Tennessee Cracking Down On Illegal Motorcycle Helmets

The helmet choice debate began nearly 40 years ago, after many states passed laws requiring all riders to wear helmets. Since 1967, Tennessee’s universal helmet law has required helmets for all riders. Only 20 states have such a law, while the rest either have no law or target specific age groups. Many riders want to be able to choose if they wear a helmet, or at least which kind they can wear. Should it be up to the individual to choose what type of helmet he uses? Do you prefer a Beanie because it’s lighter, cooler, let you hear and see better? DOT argues that the novelty helmets don’t meet safety standards to protect riders because they fall short of the standard in every single federal safety test. But as you know from another post I wrote and heavily commented by Mike Greenwald, there is not such a thing as a DOT approved helmet, only DOT stickers supposed to mean that the helmet is federally compliant. The department is proposing a rule to make it harder, if not impossible, to illegally peel off DOT stickers from compliant helmets and add them to helmet styles officials believe are dangerous. There’s no way to know how many in Tennessee wear the novelty helmets, in defiance of the law that requires all riders, including out-of-towners passing through, to wear the approved ones. So watch out, Tennessee police intends to enforce.


40 Responses to “Tennessee Cracking Down On Illegal Motorcycle Helmets”

  1. 1 harry Nov 5th, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    This is my take on it–it is the rider’s choice if he/she wears a helmet. I don’t think it should be mandated by the gov’t if you have to wear one or not. My personal opinon is this, there are too many assholes on the road that don’t pay attention to motorcycle riders to begin with so I do believe that it’s a good idea to have one on your head, a Snell/DOT approved one, cause any protection that you can get is a help with all of the dumb fucks operating vehicles on the road. Just my opinion…

  2. 2 toph Nov 5th, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    please support the no against helmets (n.a.h.) campaign. it’s vitally important that you participate, as long as you leave common sense in the parking lot outside our meetings.

    we’re lobbying for a helmet free society, unless some fool actually wants to don a lid.

    why do nascar drivers have to wear helmets? it should be their choice, no?

    those steroid taking football players should have the choice to go lidless. it’ll show off those cool locks so many are sporting these days.

    baseball players? please. why do those pansies need to wear a helmet?

    hockey players? back in the day i played goalie without a helmet. even no mask until i could afford one.

    come to think of it, why do astronauts wear helmets but airline pilots don’t?

    the whole helmet debate is ridiculous.

    so support n.a.h. right now- send us donations, put us in your will, support your freedoms to do whatever you want without regard for anyone else. it’s your right as an american. isn’t it?

  3. 3 Mike Greenwald Nov 5th, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Gee, toph,
    this sounds like a good idea, where is the web page and who is behind this?

    Furthermore, what is their track record so far?

  4. 4 harry Nov 5th, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Toph, I am curious why you think someone is a fool for wearing a helmet? If you are pissed about gov’t intervention on what should be a personal choice, then guess what–you have a right to be, but with that said, I am a believer in Helmets. I’ve seen too many people fucked up pretty bad out at the desert or dunes back in the day cause they didn’t wear one. As I said before, it is all about choices that are up to the individual. Hitting the dirt is painful enough but hitting pavement is another thing altogether, that shit hurts worse, but it’s all about choices, and we need to make them ourselves instead of “big brother” doing it for us, and if shit goes bad then we have to accept the consequences of our choices, good or bad.

  5. 5 Mike Greenwald Nov 5th, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    It is not all about choices. Laws and legislation prove otherwise. I don’t need a law to tell me I have freedom of choice. You can believe all you want in that piece of styrofoam and plastic. You can choose it and only it when it is manufactured to a standard of compliance that is neither clear nor concise. Please wear a helmet that is not too tight when you talk about this. Otherwise one might think that you have restricted your vision and the bloodflow to your brain. Most graciously, the choice is yours.

  6. 6 Kenny Smartz Nov 6th, 2008 at 12:06 am

    This is a classic example of freedom of the individual vs. the role of the state.
    I don’t think that anyone would argue that, in the whole, all things considered, overall, if you get into an accident you’ll fare better if you’re wearing a helmet. Or, at least, you might have less head injury.
    Part of the state’s argument, and in Canada (home of universal helmet laws)where we have universal health care, is that since they pay for any and all motorcycle injuries (part of government health care), they’re in a position to require people to be responsible enough to take reasonable measures to reduce their possibility of injury. In such a situation they could legislate mandatory rider education like MSF courses. But to get into the minutia if dictating helmet types is beyond the point and role of government.
    I used to wear a beanine. Now I wear a Biltwell. I’ve gone from skullcap to non-DOT 3/4 helmet. Not only do I look cooler, I feel and am safer. For what, I’m not sure, but it’s my choice.

  7. 7 Nicker Nov 6th, 2008 at 1:01 am


    “…in Canada (home of universal helmet laws)where we have universal health care, is that since they pay for any and all motorcycle injuries (part of government health care), they’re in a position to require people to be responsible enough to take reasonable measures to reduce their possibility of injury…”

    Dude, looks like ya just unmasked the great “slippery slope” of Socialism.

    “… since they pay for —xxxxx—-, they’re in a position to require people to —-xxxxx——….”

    And that, boys and girls, is THE problem with Utopia.

    Thanks Kenny.

  8. 8 Mike Greenwald Nov 6th, 2008 at 2:36 am

    Kenny Smartz,

    Not only is the mandatory helmet law of each state that has one illegal but it is based upon a premise which an ordinary intelligent motorcyclist nor law enforcement officer cannot possibly know what is compliant.

    The Government cannot make any objective standards for helmets without taking on liability, and since they [the government] are expressly forbidden from taking on any liability, they can never make an objective standard for helmet. There it is. Without an objective standard it all becomes ad hoc and arbitrary; ad hoc and arbitrary is the foundation of vague law; vague law is unconstitutional.

    Furthermore, Title 18, United States Code, Section 241 recognizes:

    If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or
    If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—
    They shall be fined * * * or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, * * * or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined * * * or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

    If an individual dressed as a member of the armed forces or as an agent of “law enforcement” willfully misuses the apparent authority his uniform provides in order to violate an innocent American’s constitutional freedoms, he is to that extent “go[ing] in disguise,” because he has and can have no authority whatsoever to commit such a violation, no matter what uniform he wears, but nonetheless dons the uniform in order to deceive people into believing that he does enjoy such authority—thus disguising the illegality of his real purpose and his lack of authority. And not only the ones who actually “go in disguise” are liable, but also all those others who conspire with them on that account—that is, everyone in the chain of command and causation, all the way back to the legislators who originally enacted an unconstitutional statute with the intent that it be enforced, or who refused to repeal it when petitioned by their constituents to do so on the grounds of the statute’s unconstitutionality.

    More specifically, rogue public officials who employ armed force in order to impose unconstitutional requirements on common Americans throughout this country are engaged in insurrection that descends to the level of treason. The Constitution declares that “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” [Article III, Section 3, Clause 1] Ultimately, “the United States” and “We the People of the United States” are identical. For no one could “levy[ ] War against” “the United States” without simultaneously “levying War” against the People, or “levy[ ] War against” the People without simultaneously “levying War against” “the United States.” As Chief Justice John Marshall explained in Ex parte Bollman, “[l]evying war” requires an “assemblage of men for a purpose treasonable in itself.” And “if a body of men be actually assembled, for the purpose of effecting by force a treasonable purpose, all those who perform any act, however minute, or however remote from the scene of action, and who are actually leagued in the general conspiracy, are to be considered as traitors.” 8 U.S. (4 Cranch) 75, 126 (1807). So, rogue public officials’ deployment of regular armed forces, or para-militarized police forces, or armed civilian contractors, under color of “martial law” or any other phoney “emergency” decree, against We the People for any unconstitutional purpose constitutes “Treason”—and all who participate in that deployment, “however remote from the scene of action,” are guilty of that crime. The punishment is set by Title 18, United States Code, Section 2381: “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined * ** not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” Self-evidently, nothing in the Constitution or this statute excludes the conclusion that individuals may be capable of committing treason, and being punished for it, while holding public office and acting under color of such office as well as otherwise.

    More generally, Title 18, United States Code, Section 2384 provides that “[i]f two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States * * *, they shall each be fined * * * or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.” When rogue public officials employ armed forces or police to suppress the constitutional freedoms of common Americans—who, in the final analysis, are “the Government of the United States,” because they govern themselves—those officials, and everyone who co-operates with them to effectuate their purposes, violate each and every prohibition in this statute.

  9. 9 MJ, editor Bikeweek.com Nov 6th, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Wow… you had a lot to say Mike. It seems there is always something at every rally that law enforcement is targeting. One year it was the DOT sticker on helmets, other years it has been ape bars or the light required above the license plate, or vertically mounted license plates. And the tickets are usually very high… upward to $1,000 or even $5,000 for repeat tickets.

    This year at Biketoberfest, in Florida law enforcement was targeting LED lighting, and the sheriff’s deputies didn’t care what the law actually said. They were writing tickets for everyone under the vague “certain lighting” description that is in the recently updated Florida statues. It killed my friend’s business at the rally because they set up right in front of her vendor spot along US 1. She now realizes that she will have to set up inside Destination Daytona or elsewhere in order to have a fair chance to sell lighting that she feels is a safety plus for bikers, and in most states is legal (except for red, blue or flashing.)

  10. 10 Kephas Nov 6th, 2008 at 8:43 am

    I love OHIO. No helmet – your choice.

    NICKER: Thanks for standing up for Liberty. Notice how Canadian choice has become a choice made under the government “right to mandate”. No thank you to Socialism.

  11. 11 Brock Nov 6th, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Your gonna get Socialism a lot sooner than you may think. After all, your state voted for it.

  12. 12 busfreak Nov 6th, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Whats the big deal, if you make under 250k a year you will have free insurance anyways to cover the damages.

  13. 13 Rodent Nov 6th, 2008 at 10:20 am

    L.E.D. lights making a bike look like a christmas tree are stupid and ugly but should not be igegal. And helmet standards in Tennasee should be the same standards used by the California CHP. NONE, no standards exist and as long asyour head is covered CHP’s don’t bother you.

  14. 14 saorijohn Nov 6th, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Being a 45 year old guy living in England I’ve always had to wear an approved helmet.

    I would look cool riding my bike without one.

    But not as cool as I’d look being pushed around in a wheelchair by my kids, dribbling down my shirt, maybe even pissin my pants because I’d suffered a serious head injury because I wasnt wearing a helmet…… man, my kids would have the coolest dad.

  15. 15 Mike Greenwald Nov 6th, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Actually, Rodent, if you would check the rulings of the courts in California, you will find that CHP is operating with impunity and should not be enforcing anything regarding helmets.

    Since this thread is being hijacked to L.E.D. lighting, there are two types of L.E.D. lighting that need to be addressed here. One is the decorative “christmas tree” usage and the other is the replacement for turn signals brake lights and running lights including cluster lighting for headlamps.

    At this point in time, there can be a tremendous amount said about lighting on bikes, the conspicuity of bikes, the intent of government legislators, the intent of LEAs or individual LEOs. My advice to anyone and everyone that is ticketed for a helmet or lighting is to take it to court with a lawyer and fight it. Both, helmets and lighting can be argued successfully nin the defendant’s favor in courts.

  16. 16 Mike Greenwald Nov 6th, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Stop with the woulda, coulda, shoulda, rhetoric.

    Your scare tactics are bullshit. The reality is that motorcyclists die with may different injuries.

    The leading ause of motorcyclist death is blunt for trauma to the torso.

    The second leading cause of death to motorcyclists is bleeding.

    The distant third cause of death to motorcyclists is blunt force trauma to the head.

    Interestingly enough, the statistics include helmeted and unhelmeted riders that die at an almost equal rate from the same causes. One of the causes of death that the statistics do not readily show is atlanto-occipital dislocation that is a direct result of wearing a helmet.

    Another injury that is prevalent whether or not you wear a helmet is coup-contre-coup. Rather than take up an inordinate amount of space here, I would recommend that you google each term and study it. Then preach your fearmongering to another group or admit that you wear a helmet of protection against bugs and rain.

  17. 17 toph Nov 6th, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    i wrongfully assumed that satire would be understood here. my post was to point out that many professions, sports, etc., require helmet usage. the participants don’t seem to complain like freedom-loving harley riders. i single out harley guys because this issue isn’t as hotly debated in the metric crowd.

    i’ve never heard of any of my previously stated references complaining of helmet use.

    i wonder why spies, hayden, and the dr., don’t wear beanies on the race circuit. i guess they’re just followers. those leather suits too- just for looks.

    i take it from the posts here that you’ve never fallen off a bike and hit your head.

    are you detractors against seat belt use too? isn’t that infringing on your personal freedoms?

    i really don’t care if you personally wear a helmet or not, but it’s ridiculous to state that statistically going lidless is safer than wearing a helmet. that goes for motorcyclists, as it does for a guy on the construction site. it only takes one time.

    i’ve witnessed many accidents where a helmet saved someone injury. i know of no instance at all where a rider stated “wow, i’m really glad i didn’t have a helmet on in that accident, i may have gotten hurt if i was wearing one.’

    i’m all for waving the freedom flag, but no one is convinced that helmet usage hurts more than it helps. really. be honest, deflate the chest.

  18. 18 Mike Greenwald Nov 6th, 2008 at 2:25 pm


    Seemingly, you are a troll. You’ve come to the right spot my friend. You mention many of the motorcycle racers and neglect to mention the street riders. That is curious because you must look at the common crash dynamics of a racing rider versus a street rider. Study the differences.

    The issue here is not the utility of helmets. The issue here is the futility of helmet laws.

    I am glad that you wear a helmet and preach their virtues. You, my friend, have a long way to go. You have missed all the automobile driving public with your sermon of compliance and safety. I am certain that with your fastidious research and adamant position that you will find that the overwhelming amount of head injuries sustained in vehicular crashes are from the group of automobile drivers and passengers.

    With regard to seatbelts, they are woefully inadequate for what they try to accomplish. Since you were the one to bring up the comparison to racing, where in the world does a racer use a seatbelt system that is three point rather than 5 or 6 point of attachment? Additionally where in the world does a racer use woefully thin belts and such poorly designed closures?

    Please don’t come to a battle of wits unarmed. You are better than that.

  19. 19 Mike Greenwald Nov 6th, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Here is some easily accesible reference to the legal decisons about motorcycle helmets.


  20. 20 saorijohn Nov 7th, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Mike Greenwald,

    I can’t argue with the facts that there are a multitude of injuries that can be sustained to a biker in an accident. I wear a helmet by choice even if it wern’t a legal requirement. I also ride a sports bike and at 160mph it does a good job of protecting me from bugs and rain [we have more rain than bugs in England] and if its good enough for MotoGP riders it’s good enough for me.

  21. 21 Mike Greenwald Nov 7th, 2008 at 10:29 am


    I am glad that your helmet usage comforts you into a sense of well being and protects you from the bugs and the elements.

    I am not riding quite as fast as you are and yet whether adorned with or without a helmet, I feel absolutely no protection from the usage of the plastic hat in my riding other than against bugs and weather.

    I would guess that they will work better above the 132 mph (actual not speedometer indicated) I rode at this year.

  22. 22 toph Nov 7th, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    from MG: “seemingly, you are a troll. You’ve come to the right spot my friend.”

    that’s funny mike. funny how easily baited you are by such a lowly member of the mc industry as myself.

    ” You mention many of the motorcycle racers and neglect to mention the street riders. That is curious because you must look at the common crash dynamics of a racing rider versus a street rider. Study the differences.”

    i actually did mention street riders. but you must have passed over it while doing your extensive ‘research.’ i don’t need to study differences. why not answer the questions posed in my original post without the need for any of us to do research. for all your research you bring nothing to the table.

    let’s have a friendly fight mike, head shots only- you can have the first shot- i’ll wear a helmet and you don’t. is that neanderthal way of thinking more up your alley? i wonder what the research shows on that one.(?)

    “The issue here is not the utility of helmets. The issue here is the futility of helmet laws.”

    no, you cannot separate the two. instead of pumping up your chest, why not address the earlier comments regarding football players, contruction workers, etc. a helmet is to protect your head and/or face against impacts and abrasions.

    “I am glad that you wear a helmet and preach their virtues.”

    i never stated if i wore one or not mike.

    ” I am certain that with your fastidious research and adamant position that you will find that the overwhelming amount of head injuries sustained in vehicular crashes are from the group of automobile drivers and passengers.”

    that’s irrelevant mike- it doesn’t matter what or who causes the accident. try and stay with us mike. you still haven’t addressed the simple issue of “if your head hit the ground, would you rather have a helmet or not?”

    “With regard to seatbelts, they are woefully inadequate for what they try to accomplish. ”

    now you’re really showing how poor your ‘research’ is. you crack me up.

    “Please don’t come to a battle of wits unarmed. You are better than that.”

    ok mike, will do. i’ll consult the research and amend my thinking.

    really this is a personal choice situation. it’s incredulous for you or anyone else to say wearing a helmet is absolutely more dangerous than not wearing one. i know the freedom flag wavers like to throw around statistics that show helmets are bad. but don’t hide behind the futility and research mike, just say that you rather be argumentative and just not wear a helmet because it’s your right as an american to do as you choose.

  23. 23 Mike Greenwald Nov 7th, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    We could address facial injuries in your scenario or we could address the hangman effect upon your windpipe caused by the retention strap. We could address other injuries available to you if you choose an open face helmet or we could address the lack of strength and energy dissipation that happens when your lower jaw is pushed into your ear canals and enters your brain. ( That my friend can happen in the distance between standinding upright and your jaw hitting the ground.)

    Next we really should look at the damages incurred while wearing a full face helmet that are transmitted to the connection between the base of the skull and the spine and the shearing and partial shearing that is directly attributable to helmet usage.

    It is also interesting to look at fatigue caused by helmets.

    When I brought up the notion that more head injuries happen within cars and car crashes, you dismissed it. THese are not my figures these come from the government and the medical industry such as the TBI (traumatic brain injury) groups that tally these records.

    I am glad that you laugh about the seatbelt comment I made about their woefully inadequate design.

    Since you want to bring up the history of usage of helmets in other activities, please, refresh my memory, why the government had their pilots keep the retaining straps unfastened during take offs and ground maneuvers.

    There is a good reason why helmets are tested at relatively low speed direct impacts and occasionally tested at slightly higher glancing impacts. A helmet cannot and will not protect the wearer against coup-contre-coup. A phenomenon where the brain bounces around inside your skull.

    I am not here to beat to death the usage of helmets by anybody. I would prefer that people are able to look at them as inadequate for the task that they are assigned. Although they have been renamed over the years to “helmets” and have gone through the name change of “crash helmet” and other variations, I am certain that some people will choose to wear them and some will not.

    It seems oddly misguided that the federal government would waste so much time money and effort on controlling highway funding to states for such an unproven little piece of attire. It is curious that so many of the public allow the government to force this issue of compliance.

    The insistence of the government for all motorcyclists to wear them is an area which is none of their damned business.

  24. 24 stephen Nov 7th, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    I am from Sydney Australia and it has been law to wear an Australian Standards approved helmet as long as I can remember and I have been riding for 35 Years. Down under your helmet has to have the Australian Standards approved sticker clearly visible and it is illegal to remove it. Big fines and jail if you do.

    I don’t see the problem making it law to use a helmet as you would WANT to wear one anyway. I would be far more concerned about the government making it impossible to have a custom motorcycle, as they are doing here and right now the NSW RTA is not registering ANY custom made bikes. Forcing you to get a “full volume compliance” bike (insert name of big company here), heck I can’t even import a bike from the USA unless I get special permission from the Federal Govt and guess what the guidelines are so tight only Harley-Davidson can comply.

    I say don’t sweat the small stuff and keep an eye on your governments bigger agendas.


  25. 25 Mike Greenwald Nov 7th, 2008 at 6:25 pm


    There is a significant difference between the AUS standard and the EURO standard versus the DOT standard of the USA.

    Unlike the helmets of OX and Europe, the helmets for the USA are not required to be tested.
    99 percent of the helmets sold in the USA are made offshore and therefor there is no liability to the manufacturer for failure of the helmet.

    There is no “approved” helmet available because there is no one to approve them. Current helmets that do fail the occasional DOT test of helmets purchased at retail are not withdrawn from public consumption. The helmet industry is a sham in the USA and the government that requires these questionable articles is contributing to the sham.

    Believing that the DOT sticker or labeling ensures a modicum of protection is worse than believing a political campaign promise.

    You are absolutely correct that there are bigger issues to contend with.

    The governments in Anglo speaking countries are afraid of motorcycles and motorcyclists for several reasons.

    Most motorcyclists are free thinkers is one of the thoughts bandied about that some consider a threat to government. Governments in the English speaking world are very concerned about motorcycles and motorcyclists as the non compliant hard to control faction. Vehicle recognition is difficult for the ITS roadways that they would like to institute and build. They are buying into their own threats. They can hit a vehicle like an automobile with a small weapons system more accurately and more often than they can hit a motorcycle. A motorcycle with stealth technologies and run flat tires will be a formidable adversary. It has been proven in Baghdad that motorcycles screw up their urban warfare.

    Stopping the government at the small stuff gives them fair warning and fair notice about the resistance they will meet and costs they will incur when it comes to the big stuff.

  26. 26 stephen Nov 7th, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Yes you are correct, the Australian Standards are different and we have a central body run by the federal govt that test and approve the helmets. The stickers are applied by the factory after the particular helmet gets approved, however all helmets are tested at random by the standards body to make sure the production versions meet the standards and if they find even one that does not, then the company making them loose approval for everything they make! So the threat to the factory means that no one would try to slip a few duds through.

    I agree that we need to keep the pressure on the govt so that they don’t take our freedoms away. The thing that most governments don’t realise is that a great many motorcyclists are what my daughter calls “weekend bikers” and not “outlaw bikers”. During the week we work, pay our (too high) taxes, look after our families and VOTE! I for one am sick and tired of the governments bashing up the easy targets of middle Australia, America, etc. You’re right we in the English speaking and western world we HAVE to hold our governments accountable otherwise we just have dictatorships and more erosion of the freedom that our grandfathers gave their lives for. I know my grandfather would turn in his grave if he knew the Australian government had taken away so much of the freedom he fought for during the 2nd world war. I am sure the same applies to the USA, UK, NZ and CA.

  27. 27 Mike Greenwald Nov 7th, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Stephen, whether or not a motorcyclist is a weekender or it is the sole transportation, there is no reason to tolerate the government ever indicating that we are less of a citizen nor more important a citizen because of what we choose as transport.

    Unfortunately, in the USA, forty (40) helmets are tested per year. Considering there are three headform sizes per model of helmet and God knows how many models per manufacturer, it is a sham industry. What has happened with the manufacturers that have a helmet fail is a letter is sent to the manufacturer and typically they change the graphics/colors/upholstery of the helmet and give it a new model designation. These are then sold with the DOT sticker and labeling until they get caught again and repeat the entire scenario.

    In the meantime, well meaning and or overzealous Law Enforcement Officers will claim to know whether or not a helmet is good to wear and write ticket for offense of a law that no consumer has a prayer of complying with.

    Toleration of these control freaks in government is insanity.

  28. 28 FUJI Nov 7th, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    toph :

    Great statement on 5 Nov .

    Interesting that it went over the heads of some readers. your followups were right on.

    Your come backs to those who ” feel and act smugly superior about thier particular tastes or interests” are well taken by those with common scence.

    I once had a doctor tell me that not wearing a helmet is just another way of thinning the herd. Was he serious no! but having to deal with tragedy it was his way of keeping his sanity.

    I tried my best not to not to get graphic this time around. Thanks Cyril

  29. 29 stephen Nov 8th, 2008 at 2:33 am


    The whole DOT sticker business sounds like a mess..

    I heard that if I was to ride in the USA with an Australian Standards approved helmet that I could be given a ticket because the helmet did not have a DOT sticker and that the local law enforcement don’t care if the Australian Standard is higher.

    I guess I might find out if I get stopped by the local law when I go to Sturgis next year.

  30. 30 Mike Greenwald Nov 8th, 2008 at 4:43 am

    Send them a postcard……and the hell with the fine

  31. 31 Mike Greenwald Nov 8th, 2008 at 4:50 am
  32. 32 Mike Greenwald Nov 9th, 2008 at 5:08 pm


    I think that the effect that a helmet has for you is the reduced perception of risk. This reduced perception of risk has been passed on to legislators and does not mean that the risk itself has been reduced, just the perception of it.

    You brought up seat belts and sporting endeavors and possibly reading this will open your eyes.

    If there’s one thing we know about our risky world, it’s that seat belts save lives, right? And they do, of course. But reality, as usual, is messier and more complicated than that. John Adams, risk expert and emeritus professor of geography at University College London, was an early skeptic of the seat belt safety mantra. Adams first began to look at the numbers more than 25 years ago. What he found was that contrary to conventional wisdom, mandating the use of seat belts in 18 countries resulted in either no change or actually a net increase in road accident deaths.

    How can that be? Adams’ interpretation of the data rests on the notion of risk compensation, the idea that individuals tend to adjust their behavior in response to what they perceive as changes in the level of risk. Imagine, explains Adams, a driver negotiating a curve in the road. Let’s make him a young male. He is going to be influenced by his perceptions of both the risks and rewards of driving a car. The considerations could include getting to work or meeting a friend for dinner on time, impressing a companion with his driving skills, bolstering his image of himself as an accomplished driver. They could also include his concern for his own safety and desire to live to a ripe old age, his feelings of responsibility for a toddler with him in a car seat, the cost of banging up his shiny new car or losing his license. Nor will these possible concerns exist in a vacuum. He will be taking into account the weather and the condition of the road, the amount of traffic and the capabilities of the car he is driving. But crucially, says Adams, this driver will also be adjusting his behavior in response to what he perceives are changes in risks. If he is wearing a seat belt and his car has front and side air bags and anti-skid brakes to boot, he may in turn drive a bit more daringly.

    The point, stresses Adams, is that drivers who feel safe may actually increase the risk that they pose to other drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians and their own passengers (while an average of 80% of drivers buckle up, only 68% of their rear-seat passengers do). And risk compensation is hardly confined to the act of driving a car. Think of a trapeze artist, suggests Adams, or a rock climber, motorcyclist or college kid on a hot date. Add some safety equipment to the equation — a net, rope, helmet or a condom respectively — and the person may try maneuvers that he or she would otherwise consider foolish. In the case of seat belts, instead of a simple, straightforward reduction in deaths, the end result is actually a more complicated redistribution of risk and fatalities. For the sake of argument, offers Adams, imagine how it might affect the behavior of drivers if a sharp stake were mounted in the middle of the steering wheel? Or if the bumper were packed with explosives. Perverse, yes, but it certainly provides a vivid example of how a perception of risk could modify behavior.

    In everyday life, risk is a moving target, not a set number as statistics might suggest. In addition to external factors, each individual has his or her own internal comfort level with risk-taking. Some are daring while others are cautious by nature. And still others are fatalists who may believe that a higher power devises mortality schedules that fix a predetermined time when our number is up. Consequently, any single measurement assigned to the risk of driving a car is bound to be only the roughest sort of benchmark. Adams cites as an example the statistical fact that a young man is 100 times more likely to be involved in a severe crash than is a middle-aged woman. Similarly, someone driving at 3:00 a.m. Sunday is more than 100 times more likely to die than someone driving at 10:00 a.m. Sunday. Someone with a personality disorder is 10 times more likely to die. And let’s say he’s also drunk. Tally up all these factors and consider them independently, says Adams, and you could arrive at a statistical prediction that a disturbed, drunken young man driving in the middle of the night is 2.7 million times more likely to be involved in a serious accident than would a sober, middle-aged woman driving to church seven hours later.

    The bottom line is that risk doesn’t exist in a vacuum and that there are a host of factors that come into play, including the rewards of risk, whether they are financial, physical or emotional. It is this very human context in which risk exists that is key, says Adams, who titled one of his recent blogs: “What kills you matters — not numbers.” Our reactions to risk very much depend on the degree to which it is voluntary (scuba diving), unavoidable (public transit) or imposed (air quality), the degree to which we feel we are in control (driving) or at the mercy of others (plane travel), and the degree to which the source of possible danger is benign (doctor’s orders), indifferent (nature) or malign (murder and terrorism). We make dozens of risk calculations daily, but you can book odds that most of them are so automatic—or visceral—that we barely notice them.

  33. 33 customfighterer Nov 10th, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    The way i see it is letting people have their own choice as to whether they wear helmets or not is a great idea. This country/world is overpopulated anyway. Thinning of the herd is a great idea. You let the people that are too stupid….i mean want to have the illusion of feeling free while riding down the road, and if they crash well so be it. That is their American right to be able to leave their “brains” on the gound.

    When everyone tells me that they dont like fullface helmets because theyre too restricting or they make them feel claustrophobic, I ask them if they mean….My friends will make fun of me or It doesnt LOOK cool. Im sorry to say that those (quality) helmet manufacturers have done such a good job at making safe and exciting looking helmets, that you’ll look much “cooler” going down the road with one of those opposed of your ugly mug hanging out.

    argue all you want. don’t wear your seatbelts or helmets. It only solidifies my point of thinning the herd. The weak, sick, and stupid shall perish first.

    final point..DOT “certification” doesnt mean shit. They don’t even actually test all the helmets that have those stickers. They may have tested a similar one at some point so they assume that the companys next helmet is also DOT certifiable. SNELL on the other hand actually does test helmets and give them ratings based on impacts, abrasions, etc.

    heres something to have a look at:

    make your own choices I guess, but don’t get mad because someone is actually looking out for your dumb ass.

  34. 34 Mike Greenwald Nov 10th, 2008 at 4:28 pm


    In states that have no helmet law or age restriction laws, over half of the riders choose to wear a helmet.

    The fatality rates in states that have helmet laws are no indicator of safety. Helmets are a perceived margin of safety. Cagers will operate closer to you because they feel that you are protected.

    “don’t get mad because someone is actually looking out for your dumb ass” Say what?
    By whose authority have I given anyone my right to look out for my own dumb ass. Get screwed and screw your horse if you think that you can imply or authorize anyone to look after my dumbass. You can go to hell in a handbasket and stay there if you think you can do that. Park your bike, and take off your helmet. The bloodflow to your brain has ceased nourishing it.

  35. 35 Bigwoody Nov 10th, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Abate member in Ohio, we helped Pennslyvania riders become lid-free.

    Twenty miles to border, do wear helmet at night, deer and lack of visibility ar e
    the main reasons. Also keeps the ears warm.

    50 year rider

  36. 36 Nicker Nov 11th, 2008 at 1:26 am

    RE: (Mike G.)
    “… there is no reason to tolerate the government ever indicating that we are less of a citizen nor more important a citizen because of what we choose as transport….

    Mike, “transportation” is just an excuse. This is about control and managing the country “efficiently.”
    Trouble is, people like me don’t like to be “managed.”

    RE: (toph)
    “… why do those pansies need to wear a helmet?…”

    Because NASCAR and other sports have liability issues that come along with high dollar sports.
    No connection between the every day scooter jock and these “pansies.”

    “…i take it from the posts here that you’ve never fallen off a bike and hit your head…”

    Ya, high side, low side, endo….. about every get-off there is…. But guess what, THAT AIN”T THE ISSUE… .!!!!

    Get a clue, the issues is social engineering. (-BTW- the “satire” was lame & abvious.)

    RE: (customf-)
    “… This country/world is overpopulated anyway. Thinning of the herd is a great idea…”

    Well, i much prefer this “darwinneian” method than that proposed by Hillary-Care and other such Govt. resources management strategies. All such plans make a “business case” for how much “service” your “worth.” Too-old, too-worthless, too-(whatever) you don’t get the service. Any guesses where Bikers fall in these processes…. ???.

    RE: -fuji-
    “… ‘feel and act smugly superior about thier particular tastes or interests’ are well taken by those with common scence…”

    Yes, that’s called “reality.”
    For the rest of your life your gonna run into people who will “feel & act superior”….. Guess what, it’s their right. Just as it’s your right to ignor them, which is easy if your comfortable with who you are and what you can do.
    Obviously, those who have “self esteam” issues are gonna rag on the “others.”

    RE: (stephan)
    “.. Australian Standards are different and we have a central body run by the federal govt that test and approve …”

    Ya it’s all that “test & approve” stuff that gets ya to “the slippery slope.”
    Don’t you guys have another “central body” that decided that none of you guys needs a hand gun to defend yuourselves….?

    -BTW- now that the labor party is back in what’s happening to the surpluss that the conservatives built up…?

    Just another interested former Ausi from Cronulla and Cooma- 1949-1955 …….. 🙂

  37. 37 Mike Greenwald Nov 11th, 2008 at 2:22 am


    -“transportation” is just an excuse. This is about control and managing the country “efficiently.”
    Trouble is, people like me don’t like to be “managed.”

    Seems to work fine if they just “Leave me the hell alone”

  38. 38 Nicker Nov 11th, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    “… Leave me the hell alone …”

    Now Mike, how many times do “they” have to tell ya that Socialism only works
    “When everyone participates.” There’ll be no opting out of this deal.

    You will be controlled, and you will like it….. because it’s good for you!
    So get ready for your Electric-bike. They will be sending you a payment book right after inauguration.
    (Hitler did it with the Volks Wagen)
    Soon as global worming is under control, UPS delivers the kit.
    Ya wanna do your part….. don’t-cha..???

    But , Buick is at the top of the ChiCom buy-list…. What’s up with that…???
    Funny thing, GM & Ford are doing fine everywhere else in the world but here.
    Could EPA & CAFE requirements have anything to do with that….. do ya spose…???

    We now have history repeating itself.
    The Russians are doing military exercises with Cuba.
    Good thing Bush-the-younger put missiles in Eastern Europe.
    Now BO can offer to remove them to keep Russia out of Cuba (de ja vou, Kennedy).

    So, forget about being “left alone,” That my friend (er… Comrad) is a thing of the past.
    From now on we’ll be “forced participants” because “that’ll make it’s better for everyone.”
    And remember :
    “…Right-thinking will be rewarded, Wrong-thinking will be punished…”

    My prediction:
    BillJeff Clinton, Emperor of the UN…. the new Federation (a Treckie’s dream come true).
    Kids singing “The International” in schools across the world.
    What a glorious future we have to look forward to.

    Sorry, just trying to get into the spirit of “change.”
    (before the Fairness Dotrin & Hate Speech Police show up)
    Isn’t that what everybody wanted? Change?


  39. 39 Mike Greenwald Nov 11th, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Hey Nicker,
    Got any spare “change”?
    Ya Know this is going to take a helluva lot of effort to change everything back.
    Heck, it would take a lot of effort to change it back from where we are at now.
    Wasn’t it Coca Cola with “We are the World”?
    Gettin’ to a point some time that the media sells us crap candidates just like the cereal companies sold their little prizes in the cereal boxes and both are just as disappointing.
    Screw the electric bike. Just another way to tax my ass and tie me up with some damned utility provider. By the way, with our boy Obama cuttin’ apart the coal companies and aimed at ruining them, what’s his plan for genrating electricity?
    Don’t want a tethered existence like that
    So where does that leave us? Eat more beans for methane powered bikes?
    Damn these politicians all to hell if they feel that they need to protect my sorry ass or dumbass from myself.

  40. 40 Nicker Nov 11th, 2008 at 11:02 pm


    Spare change is certainly getting marginal. Won’t really know till the retirement system numbers firm up.

    “… media sells us crap candidates …”
    Yap, hence “The Mc-Ster”

    “… going to take a helluva lot of effort to change everything back…”
    Ya, but every sport coach tells ya when your really screwing up ya gotta get back to basics.

    Looks like about 20% of the conservative base sat this one out. Hope is those people will be engaged enough to get the GOP back to basics… (“compassionate conservatism” didn’t cut it).

    Good news is that the majority of the Conservatives that did survive are not “Teddy Kennedy ass kissers.” That’s the up-side. And a few of the young Turks coming out of the military are also real, motivated conservatives. And just like the Clinton-era DoD cutbacks sent some good talent out into the real world, any BO manipulation of the Pentagon will send another wave of real talented guys our way.

    “…. Obama cutting’ apart the coal companies …”

    One can only hope he tries it. What do ya think will happen to his union support….? All of “Joe Hill’s” legacy will come back to bite him in the ass.

    Fifty years of increasing Progressive activism has got us to this point. It’ll take some non-trivial amount of Conservative activism to reverse the damage. The problem is, by their very nature Conservatives are not political activist (or community organizers). They have private sector “daytime jobs.” That has to change!!!!

    About the only way to get-em motivated is to scare the shit out of em.
    BO could be just that that “boogie man”…… ???

    Oil prices are way down and still dropping, but the market is still in the dumpster… That’s damned scary too!

    Me, i’m gonna have fun with this while i can. While dissing idiots is still covered under the 1st amendment.

    Some time in the near future i expect that this sorta stuff will be categorized as hate speech.

    “… Don’t want a tethered existence like that…”

    Neither do i., bro….. neither do i.
    It’s time to get back to basics.


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