Flipping through the channels on the television, you’ll hear a lot of talk about motorcycle helmet laws. I thought to myself: What do the motorcyclists think about legislation such as House Bill 109 “Require Safety Helmets/Under 21”? Under certain conditions, it would allow motorcyclists and passengers to ride without helmets if they are over 21.
We are now gearing up for motorcycle racing season at my house, and my husband does land-speed racing, often going 200-plus mph. Yes, this is in a controlled environment. To see and hear what 206.98 mph looks like, watch here:There has never been a doubt in our minds that when you get on a motorcycle you should wear a helmet and proper clothing, even in North Carolina’s humid summers. When most people ride their bikes, they do it to enjoy the ride and feel the wind on their backs. But we also agree that if you are not going to wear one, you are responsible for what may happen.
There are many catchphrases that you will hear around motorcycle riders, including, “It isn’t about if you go down – it is when are you doing down.” Motorcyclists all have their own stories about when they have gotten into an accident. Another catchphrase is “the only difference a helmet would make is whether you have an open or a closed casket.” Many will tell you that the fall was scary but they are were saved not only by their helmet but by the gear (i.e. Kevlar accessories, jackets, gloves, etc.) that was worn. Motorcyclists will also tell you that if you do not want to wear a helmet, then that is your choice and you should be responsible for what happens to you.
Aside from leaving it up to riders whether they wear a helmet, also there is a question that comes to mind when looking at the special provisions in HB 109. How are the limitations going to be regulated? How do you know someone is over 21 when riding a motorcycle? And how do you know whether or not they have medical insurance? How do you know if they have had a motorcycle license for more than a year? Unless someone is stopped for something specific, I don’t know how the rules can be enforced.
While the motorcycle community doesn’t seem to mind the bill and there is the need for personal responsibility on the rider’s part, let’s hope that while we are enjoying our motorcycle ride and the wind on our back, someone doesn’t interrupt the ride.