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Making Helmets Mandatory

December 16, 1988

"Motorcycle helmets don't stop accidents." Remember hearing that quote a few times in the past year? To remind you, it came from two of our most illustrious politicians here in California. The first to make such a statement was Clint Eastwood, then the mayor of Carmel. The second time you heard it was by Gov. George Deukmejian, as he vetoed the hard-fought bill sponsored by Assemblyman Richard E. Floyd (D-Carson) to require all motorcycle riders to wear safety helmets.

At the time, I thought that was the most irresponsible statement I had ever heard. Where does it state that a helmet can stop an accident? Webster's definition of an accident: "an unexpected and undesirable event," and in this case we are dealing with a motorcycle and/or body in motion coming to a sudden stop against another object.

Now, there are those who will say, "Aw, they didn't mean it in that context." Well, if they didn't mean it, then why allow themselves to be quoted? If they meant to say "a helmet doesn't stop injuries" then we all know they are suffering from the "RTBS" (right to be stupid) syndrome!

Our governor seemed to think he knew more than the experts. I feel I'm one of those experts by the fact that I rode a motorcycle for the Los Angeles Police Department for over 25 years. I've observed too many heads opened up like a watermelon dropped on the sidewalk to recall. But, I've never seen a dead person with a helmet unless he had suffered injuries to the body that would have been fatal.

Until such a time as a motorcycle rider is forced to sign an affidavit that he personally will be responsible for all medical bills and post-op treatment, not the taxpayers, then I feel that those same taxpayers should have the right to tell them how to protect themselves from undue harm.

Now, what would actor Gary Busey have to say about helmets? He apparently want along with the philosophy of the California Motorcycle Assn. "untrained and unlicensed riders are a greater danger than riders without helmets"! What does that statement have to do with your head not being protected from a sudden stop against an unyielding mass of concrete?

I have ridden a motorcycle for 40 years and traveled well over 1 million miles without a traffic accident. Therefore, I feel secure in saying I'm qualified to say leave the decisions of what is good for our motorcycle riders to the experts and not to those who are concerned about the next election.

H. GLENN IRVINE

Apple Valley

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