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Helmet laws offer false sense of security

8:59 PM, May 22, 2013  |  Comments
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The May 12 article on ABATE erroneously stated that the mandatory helmet use law in Wisconsin was repealed due to the political power of ABATE. The fact is that the helmet law was repealed in 1977, long prior to ABATE having any clout. And it was repealed because an extensive Department of Transportation study found that helmets did not save lives and that passing helmet laws detracted from the activities (e.g., motorcycle rider training and public awareness) that did.

Once the helmet law was repealed, and mandatory rider safety training legislated, motorcycle deaths decreased by 17 percent. For those that don't know it, motorcycle helmets are tested and certified only at impacts between 13 and 17 mph. Hardly confidence inspiring. And severe body trauma is a more common cause of death than head injuries in motorcycle accidents. (At the time of the DOT study, head injuries were more common in car accidents.)

A helmet obviously will offer some protection in any of our daily activities. But helmets and helmet laws are a false security blanket. It's what's between a riders ears that keeps them safe. Not what's on their head.

Al Lankford

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