Deukmejian's intelligent decision to veto California's proposed mandatory motorcycle helmet law is refreshing, particularly in light of the hysteria generated by the bill's supporters. I am a middle-aged Harley rider who wears a helmet when I think it's necessary. Which is to say I do not wear a helmet all the time. I think 39 years of motorcycle experience and good sense equips me perfectly to make decisions concerning my personal safety.
California is on the right track with increased effort behind rider education and training, not a law that violates individual freedom. Deukmejian is correct when he says the incidence of motorcycle accidents is much higher among young, inexperienced riders who are often impaired and/or on machines that require considerable skill and judgment to operate safely. I might also point out that older, more mature riders tend to have their own health insurance which means, in the event of any accident, they pay their own way.
I have an 18-year-old son who rides and wears a helmet all the time because I require it. When he is my age, owns his own bike, pays his own health insurance and rides 25,000 miles a year, he can make his own decision.