Whilst perusing the world wide web for information about the latest motorcycle helmet law safety standards, I came across some interesting articles. 50 years after the UK government mandated the use of helmets on public roads, people are still bitching about it. Well nearly 50 years, anyway. Intrigued, I read a few of their arguments, just to see if they really were as nonsensical as you’d imagine. And they were. But they did manage to change my mind. Here’s why…
Believe it or not, I’ve got just the right amount of braincells to know that riding a motorcycle without the appropriate protection is a fairly dopey thing to do. I’ve done it before with disastrous consequences. There’s nothing like learning the hard way. But you can break your arms and legs till the cows come home, and it won’t kill you. If you break your head though, you might not get a chance to do it again.
That’s why from April 1973, you’ve got to wear a lid if you ride a bike on the road. If you don’t, and the five-0 catch you, they could fine you up to £500. Ouch. So why wouldn’t you? And what type of a person would argue that the motorcycle helmet law is a bad thing.
One argument that I’ve seen cropping up a few times is the ‘It’s my head, you can’t tell me what to do with it’ argument. This is the idea that it isn’t any of the governments business whether you wear a helmet or not, and for them to say you should is an infringement of your basic human rights. And whilst I know that sounds completely fucking stupid, maybe people should have the right to smash their face in, if they really want to.
Because if it’s a question of stopping anyone doing any unnecessary harm to themselves, there are plenty of things that harm (and kill) much more people than motorbikes do every year. Smoking, drinking and eating badly all contribute to thousands and thousands of deaths. But a cancer patient can still buy a packet of 20. An alcoholic can still buy a bottle of voddy. And a fat bastard can still buy a Mars bar. Nobody’s going to stop them. Should anyone stop them? If the government are really so keen on protecting life, maybe they should be doing more to address those things, rather than worrying about whether or not a few motorcyclist are wearing a helmet or not.
Another problem the anti-lidders have with the motorcycle helmet law is that it’s completely situational, i.e. it only applies when you’re on the road. If it’s so important to wear a helmet, why doesn’t motorcycle helmet law extend beyond the public highway. As far as the law is concerned, there is absolutely no need to wear a helmet when you’re riding a bike on private land. Even though it can be just as dangerous. They argue that a proper law, is a law wherever you are. If you shoot someone in the head, it doesn’t matter whether you’re on private land or a public highway; you’re braking the law. But that doesn’t wash with me because there are loads of things that you’re allowed to do on private land, but not in public. My favourite example is masturbation. Try getting away with that on the M25.
Of course not everyone has to wear a helmet. If you’re a practicing Sikh and you wear a turban, you don’t need to. This was always going to add fuel to the fire, wasn’t it? And I’d have to admit that I don’t know how comfortable I am with the ‘one rule for them and another for the rest of us’ thing. But only because I think it sets a dangerous precedent. It’s saying religion is more important than the law of the land. If one group of people can be exempt from a particular law because of something that they believe, why can’t any other group of people be exempt from any other law because of something they believe? If you ask me, that’s a much bigger issue than someone being made to wear a helmet when they don’t want to.
The most absurd argument that some people have though, is that helmets don’t actually save lives. Some argue that wearing a helmet is even more dangerous than not. This is complete bollocks. Of course helmets save lives. In fact they’ve saved my life countless times. But the anti-lidders don’t see it like that. Plenty of them say helmets can be an uncomfortable distraction or an insect trap, which can directly lead to a crash. Others say wearing any form of protection can lull you into a false sense of security, causing you to outride your ability and crash.
Some of them conveniently ignore the fact that motorcycle fatalities were dramatically reduced when the motorcycle helmet law came in. Others blame the downturn in deaths on better tyres, better brakes, better streetlights; as if those things magically improved overnight.
No, it’s nonsense. We should all wear our helmets when we’re riding our bikes, whether that’s on the road or not. I don’t think I’ll ever change my mind about that. But as far as the legislation goes, maybe that’s a step too far. Let’s be fair, it wouldn’t make much of a difference to most of us; anyone with any sense would wear a helmet whether it was the law or not. Perhaps we should let the daft lads who don’t want to wear one crack on. When they crash and stove their heads in, it’d be their own stupid fault. And if they end up killing themselves, well let’s just call it natural selection. After all Mother Nature works in very mysterious ways.
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Just read Boothy’s article on used bikes which was written and expressed really well I thought so I delved a bit deeper and found this, what fantastic well written words, keep up the good good work
Thanks very much, don’t forget to tell all your friends!
Well written Boothy.
3 crashes in the recent years for myself, one down a 20ft ditch, another headfirst through a driverside window, and the third this saturdsy just gone. Each time wearing an RPHA11 lid and without those i would not be here to tell the tale, yeah ive gotten seriously injured, but not a fatality on another spreadsheet for accidents and mistakes which i openly admit to.
I can categorically say that a helmet can and will save your life. Especially after I had a 3 tMerc Sprinter pressing down on my head after I was knocked off.
Actually, some very good valid points made in this article! Which make you think and laugh.
However, unfortunately (And someone who works for the emergency services) we’re not allowed to let someone do something by their own stupid fault or call it natural selection! Because there’s always someone to blame or sue if they do do something stupid!🙄 I’d love to finalise something as….they made their own decision, a stupid decision but their decision all the same! It just doesn’t happen.
Best article I’ve read in a long time. More please
Glad ya liked it xx
Scenario: a biker, without a lid gets nailed right between the eyes by a big bug or stone or whatever. Dazed, the biker drifts or swerves into oncoming traffic, hits an oncoming car and kills the driver and passenger.
It should be the individuals right to choose whatever he or she wants to do. I’m a Brit living in Illinois USA and it amazes me how many don’t put a lid on. Now to be fair, most of the bikers out here are simply in the way as they crawl by on their harleys.
All the same, as often as not: laws don’t exist to protect the individual, they exist to protect the collective. So the fat bastard can eat as many Mars bars as he likes, the only people he’s likely to hurt is the ambulance crew when they put their backs out getting him in the ambo
Don’t be rude to Al
Ok. If busting around a field, throw a lid on. When shifting it across a carpark, from van to track garage…Nah, you’re alright.
you are an idiot if you don’t where a helmet , but it is not for the idiots in government to MAKE you where one !!
i never where a helmet myself
Maybe you should and you would not confuse “where” for “wear” …
Absolutely right. Except for “where.” (wear)
Nice article Boothy, just a couple of points… The fat bastard would definitely buy a Double-bloody-Decker. No question.
And why bring Trump into the helmet law debate? (Setting a dangerous President / precedent)
Whoops… Sorry about that one Hairy. Thanks for pointing it out!
Well said sir! Helmets are a must and they also look bloody cool! Maybe we should let Darwinism run it’s course.
Nailed it Boothy, and so eloquently put
I try my best x
Sikh’s limited to 50cc so don’t bothered changing your God.
That’s not true, there’s no limit.
Well said Boothy!
You shouldn’t have to wear a helmet, as long as a disclaimer is signed that the NHS don’t treat you at the tax payers expense.
that would be the tax i pay then , so we can add to the list of people the NHS wont treat , Smokers, drinkers , people with BMI over 25 ?
You have a point but it is knowing where to draw the line, drinking, smoking and getting fat are pretty much basic pleasures of life. Riding a motorcycle is to i think, but how much pleasure does not wearing a helmet take away from riding ? We know minor bumps to the head can be catastrophic and if long term disability, think of the family who have to live with that in what ever guise.
Yeah, I’d vote for that.
How about just people who ride motorcycles in general won’t be treated by public health? Would you vote for that? I think it’s a slippery slope.
Well put! You ride your bike without a lid, bin it and need brain surgery cough up the cash to pay for the surgery..simples
I feel like this is not a far reach from saying if you ride a bike at all instead of the statistically much safer car then you have to pay your own medical bills though.
Maybe one to bring up when you do another legal hints and tips vid. When I have had a turd helmet in the past and it steamed up I’d ride with the visor open. In the rain or at any speed I may aswell have left the steamed up visor down, I couldn’t see shit. So on that how did these neanderthals deal with no lid?..
Also is it any different to Johnny gixxer riding around in shorts and t-shirt wearing a smart price helmet?