a roadside death is cheaper than treatment. But that's only treatment - there are other financial aspects to be considered - sick leave, cover for that sick leave, training, re-training, etc etc.

A quick google found a statement from the CDC which states:
"The economic cost to society is dramatic. “In 2010, approximately $3 billion was saved as a result of helmet use in the U.S.; however, another $1.4 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.”

So, I'd say, from a financial perspective, assuming that statement to be correct and that the principle of cost savings can be carried across to other, more civilised , nations, there's a strong financial argument that helmets should be mandatory. I'm gonna call that a +1 for mandatory helmet laws.

"Organcycles"
Like it or not, when we're hit, we're often hit hard and when we're helmetless, a lot of us perish. But our organs don't, at least not straight away. In 2009 a research group out of Michigan University claimed that organ donations rise by 10% post helmet law repeal. That seems to be a +1 for self-determination, albeit a macabre +1.

Unfortunately, I've no idea what the financial value of that extra 10% but let's assume they're all "cute as a button" kids who grow up to be rocket surgeons who can tell the difference between "their" and "there" so that's a firm +1 against mandatory laws.

1 all.


But what about the ethical questions?
Well, we accept speed limits, seat-belt laws and all of the other laws that society has deemed to be necessary (do not murder thou neighbours donkey etc) so why not helmet laws? What is so very different about helmets that it provokes such ire (amongst more than a few) when we're told we have to wear one?

What about our right to decide for ourselves? It's not as if, were the helmet law repealed, there's be another one that says "thou must not wear helmets". We'd have freedom of choice to wear, or not, depending on our personal preferences.

To me, this is the strongest argument against mandatory laws. I believe we should have the choice.


FWIW - I'm pro helmet use but against a law that dictates that I must wear one. There are situations where I'd not wear one and don't where the law permits. Slow moving traffic/traffic jams being the main one.

I'm sure there's more to consider, possibly something critical that it'd change my mind. Or possibly some of my admittedly light-weight, arguments are flawed?
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Old 08-21-2014, 12:37 AM   #2
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Aboslutely not.

We already have to many stupid people running around, we need to allow Darwinism to take its course for the betterment of the species.
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Old 08-21-2014, 12:43 AM   #3
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Aboslutely not.

We already have to many stupid people running around, we need to allow Darwinism to take its course for the betterment of the species.
Ahh yes, my bad, I didn't list "Darwinism"
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Old 08-21-2014, 01:18 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by catweasel67 View Post
Do we have an ethical/financial responsibility to wear a helmet?

Should it be compulsory?

Should our medical care system be a factor?
For Australia I think the answer is, yes. Like much of Europe we also have a 'free' universal heath care system. The overwhelming major of people in this country believe that if the taxpayer is expected to pick up the costs of an accident, then it is only fair that a motorist or motorcycle rider take a minimum level of care to limit their injuries.

The wearing of seat belts and helmets on motorcycles has been compulsory in every state in Australia for over 40 years.
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:53 AM   #5
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So, you don't want to wear seats? We made the airbag. I'm sure they'll invent something to take care of those who object to helmets - there will be no law to restrict your freedom, you just won't be able to hurt yourself.
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Old 08-21-2014, 03:54 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by JohnCW View Post
For Australia I think the answer is, yes. Like much of Europe we also have a 'free' universal heath care system. The overwhelming major of people in this country believe that if the taxpayer is expected to pick up the costs of an accident, then it is only fair that a motorist or motorcycle rider take a minimum level of care to limit their injuries.

The wearing of seat belts and helmets on motorcycles has been compulsory in every state in Australia for over 40 years.
This is a interesting but dangerous argument, where is the line on reducing risky behavior?

No one will argue the fact that if you are involved in a motorcycle accident you are far more likely to be injured, and that the severity of those injuries is typically greater than those sustained in a similar auto accident. At what point does the non-riding public have the right to demand that motorcycles be outlawed to reduce the public burden of paying for these injuries?
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:00 AM   #7
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No adult should be required to wear a helmet as long as such an adult doesn't expect ME to pay for his/her medical bills. You see, it is very simple.
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:06 AM   #8
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No adult should be required to wear a helmet as long as such an adult doesn't expect ME to pay for his/her medical bills. You see, it is very simple.
It is very simple, until you add socialized medicine as part of the equation. Then it becomes an argument of "If we are paying for it, then we can dictate the rules"

Personally I think that it should be a personal decision for anybody that is of a legal age to make, however with the current level of nanny state legislation I am shocked that there are any states in the US that still allow adults to make that decision.
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:06 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by rockstert View Post
No adult should be required to wear a helmet as long as such an adult doesn't expect ME to pay for his/her medical bills. You see, it is very simple.
So you'd be in favour of mandatory special insurance/extra insurance for those who don't want to wear a helmet?

Which, on the face it sounds sensible...

but assuming you answered "yes" to that..


What about ABS? How about the new body airbag thingies they're developing? Traction control? And, assuming they ever scientifically prove it has benefits - training? A minimum level of ATGATT? High-viz? Riding after dark? Riding in snow and/or icy conditions?
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:12 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by catweasel67 View Post
So you'd be in favour of mandatory special insurance/extra insurance for those who don't want to wear a helmet?

Which, on the face it sounds sensible...

but assuming you answered "yes" to that..


What about ABS? How about the new body airbag thingies they're developing? Traction control? And, assuming they ever scientifically prove it has benefits - training? A minimum level of ATGATT? High-viz? Riding after dark? Riding in snow and/or icy conditions?
If it could be legislated that not wearing a helmet is a form of advance medical directive, then no special insurance may be necessary. When the first responders arrive on scene, they see that victim was not wearing a helmet, then advanced lifesaving techniques are not applied and the patient is transported to the hospital where the same is applied, no life support, no heroic measures. You simply live or you die based on your injuries. The beauty in this is that stabilizing a badly broken leg would not be considered an advanced lifesaving technique, so they stabilize your leg and transport you to the hospital to have your leg set and placed in a cast. Traumatic head injury, you are on your own.....
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:14 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Navy Chief View Post
It is very simple, until you add socialized medicine as part of the equation. Then it becomes an argument of "If we are paying for it, then we can dictate the rules"
Which can just as easily become "motorcycles are dangerous, now they are illegal".
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:16 AM   #12
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Which can just as easily become "motorcycles are dangerous, now they are illegal".
Yep, which is what I said in an earlier post....
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:22 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Navy Chief View Post
This is a interesting but dangerous argument, where is the line on reducing risky behavior?

No one will argue the fact that if you are involved in a motorcycle accident you are far more likely to be injured, and that the severity of those injuries is typically greater than those sustained in a similar auto accident. At what point does the non-riding public have the right to demand that motorcycles be outlawed to reduce the public burden of paying for these injuries?
I'd happily support outlawing motorcycles..

right after:
  • smoking
  • drinking
  • eating unhealthily
  • not exercising
  • poor education
  • (and probably quite a lot more)

all of which directly contribute towards the death of what? a thousand times more deaths than motorcycling and yet are all just as "voluntary" and all of which cost society what? a thousand times more than motorcycling accidents.

At least a thousand, it's probably far far higher but I'm buggered if I'm gonna work it out.
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:37 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by catweasel67 View Post
I'd happily support outlawing motorcycles..

right after:
  • smoking
  • drinking
  • eating unhealthily
  • not exercising
  • poor education
  • (and probably quite a lot more)

all of which directly contribute towards the death of what? a thousand times more deaths than motorcycling and yet are all just as "voluntary" and all of which cost society what? a thousand times more than motorcycling accidents.

At least a thousand, it's probably far far higher but I'm buggered if I'm gonna work it out.
Very true, however the number of people who voluntarily participate in those activities is much larger than the number of people who ride motorcycles. It becomes very easy for them to vote us out of existence while ignoring their own behaviors.
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:51 AM   #15
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NO! It should be up to the rider.
P.S. Me and my wife do wear ours.
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