Mar 29, 2012

MN Helmet Law

Big surprise, ABATE is opposing the new attempt to pass a helmet law in Minnesota. I can't remember the last time I agreed with ABATE, but this is sort of one of those times. I disagree on the need for a helmet law. Motorcyclists lost their "freedom" argument when seat belt "violations" became a primary offense in Minnesota. (Babble on about cagers wearing helmets, but we all know that's a non sequitur.) Our out-of-proportional miles ridden to highway deaths statistics are more than enough to move any sensible legislator to either do everything possible to improve motorcycle safety statistics or get the damn things off of the public roads. I'd rather they do the first.

ABATE chitters about having government "focus on public awareness, rider education, and crash prevention" as if that has a chance in hell of accomplishing anything. "Public awareness" of what? The 0.0001% of traffic that motorcycles amount to on a typical roadway? How about increasing the public's awareness that most motorcycle crashes are the fault of the motorcyclist (look at Colorado's data, for example)?

"Rider education" is such a empty promise that the MSF cautions its state providers not to try to connect training with lower mortality, morbidity, or crash statistics because "in societies where rider training was both widely available and in generally mandatory, they were unable to find conclusive evidence that riders without training were more likely to be involved in accidents." Wikipedia has a fairly extensive page on Motorcycle Training and their entry is consistent with everything I've read.

And, finally, "crash prevention." Gotta love that brilliant idea. "Hey, I just thought of something, let's all quit crashing." That'll work. We just put our heads together and make a wish, "I wanna stay rubber-side-down for ever, so help me Kenny Roberts."

Nope, the place where I agree with ABATE is the idiotic kiss up to rich guys on garage candy that allows folks who can put up a half-million dollar "reparation security" on their motorcycle "that provides medical expense benefits of at least $250,000 and at least that amount for the total of income loss, replacement services loss, funeral expense loss, survivor's economic loss, and survivor's replacement services loss." As Bruce Mike said in his From the Hip column this month, if this makes sense why can't the same 1%'ers "demand the same option regarding seat belts?"

Just pass the helmet law, fools. Quit trying to find revenue venues that you can pretend are not "taxes" (like every other charge, fine, levy, fee, or resource enhancement you fruitcakes who signed the No New Taxes Pledge have tacked on to the 99% to protect the assets of the 1% who own your useless asses) and do something useful. Either man-up and pass a helmet law or stick your heads back in the mud and pretend you're giving taxpayers some value for their money.


  1. Thomas,

    Thanks for alerting me to this bill.

    I have spoken to the authors, and they don't believe this bill will progress this session. It was introduced late, and there isn't adequate hearing time for the bill to be debated.

    I think that the authors were making a statement about the number of young motorcycle riders who suffer traumatic brain injuries and then become wards of the state, requiring nursing home care for the rest of their lives. They told me that the intent is to urge automobile insurers to create a risk pool for motorcycle riders along with motor vehicle drivers so that premium costs can be lower.

    Regarding parking spaces, I am curious - can't motorcycles be parked in a parking space like an automobile? I agree that the use of motorcycles decreases some of the effluents from automobiles, and their use should be encouraged.

    Thanks for checking in on this issue.

    Bev Scalze
    State Representative, 54B
    259 State Office Building
    100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
    St. Paul MN 55155

  2. Bev,

    I'd say about 3/4's of the inside garages in St. Paul and Minneapolis have "no motorcycles" posted on their entrances. Most of their crappy electronic sensors aren't capable of "seeing" a motorcycle and their operators are too busy reading romance novels to get up and switch the gate up. This is particularly galling in the municipal lots, since we're paying for that wasted space and can't use it.

    It's hard for me to imagine what the debate about helmets would be about. If you hear anyone say they don't work, assume it's a comedy act. If car drivers have to wear seat belts, motorcyclists (at the minimum) should be wearing decent protective gear. Helmets at the minimum.

    thanks for your interest,


Disagree? Bring it on. Have more to add? Feel free to set me straight. Unfortunately, Blogger doesn't do a great job of figuring out which Anonymous commenters are actually real people, not Russians or Chinese bots. I'm pretty ruthless about spam-labeling anonymous posts. If you have something worth saying, you shouldn't be afraid of using your ID.