Helmetless Biker Dies in Helmet Law Protest
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Being an Easyrider can come with a price. Every person who rides a motorcycle is aware of the dangers. Wearing a helmet may increase the odds in your favor but it's not a saving grace.
Oh, the irony. CNN
is reporting that a man died in a motorcycle accident while protesting the helmet law. The report states Philip A. Contos, 55, hit his brakes, fishtailed, and launched over the handlebars, hitting his head. He was not wearing a helmet, but authorities believe he would have survived if he had. Contos was participating in a ride organized by the Onondaga ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Towards Education) chapter. (More Irony)
Pundits and politicians are going to be all over this. They’ll spout rhetoric about the increasing number of motorcycle fatalities rising at an alarming rate. They’ll pound the pulpit demanding for universal helmet laws, throwing figures and percentages into the air as examples of their irrefutable evidence. Talks of raising the minimum riding age and tiered licensing will be tossed about. And the grand debate, helmet or no helmet will wage on, spearheaded by those who don’t even ride a motorcycle.
Bottom line is, riding a motorcycle is dangerous. It’s an undeniable part of its appeal, riding that fine line between control and reckless abandon. Its dangerous nature doesn’t change, no matter how many layers of protective gear you put on. I believe a motorcycle helmet will increase your chances of surviving an accident and improves the odds you don’t end up a vegetable, but I also believe in an adult’s right to choose. If a rider is over 21, then they should have the right to decide whether they want to wear a helmet or not. I applaud Mr. Contos. He believed in something and stood up to show his support for the cause. His death is both ironic and tragic, but I respect him for standing up for his right to choose. People will argue that his death was preventable, but I’d argue that. Death comes uninvited all the time.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I wear my gear. Enjoy wearing it, too. When I saw roughly 95% of bikers at the recent Laconia Motorcycle Rally
riding without helmets, it made me cringe. On a funny side note, New Hampshire patrolmen knew I wasn’t from around there because I was wearing a leather jacket, gloves and full-face helmet on a sultry summer day. If there’s any way I can improve the odds in my favor, I’ll take it. And I believe wearing motorcycle gear works in my favor.
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