Helmets: Choice or Law

Gabreail Velez
Comp. 1 04625
Rogerian Argument

Helmets: Choice or Law?

There are over 6,000,000 motorcycles registered in the US and with the rising of off road bikes it’s approximated that more than 7,000,000 people ride a bike at least once a year. Motorcycles are becoming more established than ever with the X Games hosted every year in the US, promoting motocross as a highly enjoyable recreational sport. People enjoy these vehicles for recreational hobbies, collecting, and some just like to feel the freedom of the open road. Although these hogs are entertaining for many people, they pose a serious threat when not accompanied by the proper equipment. In the last nine months of 2011 there were 3,580 motorcycle fatalities in America. Helmets are by far the single most effective method to prevent motorcycle fatalities and serious injuries (Hedlund). In 2011, 44 percent of motorcycle fatalities were not wearing helmets. The NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,829 motorcyclists’ lives last year, and could have saved 822 of the unhelmeted motorists’. These numbers have raised a question of some importance: should the government intrude on citizens own discretion by invoking a country-wide helmet law? Although helmets have drawbacks such as hearing and vision impairment, discomfort, and being undesirable, helmets can save your life and wearing them should be enforced.

Helmets do have some imperfections, despite all the benefits. Helmets are considered undesirable especially to younger generations who don’t tend to care about safety. While safety is important, if a product doesn’t appeal to people they aren’t going to use it. This seems to be the case with most safety equipment such as seat belts, bicycle helmets, and elbow and knee pads. However, there are more substantial drawbacks such as vision and hearing impairment. When wearing full coverage helmets drivers’ peripheral vision is obscured, limiting safety for cyclists and other...