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Easy Rider: Ultimate freedom or end of the road?

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Can you think of anyone more stupid than bikers who don’t wear helmets and protective togs?

I wonder if these bikers think “What was I thinking?” in the middle of an ugly spill, while they’re skidding along the pavement and leaving large hunks of hide and hair behind.

Seems to me that what we have here is the Darwinian Law at work. Natural law weeds out the people from the gene pool who are least fit to make good decisions in life, because poor decisions lead them to eliminate themselves in extraordinarily dumb ways.

Don’t take me wrong– I believe in the right of bikers to have the freedom to make their choice. But freedom includes the right to make stupid decisions that others might have to pay for.

The problem with all this is not only the bikers’ loss of life and limb, which is horrific enough. Their actions sometimes cause taxpayers to foot the bill for under-insured bikers who sustain permanent or long-lasting injuries.

Motorcycle riding a la “Easy Rider” has been romanticized as the ultimate freedom. But getting a free ambulance ride to the hospital is not very romantic.

Which leads us to the big political question: Should the law deprive bikers of their freedom to ride helmetless, with the rest of us sometimes picking up the tab when things go wrong on the highway? Or should the law grant bikers their freedom to ride helmetless, also with taxpayers and citizens picking up the tab for accident costs above the insured amount? Remember, medical costs are greater for helmetless riders because their injuries usually are more severe.

Conservatives might answer that freedom is the paramount consideration here, and the bikers’ freedom to choose must be preserved. Liberals might answer that government must protect bikers, even against their own decisions, so the law must require bikers to wear helmets.

There is scuttlebutt that changes might be sought to Florida’s Helmet Law. In this state, only riders age 20 or younger are required to wear helmets.

What do you think? Should there be a law to require all motorcyclists and their passengers to wear helmets?

John R. Smith


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