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'The Case for Helmets' for Motorcyclists

August 29, 1987

It is so disappointing to see The Times in the vanguard of America's most disturbing trend: justifying an end of public safety by the means of diminished personal freedom.

Is a motorcyclist safer when wearing his helmet? Undoubtably he is. He would be safer yet in an automobile. Do you advocate the elimination of all motorcycles from our roads? Would you support the abolition of bicycling? How about sharp kitchen knives? Skateboards are dangerous too! Get rid of them though? At what point do we stop rounding the sharp edges and padding the corners of the world to protect ostensibly intelligent and self-respecting "free" Americans from themselves?

If we have truly reached the deplorably low point in our history where personal liberties are less desirable than cost-effective public medicine, then stop the bus! I want to get off!

Those who allow their liberty to be traded for safety get their inevitable reward: neither. Those who demand such a trade transcend irresponsibility for heavy-handed totalitarianism, regardless of motive.

We're motorcyclists because we enjoy freedom. Because we love freedom, we have consistently fought the efforts of short-sighted, small-minded people who would impose self-righteous restrictions on enthusiasts of a sport in which they don't participate.

More motorcyclists wear helmets voluntarily (as a percentage) than automobile drivers wear seat belts by law.

It's simple: Let those who ride decide.

RICK WIGGINS

Los Angeles

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