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AMA Asks for Meeting with CDC on Helmet Law

Wednesday, November 27, 2013
American Motorcyclist Association
Following up on United States Representative Tim Walberg’s (R-Michigan) request that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain why it is supporting efforts to create federally mandated motorcycle helmet laws, the American Motorcyclist Association is now seeking answers from the CDC as well. AMA Vice President for Government Relations, Wayne Allard, has contacted CDC Director Tom Frieden requesting a meeting to clarify goals of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and get an explanation as to why the CDC is involved in traffic safety matters at all.

Additionally, a slide presented during the Task Force’s presentation to the CDC in October 2013 “links the adoption of universal helmet-use laws to a potential reduction in motorcycle riding, which would help meet the CDC’s goal to reduce injuries and fatalities.” This quote, taken from the AMA Frequently Asked Questions page published on November 26, 2013 and titled “Is the Centers for Disease Control Trying to Reduce Motorcycle Use?” can be accessed by following the link at the bottom of the page.

The AMA press release announcing Mr. Allard’s meeting request is included in full below. - MotoUSA

The American Motorcyclist Association is seeking a meeting with the head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find out whether the agency is trying to reduce motorcycle ridership by pursuing a federal mandatory motorcycle helmet law.

The meeting request, made by AMA Vice President for Government Relations Wayne Allard in a Nov. 22 letter to CDC Director Tom Frieden, was made a day after U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) sent a letter to Frieden expressing concerns over the same issue. Walberg's Nov. 21 letter questions the work of a CDC advisory group called the Community Preventative Services Task Force and refers to a presentation at a task force meeting in October 2013.

In his letter, Allard repeated a question asked by Walberg: "Is it the goal or strategy of the CDC to reduce the use of motorcycle - a legal mode of transportation - by recommending and pursuing a federal helmet law?

"With the safety of motorcyclists the utmost priority of the AMA, we are willing to work with all stakeholders, including the CDC, to promote rider education and training, as well as motorist awareness programs. These are effective strategies to reduce motorcycle crashes from ever occurring. Whereas, universal motorcycle helmet laws do nothing to prevent crashes," Allard wrote.

The CDC, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is headquartered in Atlanta.

The AMA strongly advocates helmet use but believes that adult riders, not governments, should make the choice whether or not to wear a helmet. Mandatory helmet laws do nothing to prevent crashes. The AMA supports actions that help riders avoid a crash from occurring, including voluntary rider education, improved licensing and testing, and expanded motorist awareness programs.

Like Rep. Walberg, the AMA questions what expertise and authority the CDC and its task force have in the traffic safety arena. Motorcycling is not a disease to be cured. It is a legitimate means of transportation and recreation enjoyed by an estimated 11 million Americans.

The AMA has prepared an FAQ on the issue to provide the motorcycling community with the most current information. To view it, please click here: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/Resources/CDCMotorcycleUseFAQ.aspx.

About the American Motorcyclist Association
Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world's largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders' interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com.
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2turbos   November 27, 2013 06:56 PM
The CDC's main interest is to reduce health care costs, thereby reducing the cost of ObamaCare to the government. Wearing a helmet increases a rider's chances of survival and prevention of injury, reducing costs. Wearing a helmet is a private matter as I see it. I always wear one myself. I respect the right of others to not wear one.
counterintuitive   November 27, 2013 05:04 PM
Come on it's naive to think that the CDC wouldn't see a reduction in motorcycle ridership as a good thing, especially if the "problem" driving-down ridership was a mandatory helmet law. Same with seat belts, drinking and driving, etc. They might even be happy if ridership rose as a result of fewer people wrecking and dying or ending up in comas because they didn't have a helmet on. But most safety oriented legislation had an immediate effect of reducing participation in legal areas that were closely associated with it. When the cost/benefit is negative, that's not a problem. Bikers have to realize that the world doesn't exist for them to ride on it and people lose their legal rights and privileges to changes in legislation on a daily basis. If I lived in say Colorado I would be happy to wear a mandated helmet if I could carry a loaded sidearm while I ride.