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Government released death stats from first three years after Florida repealed its helmet law. I'm not interested in the raw numbers so much as the crash death rate went from 30 deaths per 1000 crashes to 38 deaths per 1000 crashes. I actually would have thought a higher increase was likely. Discuss.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/08/09/motorcycle.deaths.ap/index.html
 
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Re: So is anyone really surprised this is what happens when helmet laws get repe

I would have thought a higher increase also but 25% is a pretty substantial increase.

Off topic but how did you arrive at your screen name? My nickname is Turtle and I started to use some form of it in my screen name. So, are you a turtle?
 

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Re: So is anyone really surprised this is what happens when helmet laws get repe

To put it in a little bit of perspective, the population of Florida is 15982378. That means the deaths went from 480 to 620. That is only in Florida. Louisiana saw a 100% increase in the death rate.

I feel it would be someone's choice to wear a helmet or not except that we the taxpayers and insurance carriers feel the burden of these deaths in the forms of higher taxation and higher insurance rates.

As a researcher, I can state with fair certainty that any group of people could grab the same data set, run many different regression analyses, and come up with COMPLETELY different numbers. However, I doubt that you would ever come across numbers that showed no effect by repealing the helmet laws.

I personally don't mind if you don't want to wear a helmet, just PLEASE carry insurance so I don't see my medical costs go up if/when you hit the asphalt.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think you're right about the taxpayers and insurance costs rising dramatically, the article also mentioned quite a substabtial increase in the amount of money needed to treat motorcycle crashes. It also doesn't mention anything on paralysis and similarly devastating injuries. If deaths and severe injuries are going up at the same time medical costs go up it could push insurance to ride past the point of being affordable for the vast majority of people and I don't think any of us wants that as it most likely means more people riding without insurance at all.


vtwinheaven: My screen name is an homage to my alma mater, though I sometimes wish I really were such a majestic creature  ;D
 

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Re: So is anyone really surprised this is what happens when helmet laws get repe

I didn't see the raw numbers in the Florida article, but taking 30.8/1000 and 38.8/1000 as the absolute numbers (I know, they are not, they are reflective of the whole population, but that actually increases the statistical power of the study, and of my analysis), the odds ratio for a negative outcome (i.e. death) in helmet law vs. non-helmet law Florida is only 1.27. Given that the 95% confidence interval for the odds ratio overlaps 1 (0.786 to 2.056), the conclusion that I see is that there is not a statistically significant increase in the percentage of motorcycle accidents that end in rider death following repealing of the helmet law.

However -- that does not address the question of the relative risk for an individual rider's dying when he/she wears a helmet or does not wear a helmet on a given ride. We'd need significantly more info to do that analysis.

<soapbox>
That said, I'm a HUGE proponent of ATGATT for me and any passengers I might be carrying. My only traffic-related get-off happened when I was "just running a few block across town" to get some dinner, and wasn't wearing appropriate pants (I was wearing scrubs). I munged my shin up on my peg during the get-off. Not seriously hurt, but a great wakeup call. However, I still feel that helmet laws are girded too tightly. Personal responsibility for personal decisions is at the heart of a free society, IMHO. There are, no doubt, financial concerns that weigh on the helmet law discussion (i.e. tax dollars paying for ER treatment of under/uninsured riders), but I still feel that we each deserve the choice re: what we do with and put into our own bodies, as long as the risk is personal.
</soapbox>
 

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They were considering repealing the law in Michigan as well. All the big Harley guys are totally for a no helmet law, in that they would NEVER wear one.

I don't think that the gov't should be able to tell you if you should or should not protect yourself, I think it's entirely your choice. But i do think they need to mandate something for children.. I don't think a parent thats willing to risk his/her own life and not wear one should be allowed to ride with a kid on the back with no protection either.

If they repeal the law, I'm still going to wear mine. I've been through a crash, and the helmet really saved me.
 

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i agree and will always wear my helmet, but i never understand why there is not a heated debate about buckling up seat belts.
 

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My motto is, no ride is too short to do up your helmet... of course that implies that you have one on your head. I have destroyed two helmets. one at 5mph and one at 85mph. I also used to be a bike mechanic in my past life. One of the things I would do is post crash analysys for the police. I have seen some nasty stuff. I can't imagine riding without one
 

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Re: So is anyone really surprised this is what happens when helmet laws get repe

maybe they should also add in the increased numbers of total new rider in the last 3 years over the previous 3 years increase. Motorcycle are very popular now a days and very fashionable too.


Maybe next with and post the increased death toll when they raised the speed limit on the highways from 55 to 65 next.
 

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quintin said:
i agree and will always wear my helmet, but i never understand why there is not a heated debate about buckling up seat belts.
or how about children in saftey seats, or drinking and driving or elderly drivers or teenage drivers!!! Why not!!!!
 

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Re: So is anyone really surprised this is what happens when helmet laws get repe

Here's a question for all those who support the No Helmet Law:

If the information proves that the death/paralysis numbers increase significantly with the presence of the no helmet laws, should the rest of society be forced to pay tenfold for others' "personal choices"?

I can't justify paying double in insurance and even more for health insurance for my future family b/c a group of people don't want to be uncool and wear a helmet. If a non-helmet wearing rider t-bones a car, flips end over end, and dies b/c he's not wearing a helmet; he's not only affecting his family, but he's (she's) seriously traumatized the family driving the car as they have now been a part of an involuntary manslaughter case.

The more I sit here and act like I'm working, I'm trying to rationalize not wearing a helmet, but I can't. Someone please help me understand why you wouldn't want to wear a helmet. I would think it's b/c it's uncool, but my helmet looks pretty cool. Please, help me understand the logic.
 

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same here... any pro no helmet people out there want to offer it up???

And I do not think we should have to pay increased insurance rates for other peoples descision not to protect themselves..
 

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One thing that doesn't show up in the statistics- you don't end up with the same sort of people riding when helmet laws are enacted, or go away.

When California passed its helmet law, the number of riders went down.  A lot of people stopped riding, because for them it was all about parading around and looking "cool", something that obviously wasn't possible if they had to wear a helmet.  So the people who are the most likely to get into accidents leave the sport when helmet laws are enacted.  It would seem to be no great leap to assume that repealing helmet laws would attract these same sort of people to ride.

Bill
 

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HartSplash said:
same here... any pro no helmet people out there want to offer it up???

And I do not think we should have to pay increased insurance rates for other peoples descision not to protect themselves..
Come to florida where maybe 30% of the poeple driving cars on the road today don't have auto insurance. I have uninsured motorist coverage on my policy. Let's start with the big fish before we goto the little fish. Same thing with the seat belt and child saftey seat laws.

Car = Big Fish Motorcycles = Little Fish.
 

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Ok, here's the thing.  People that don't wear helmets when there is not a helmet law are doing so to look "cool" or to make everyone else (and themselves) think they are some badbutt biker.  I don't want to hear all that phooey about "the government is infringing upon my rights... blah blah blah."  Riding a motorcycle is not a right.  It's a privlage.  Fair and simple.  Same as driving a car.  There are other ways to get from point A to point B.  I think they SHOULD make laws like this.  It keeps people safe, regardless of if they want to look cool or not.  Keeps my insurance down.  Keeps your insurance down.  And whether you agree with them or not, the government wants to keep you alive.  They need your tax money.
 
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Re: So is anyone really surprised this is what happens when helmet laws get repe

First off, I'm an ATGATT rider.

Second, I think helmet laws are anti-Darwinian.

Third, for 40-odd years I've heard the "disproportionate burden on the taxpayer" argument yet I, nor the AMA, have yet to see anyone present credible proof of this "burden".
 

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Re: So is anyone really surprised this is what happens when helmet laws get repe

Can I justify not wanting to wear a helmet, except maybe for those extreme days driving through Lake Havasu when it's 127 degrees out there (I still wore my helmet that day, for the record)? Absolutely not. Not in any way.

Can I justify asking society at large to pay for the medical care for people who choose not to wear a helmet? Absolutely. In the medical system in America, there is a moral obligation to treat each and every single person who walks/limps/is wheeled through the ER doors. Every person. Irrespective of how they got hurt, irrespective of their ability to pay for the treatment. Is motorcycling more dangerous than riding in a car? I think so, but I've not seen the numbers. Does riding w/o a helmet lead to significantly, not anecdotally, higher medical bills than motorcycling with a helmet? That I'm not as convinced of. In fact, it may lead to lower medical bills, because if you don't have a brain bucket on, you might be more likely to be DOA and not require a significant financial investment on the part of the ER and the health care system as a whole. But let's assume that no helmet ==> higher ER and medical costs. Should we mandate helmet use, then? Ok, let's do it. Oh, and by the way, you're also at a higher risk for injury and incurring medical expenses if you ride a bike, shoot guns, eat McDonald's, fail to get 30 mins of elevated heart rate 3X/week, cook your food too long, skateboard, ski, rock climb, work construction, play professional sports and oh, I don't know, several hundred things any of us could think of at the drop of a hat. So let's just go on ahead and make all of them illegal, as well.

Sure, that may seem a little over the top, and it is ... it's a reductio ad absurdum. However, legislating behavior to minimize the risk to the individual behaving in manner X, and not to those around him/her, sure seems like a pretty glaring breach of personal liberty.
 
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