Monday, March 31, 2008

"There are two kinds or riders..."

The article on the front page of the local paper started out with,

"Kristy O'Leary, of St. Louisville, has buried friends whose lives were lost in motorcycle crashes and has spent the past 12 years working to advocate motorcycle safety.
Yet, when she sets out for a ride, she does not put on a helmet."

A strange dichotomy that the article never really explains.
Granted, helmets can be hot and confining in warmer weather and the temptation to leave it at home or even strapped to one's sissy bar is strong. Ohio law states that only "novice" riders - endorsed riders with less than 1 years experience - non-endorsed riders with a learners permit, or riders under the age of 18 (I think) are required to wear a helmet.

In fact, the entire front page of the Newark Advocate was devoted to reports on motorcycle safety and an analysis of data compiled over the past several years by the Gannet News Service, the owner of several local papers in the state. (See the Motorcycle Crash Database)

Being a "novice" rider myself, I am required to wear a helmet. Having a good understanding of my riding skills (or rather a serious doubt of my abilities), I opted for what I consider to be better protection and chose a full face modular helmet. Yes, I know full face helmet doesn't fit the look of a cruiser. But hey, I figure if my safety instructor, who has 25 years of riding, admits to finding himself and his motorcycle horizontal on more than a couple of occasions, what are the odds that I will too? He liked to say that they are two kinds of riders: Those who have laid their bikes down and those who are going to.

After September, my "novice" status will convert to a standard endorsement and I'll no longer be required to wear a helmet. Will I continue to wear one? I suspect so. After all, there's only two kinds of riders.


RazorsEdge2112 said...

Good post. I respect those who choose to not wear a helmet. For me it is a necessity. If and when my daughter starts to ride, it will be a necessity for her.

Of course, Nevada is different. They require a DOT approved helmet at all times while the bike is moving.

What gets me are people who have access to the statistics and still publicly reject the facts. If someone doesn't want to wear one, so be it. To not wear one, tell others they shouldn't and reject the data and information gleaned from years and years of study, is a disservice to riders and even cagers.

Ride Safe!

Doug C said...

Ken: Very true. It's all a matter of choice, I suppose.

Of all the studies out there, there are not any that have data indicating morbidity due to head trama. Something like that should silence the detracters, but I doubt it.

Best to you!

Doug C