Freedumb Riders

See! Helmet laws kill:

A New York man died Sunday while participating in a ride with 550 other motorcyclists to protest the state’s mandatory helmet law.

Police said Philip A. Contos, 55, hit his brakes and his motorcycle fishtailed. Contos was sent over the handlebars of his 1983 Harley Davidson and hit his head on the pavement.

He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

“The medical expert we discussed the case with who pronounced him deceased stated that he would’ve no doubt survived the accident had he been wearing a helmet,” state Trooper Jack Keller told ABC News 9 in Syracuse.

The ride Sunday was organized by American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, known as ABATE, a group of motorcycling enthusiasts who lobby for motorcycle awareness and freedom.

My first thought was I wonder which tea party chapter he belonged to, and my second thought is I hope the jackass was single, so some poor kids and wife didn’t lose their loved one in such a stupid, foolish, and pigheaded display of Darwinism.

(via OTB)






71 replies
  1. 1
    mellowjohn says:

    darwin is vindicated once again.

  2. 2
    Scott says:

    The ride Sunday was organized by American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, known as ABATE, a group of motorcycling enthusiasts who lobby for motorcycle awareness and freedom.

    I’d think that a big part of motorcycle awareness would involve being aware of what’ll happen to your head if you fall off your bike. :/

    True story: While on vacation a few weeks back, I saw a guy riding a motorcycle very fast down a highway while (1) not wearing a helmet, (2) not wearing any kind of protective clothing — shorts and t-shirt, and (3) talking on his cell phone.

  3. 3
    J says:

    Ah, wingnuts. If only the consequences of all their ridiculous views could be so quickly demonstrated to be harmful. In a similar vein, see this story from 2005 and Nebraska

    In September the Daily Nebraskan, the student newspaper at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, published a column by Derek Kieper that argued against mandatory seat-belt laws:
    As laws become increasingly strict for seat belts, fewer people will respond positively by buckling up in response to the laws. There seems to be a die-hard group of non-wearers out there who simply do not wish to buckle up no matter what the government does. I belong to this group. . . .
    Telling me to wear my seat belt is the same as making sure I have some sort of proper education before diving into a swimming pool. If I want to dive in without knowing how to swim, that is my right. And if I want to be the jerk that flirts with death and rides around with my seat belt off, I should be able to do that, too.
    Today’s Lincoln Journal Star reports the sad ending of the Kieper story:
    Kieper, a 21-year-old senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, died early Tuesday morning when the Ford Explorer he was a passenger in travelled off an icy section of Interstate 80 and rolled several times in a ditch. . . . Derek, who was thrown from the vehicle, was not wearing a seat belt.

    I actually happened to be driving on I-80 the next day and saw that SUV with a huge hole in windshield on the passenger side. Later I read the story about it, and it’s stuck with me ever since as an apt illustration of idiotic, short-sighted wingnutism in action.

  4. 4
    MikeJ says:

    mellowjohn @1:

    darwin is vindicated once again.

    Darwin is only vindicated if this 55 year old was going to reproduce in the future. Otherwise this is irony, not evolution.

  5. 5

    Meanwhile … Fox News asks its viewers to challenge Media Matters’ non-profit status with IRS complaints.

    Perhaps we should challenge Fox’s licenses with the FCC?

  6. 6
    Mnemosyne says:

    People are free to be stupid, but they shouldn’t be surprised when their stupidity leads to predictable consequences. And yet this guy’s friends will be walking around saying, “Hoocoodanode that riding a motorcycle without a helmet was dangerous?”

  7. 7
    Mark S. says:

    “The medical expert we discussed the case with who pronounced him deceased stated that he would’ve no doubt survived the accident had he been wearing a helmet,” state Trooper Jack Keller told ABC News 9 in Syracuse.

    How convenient! Fess up, Keller, we know you’re in bed with Big Helmet!

  8. 8
    nancydarling says:

    It is my understanding that written into federal transportation bills is a penalty if a state does not have a helmet law. Non-compliant states are docked a certain percentage of the federal gasoline tax. Does any one know if that is true?

    Also, I hope these devil-may-care riders have good long term insurance to pay for care should they not die and just end up a quadriplegic.

  9. 9
    Bob says:

    How is this Darwinism?

  10. 10
    Spirula says:

    Ahh, the donorcycle crowd. Pretty much a weekly story here in FL.

    (And yes, I know the failure of other drivers to yield or give safe distance to cyclist is a big problem, however the instance of these “loss of control” cases is very common here.)

  11. 11
    WereBear says:

    I despair, I really do.

    Is this like Germans and the Autobahn?

    Germans get their life assignments settled by high school, and when they’re born their parents have to pick a gender suitable name from big book, but by Gott they are GOING to drive a million miles an hour on the Autobahn because that’s the only thing they are allowed to do.

  12. 12
    J says:

    @nancydarling, I strongly suspect these tools do *not* have insurance. They are likely exercising their freedumbs both to disregard big gub’mint helmet regulations & the job-killing individual mandate in Obamacare.

  13. 13
    BO_Bill says:

    Bike riders are thus classed: (1) Motorized bike riders; and (2) Non-Motorized bike riders.

    Motorized bike riders are further classed: (1) Helmet wearers; and (2) Non-helmet wearers.

    I came to the realization some years ago that the future belongs to Non-helmet wearing motorized bike riders. I, through experience, have also concluded that one should never, ever, trust a Non-motorized bike rider who is also a helmet wearer. If you ever see one of these with an under-inflated rear tire and a metrosexual-inspired rear spoiler, avoid them at all costs. These are cases of dangerous pathology.

  14. 14
    Gustopher says:

    I hope the ABATE folks encourage their members to fill out their organ donor cards. That selfless man may have saved many more lives than his stupidity cost.

  15. 15
    jwb says:

    @Mnemosyne: “Hoocoodanode that riding a motorcycle without a helmet was dangerous?”

    Sort of like: “Hoocoodanode that voting for this jackass Republican governor and legislature would lead to horrible legislation?”

  16. 16
    GregB says:

    It is important to realize that our forefathers sacrificed so much so that this nitwit could paint the pavement red with his brains in protest of the nanny state.

  17. 17
    Mnemosyne says:

    You know, if motorcyclists who didn’t want to wear helmets were mandated to have long-term disability insurance and be organ donors, I’d say let ’em have at it, but I suspect that most of these guys would consider that to be an unconstitutional infringement on their FREEDUMB, too.

  18. 18
    jinxtigr says:

    Just mandate them to be organ donors- it makes good sense and is useful. :)

  19. 19
    Amir_Khalid says:

    I looked up ABATE of New York’s official position on compulsory helmet use at their website. (Warning: pdf file.) It’s full of specious arguments about the specific circumstances in which helmets do more harm than good (but no actual examples are given) and red herrings, garnished with a little whining about the public’s negative image of bikers. It also begins with an admission —

    ABATE of New York Inc. encourages the voluntary use of helmets, gloves, sturdy footwear, and
    protective garments by adult motorcyclists, as part of a comprehensive motorcycle safety program.

    — which proves that their objection to compulsory helmet use is petulance, plain and simple.

  20. 20
    Bob says:

    “He comes gathering up the bits while hoping that the puzzle fits….”

    Freedom Rider – Traffic

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu-YftKYdms

  21. 21
    fuckwit says:

    @WereBear: The Germans (and Australians, and many other countries) do it right. You can drive as fast as you fucking want on the Autobahn. You also have to have your vehicle inspected at EVERY REGISTRATION RENEWAL to make sure every little fucking bolt and screw is in perfect running condition. You think smog checks are hard? Hah. If your car isn’t in perfect condition, you’re not allowed to drive it. Anywyere. You have a missing tail-light? You are not allowed to drive it until you fix it. None of this fix-it-ticket crap.

    Also, you get a FUCKING ROAD TEST and written test at every license renewal. You fail it, your license gets taken away. How about them apples? No old farts who can’t see, can’t drive, can’t fucking cope, on the freeway doing 40MPH. No idiot teenagers running around drunk. None of that.

    So. You can drive as fast as you want, because 1) your car is safe to drive, and 2) YOU are safe to operate it, you know the rules, and 3) EVERY OTHER VEHICLE AND DRIVER you might encounter (or who might encounter you) is of similar high quality and safety, so you can trust they won’t do anything stupid.

    That’s how to do it. Freedom is not free there. You have to earn it by being competent.

    Not here though. Yep, we got us our FREEDUMB. We’re FREE, to be DUMB! And we ain’t gonna let no fancy-ass college-edumucated pointdexter take away our freedumb!

  22. 22

    Fuckin’ externalities, how do they work?

    Eta: @fuckwit: great ep of top gear uk with the guys getting their cars inspected by german inspectors.

  23. 23

    @Amir_Khalid:

    which proves that their objection to compulsory helmet use is petulance, plain and simple.

    Nah, it really shows that they had a lawyer on staff who told them they’d be a magnet for lawsuits if they advocated going without reasonable safety gear instead of just demanding that it be made legal.

  24. 24

    @fuckwit:

    That’s how to do it. Freedom is not free there. You have to earn it by being competent.

    The teabaggers are never going to let that happen here, and for obvious reasons. Restricting rights to competent people would leave them with none.

  25. 25
    gbear says:

    I wonder how many of the ABATE bikers who watched him go down are wearing a helmet today?

  26. 26
    cathyx says:

    What I love about this story is that this guy wasn’t simply riding without a helmet because he doesn’t want to wear one, but that he was participating in a protest ride when it happened. Too perfect.

  27. 27

    […] John Cole: “My first thought was I wonder which tea party chapter he belonged to, and my second thought […]

  28. 28
    Warren Terra says:

    I think this guy was probably a plant for Big Helmet.

    More specifically, given that he was riding a Donorcycle sans helmet, he was a likely future vegetable.

  29. 29
    RSA says:

    No idiot teenagers running around drunk. None of that.

    When was living in Germany our secretary came in late to work one day, unhappy. Not only had she run out of gas on the Autobahn, but that’s a ticketable offense. She’d gotten a ticket.

    There are jackasses on the Autobahn, but I think Germans tend to follow the rules of the road better than Americans, which makes things more predictable at least.

  30. 30
    Jamey says:

    Sorry, but I gotta invoke Nelson Muntz. This cyclist prolly just saved someone the trouble of a longer death vigil.

  31. 31
    PanAmerican says:

    His pipes weren’t loud enough.

  32. 32
    burnspbesq says:

    @nancydarling:

    Also, I hope these devil-may-care riders have good long term insurance to pay for care should they not die and just end up a quadriplegic

    Bwahahahaha.

    When we were having our big pie-fight about helmets here in California, someone (might have been the Kaiser Family Foundation) did a study, and found that people who didn’t wear helmets were many, many times more likely to be uninsured than those who did. Apparently, buying insurance vs. throwing money into a hole in the driveway with a Harley-Davidson nameplate on it was a no-brainer (literally and figuratively).

  33. 33
    Countme In says:

    The zombie corpses of our two dead founding shitheads (motorcyclist and college student mentioned in comments) will enter the Iowa Republican next week and immediately vaunt into third and fourth place respectively just behind Mitt Romney and Michelle Bachmann.

  34. 34

    John Cole:

    display of Darwinism

    :-) One of my favorite analytical terms.

    However, for selection to work, it has to kick in before the subject reproduces. This guy, 50-some-odd years old, probably has offspring.

  35. 35
    RossInDetroit says:

    I had about 50K miles on motorcycles when vertigo made me quit. I’ve always worn a helmet and would even if nobody else in the world did. Still, I had a hard time supporting mandatory helmet laws. The ‘loss of value to society’ argument seemed weak and holey. The arguments used seem to apply equally to diet, exercise, etc. to protect one’s health for the benefit of society. I’m glad to see all Michiganians wearing helmets but I’m still uneasy about the law.

  36. 36
    RossInDetroit says:

    I wonder how many of the ABATE bikers who watched him go down are wearing a helmet today?

    Never underestimate the human capacity for denial. “That won’t happen to me…”

  37. 37

    @rossindetroit: i understand your misgivings. Would you trade a helmet law for mandatory minimum health/life insurance?

  38. 38
    dedc79 says:

    two words: natural selection

  39. 39
    maya says:

    There will be a Libertarian silver lining tag for this road-kill: He died with his skull on.

  40. 40
    No one of Importance says:

    The Germans (and Australians, and many other countries) do it right.

    I suspect you mean ‘Austrians’ because little could be more stupid than the Australian attitude to road safety and car maintenance. You only need to product a road worthy certificate at the point of resale (and only, I think, if to a private vendor, not a dealer). So you can drive your heap of rusting junk as long as you like, bleching smoke and dropping bits on the road unless you pass a cop with an attitude. There are cars on the road here that are older and in less good condition than me, which is saying something.

    You can only go as fast as you like on outback roads, which is not wise since outback roads are essentially dirt tracks with a superiority complex. However, they are usually more reliable in their condition than our highways which only suck ever *other* metre.

    I dream of Australia introducing a British style MOT system and making roads the European way (i.e. strong enough *not* to wash away in the first shower) but the driving lobby and the road building unions/businesses are too powerful to allow any change that might reduce the amount of road rebuilding or the right to drive shitty, polluting, dangerous and effing ugly vehicles.

  41. 41
    PurpleGirl says:

    arguingwithsignpossts:

    Would you trade a helmet law for mandatory minimum health/life insurance?

    Wrong kind of insurance. While health/life insurance are important, what they really need is disability insurance and most people do not have that. What they need is insurance that will pay housing, food and other living expenses when they can’t work. Everyone really needs it but it expensive and hard to get.

  42. 42
    Jay C says:

    American Bikers Aimed Toward Education Extinction

    Fixt.

    gbear @ #25:

    I wonder how many of the ABATE bikers who watched him go down are wearing a helmet today?

    My guess starts at “zero“: otherwise, why else would they bother with their stupid “organization”??

  43. 43
    Mike in NC says:

    This time of year it’s not at all uncommon to cross into SC and see bikers wearing nothing more than bathing suits and flip-flops.

  44. 44
    ppcli says:

    One of my best friends, an exceptionally smart guy, got a heart transplant (genetic degenerative condition – not lifestyle related) after waiting for two years on a waiting list. He was kept alive by a portable pump. The donor was a motorcyclist who wasn’t wearing a helmet.

    I’ve come around to the view that a state should be free to lift the helmet law, so long as they also make being an organ donor the default status (requiring you to affirmatively reject being a donor). The more hearts that are moved from morons to people who will use the blood pumped to their brain for thinking is fine with me.

  45. 45
    Emrventures says:

    If you want to ride without a helmet, or drive without a seatbelt, buy your own road and knock yourself out. As long as the roads are community property, paid for by us all in common, then you should be required to take minimal measures not to harm your neighbor.

    And by harm your neighbor, I mean involving them in a deadly accident — fault being irrelevant really — where that accident could have been one of merely bodily injury and property damage if everyone involved had been acting responsibly.

    It’s easy as pie to say “It’s my head, I’ll take responsibility”, but that’s not how it works in the real world.

    I pray that I, or anyone I love, is ever involved in a deadly accident again. The mere death of someone in an incident sprays guilt and harm and lawsuits and recriminations for years.

    Wear the helmet, wear the seatbelt, hang up the fucking cellphone, or get your own damn road.

  46. 46
    Ruckus says:

    I’ll keep saying it over and over.
    There’s no need to wear a helmet if you don’t have anything to put in it.

    I like the no seatbelters and bare headed motorcyclists. They show us who the really stupid are so we don’t have to guess. However the ones I really like are the motorcyclists who wear the soup bowl helmets. You know the ones were the top of the head is intact but everything below the hairline is mush. And if they live that’s what they will eat what with a wired jaw and no teeth.

  47. 47
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    I rode my first dirt bike at the age of eleven and I did it with a helmet. I have had motorcycles in one form or another (dirt/street) for over 40 years now and I always wear safety gear to keep myself as safe as I can. My riding gear is made of ballistic nylon and Kevlar, with inserts for the back, elbows, knees and shoulders. My boots are heavy leather and tall, providing ankle support and protection.

    This guy was an idiot and what happened did because he wanted the right for it to. Every biker knows that it isn’t if you wreck or lay it down, it’s when.

    Shit happens. Be ready for it or you’ll get what’s coming to you for not doing so.

  48. 48
    Warren Terra says:

    Molly Ivins had some line about being fine with people carrying concealed firearms so long as they wore a propeller beanie. I think a similar solution is in order here: motorcyclists get to not wear helmets, so long as the fill the following requirements:
    1) They are wearing a propeller beanie.
    2) No-one loves them, or will miss them.
    3) They are carrying an organ donor card.
    4) No medical care is to be provided above the clavicle.

  49. 49
    corwin says:

    This is kind of a surface clever comment-a “You brought it on yourself smugness”.But,in my career, I’ve seen one HIV patient who wasn’t gay or an IVDA.Do the same sentiments apply to them/”Die ,you stupid,F..k.”
    I recall reading, “The Boys of Summer” -the boiok not the poem.A former baseball player says to the writer,”The Saints want justice.The rest of us want mercy.” Read it,think and try to grow up

  50. 50
    LT says:

    Hmmph. The normally kind-hearted JCole this is not.

    RIP to someone who died in a vehicle wreck. No fun. (And what the fuck do helmet laws have to do with the Tea Party?)

  51. 51
    LT says:

    And the organization he was riding with encourages riders to wear helmets, it should be noted, while opposing laws mandating helmet use.

    http://abateny.org/leg/ny/helmets.pdf

  52. 52
    Concerned Citizen says:

    Helmet laws suck. Seatbelt laws suck. Helmets and Seatbelts are awesome. People should be encouraged to use these things. They should not be forced to.

  53. 53
    PTirebiter says:

    But,in my career, I’ve seen one HIV patient who wasn’t gay or an IVDA. Do the same sentiments apply to them/”Die, you stupid, F..k.”

    @corwin
    Thank you. I can’t imagine a more powerful and relevant way to make your point. and it needed to be made.

  54. 54
    datarat says:

    I’m in the “Let those who ride, decide” camp. That said, I always wear my helmet and have the same recurring thought when I see someone riding without…the stupid jackhole is one blink away from a bag ‘n tag, and I hope he doesn’t leave school-aged children behind.

  55. 55
    Greyjoy says:

    From what I read, the protest in which this guy was riding specified that riders may wear helmets or not as they chose. This guy basically died of a supreme case of irony but even if every single state legislated mandatory helmet use, mandatory organ donorship and mandatory life insurance, there’d still be yahoos who would not wear their helmets, crash and die. Just like we still have people who drive drunk, speed (particularly in bad weather), tailgate and other no-nos of varying illegality.

    To be honest, I can’t really think of how a motorcyclist is more dangerous to others on the road by not wearing a helmet. It seems that the only danger is to himself. Over the weekend, some guy from SD was riding a motorcycle, accidentally clipped a truck while changing lanes, and he and his passenger were thrown (both wearing helmets). A guy from MN ran over the passenger before he could stop, and she died. That sucks.

    I guess I see it on the same level as seatbelt laws. I’m iffy on whether it should be a law because it’s impossible to force people to watch out for themselves. Yes, it would be nice if people had a shred of concern for their personal safety and the impact their maiming or death would have on others. I don’t really see a way to enforce it, though.

  56. 56
    Petorado says:

    Not to make light of this gentleman’s passing, but this kind of stuff like the right to ride helmetless, the right to bear arms at anywhere and anytime, and the right to not wear seatbelts is often postured as a rebellion against the laws of man. Well, the rebellion, for what it’s worth, is against the far more inscrutable laws of nature who don’t really give a damn whether you break the laws or not, because they always have the last laugh and the penalty for breaking laws of nature is fatal.

    Complain about laws all you want, but laws of nature are immutable and breaking them comes at your peril. The kind of stuff this gentleman was protesting was not the type of law voted on by a legislator, nor one that will not be rescinded by grandstanding or political posturing. What’s to say of someone who tempts fate and fate wins? It is neither that they are a patriot, nor a champion of freedom

  57. 57
    HobbesAI says:

    All the arguments for compulsory helmet use for motorcyclists apply equally to car drivers and passengers. They would prevent a similar proportion of injuries. There aren’t many car races which don’t require the drivers to wear helmets.
    Proper racing-style harnesses would help too.

    Of course, I’m sure there’s a good reason why people who use cars shouldn’t have to use safety equipment that’s been proven to prevent injuries and save lives.

  58. 58

    Helmet laws suck. Seatbelt laws suck. Helmets and Seatbelts are awesome. People should be encouraged to use these things. They should not be forced to.

    You can stop wearing them when other people’s insurance rates aren’t affected by your stupidity.

  59. 59
    No one of Importance says:

    To be honest, I can’t really think of how a motorcyclist is more dangerous to others on the road by not wearing a helmet. It seems that the only danger is to himself….I guess I see it on the same level as seatbelt laws. I’m iffy on whether it should be a law because it’s impossible to force people to watch out for themselves.

    I can’t understand why people assume the only harm is to the motorbike rider/driver. For starters, the paramedics attending a nasty fatality which could have been a survivable accident, the cops delivering the bad news to families, are badly affected. The families, employees, employers, and friends suffer. Other drivers involved in a collision have to deal with the aftermath of being in a fatal accident, just because some prawn wanted to stick it to the man.

    As for seatbelt laws, they don’t just protect the person wearing the belt. They protect the other people in the car from the impact of unrestrained objects (ie passengers not wearing a seatbelt) hitting them at huge speeds.

    If people don’t want to obey good, necessary laws – and helmet/seatbelt laws are very good and very necessary – then they have the choice not to share communal roads with other people. They don’t have the choice to make other people pay the price of their selfishness.

    The only way you can compare appreciating the irony of this dickhead losing his life entirely predictably with blaming HIV/AIDS patients for their conditions would be if the gay/IVDU patient had campaigned vigorously against public health campaigns and deliberately engaged in unprotected sex/risky activity while completely sober, and promoted this behaviour as ideal. There might a tiny handful of AIDS patients who fall into that category – and their deaths would be as ironic as this man’s is. But most HIV/AIDS victims are not enthusiatic promoters of their own fate (and most are unwilling/unwittingly infected), so there is no comparison. I find it vile that anyone considers there is.

  60. 60
    bob h says:

    And let’s hope he was a Sovereign Citizen, so there is one less of them.

  61. 61
    abhisaha says:

    I think riders should decide whether or not they want to wear a helmet. Same with car drivers and seatbelts. People have a right to take risks. They have a right to decide that the joy of wind in your hair outweighs the slightly ioncreased risk of death. Its their head.

    That said, anyone who chooses to do so, should be forced to either carry adequate insurance, or have proof of sufficient personal funds, or sign a waiver as part of vehicle registration that no part of their health costs resulting from an auto accident can be charged to the taxpayer. Furthermore, insurance companies, if they wish, should be allowed to charge an extra premium on these riders (I have reviewed several studies on this, and the premium is going to be between 10 and 25 percent higher, depending on other circumstances).

    Finally, stop this ridiculous argument on the lines that their loved ones will be affected if they die. Of course they will. SO what? Are we gonna outlaw divorces and break-ups next? There are many many ways to hurt another person. Only some of them should be illegal, the ones that actually violate another’s rights. Causing sadness to another by choosing to engage in risky behavior and dying in the process does not.

    To sum up, helmet and seatbelt laws are tyranny and should be repealed. However, those who choose to be unsafe should not cause significant externalities on the taxpayer.

  62. 62
    Jax6655 says:

    #35 RossInDetroit

    I’m glad to see all Michiganians Michiganders wearing helmets

    FTFY

  63. 63
    Jax6655 says:

    #61 abhisaha

    So what exactly is the difference between FORCING someone to wear a helmet/seatbelt and FORCING them to have insurance/donor card, etc.?????????

  64. 64
    abhisaha says:

    #63. Big difference.

    The former leaves no avenue for the possibility that someone might have different preferences than yours in how he weighs his health vs his happiness. A helmet mandate imposes a value judgement on a personal matter and violates the basic rights of the helmet-wearer.

    Forcing someone to carry insurance or otherwise ensuring he cannot cost extra to the taxpayer gives him the right to live his life the way he wants, but also makes sure that in doing so, the wearer cannot violate others’ rights in the process (by charging others for his medical bills). It expands individual choice, but also ensures that the responsibility to not harm others in the process is taken care of.

    If you still can’t get your head wrapped round the notion that the two types of forcing are quite different, it might help to ask: So what’s the difference between forcing someone to not use his car, and forcing them to obey the traffic lights if they use the car?

  65. 65
    Amir_Khalid says:

    I know this thread is well and truly dead by now. But I’d just like to note that to “encourage” bikers to wear helmets while opposing, in the name of freedom of self-expression, laws that require them to do so is illogical and petulant.

  66. 66
    abhisaha says:

    “But I’d just like to note that to “encourage” bikers to wear helmets while opposing, in the name of freedom of self-expression, laws that require them to do so is illogical and petulant.”

    That’s gotta be the most bizarre thing anyone’s written here yet. Illogical? Do you even know what that means? What kind of logic dictates that every activity worth encouraging is also worth forcibly enforcing?

    I think only someone who does not place even the slightest value on individual freedom could have written something like what you did. Is it wrong to encourage people to be kind? Faithful to their spouses? Generous? Healthy? Should be write a law forcibly enforcing all these?

  67. 67
    Ruckus says:

    This guy should be a hero. Why is almost everyone vilifying him? We are supposed to like people who are willing to defend personal liberties.

    This guy should be a hero.

    He died defending his right to be an idiot.

  68. 68
    Amir_Khalid says:

    @abhisaha #66:
    What freedom did this man sacrifice his life to defend? The freedom to show reckless disregard for one’s own safety? ABATE’s position statement on compulsory helmet laws begins by conceding the very reason for those laws: that it is indeed good safety practice to wear a helmet. That by itself makes arguing against laws requiring bikers to wear helmets petulant and illogical. To support such a stance, you would have to value petulance and illogic above road safety.

  69. 69
    abhisaha says:

    #68 He died defending the freedom to be himself, to not have other moral busybodies telling him what safety/fun trade-offs are acceptable and what are not. I would probably wear a helmet if I did ride a motorcycle, but if I were in a state that made it illegal to ride without one, I’d probably be joining the ABATE folks in their protest.

    Helmets make one safer. But safety is just one thing among many. We do not live life in a way that maximizes safety, at least I don’t. We make trade-offs all the time. He died defending the right to do so.

  70. 70
    Death Panel Truck says:

    I would probably wear a helmet if I did ride a motorcycle

    You’d be a goddamned fool if you didn’t. I’m 48, I’ve been riding since I was 16, and I haven’t ridden a bike as much as one foot without a helmet on. I’m sorry this guy is dead, but he was a fucking idiot. There should be a federal law mandating helmet use nationwide. Period.

  71. 71
    abhisaha says:

    A longer post elaborating some of my comments above.

    http://musefree.wordpress.com/.....rnalities/

    I know you guys don’t like libertarians very much, but I’d be interested to read any substantive responses from the crowd here.

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