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Wednesday, October 01 2014 @ 08:11 AM UTC

Robert Hurst on Maryland's Proposed Mandatory Helmet Law

Bike LawsWell OK it's really Colorado's bill but our bill is very similar. Some Highlights:

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Did it work? Did bike helmets Save the Children? Well, kids don't ride bikes nearly as much as they did in decades past, that's for sure, so there are fewer children injured or killed in bike wrecks. Mission accomplished, according to some. It's interesting how closely the sharp decline in kids' bicycling matches the steep ramp up of childhood obesity (and X-Box thumb injuries). Did we trade some juvenile bike wrecks for lifelong heart disease, strokes and cancer? That's messy, messy stuff, don't think about it.

Interestingly, bike helmets have also provided easy answers for people not directly concerned with promoting safe bicycling.The helmet nannies, most of them, don't even ride bikes themselves. Not at all. What they do is drive. And when they see someone riding a bike out there on the street, they think to themselves, man, that guy is a crazy person. I would never do that. And if they see someone riding a bike while not wearing a helmet -- double take -- that there is an affront to civilized society! That is a hostile act! Incredibly, unacceptably dangerous, and downright irresponsible. But this here, what I'm doing -- swerving all over the freeway at 70 mph while trying to keep a hot mocha latte from slurping onto my pants suit -- is not dangerous (on any one of many levels) or irresponsible, and of course would not require any sort of protective headgear. A mandatory bike helmet law serves these non-bike-riding citizens by confirming their modal biases, and, in turn, their basic lifestyle choices, for which they are always catching grief. In this way proposals for helmet laws pick up steam from outside the bicycle universe.
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This version of the MHL is also interesting in that it would apply to 18-and-under rather than the typical 16-and-under. So here we would actually be discouraging bike commuting by young workers of driving age, in favor of putting them onto the highways in their Hondas with aftermarket exhaust, careening at 70 while 'sexting' and scarfing McMuffins, proven deadly dangerous to themselves and everyone on the road with them. Oh, and playing their rock-and-roll music. Dang kids.

Hey, it seems like an easy answer to me: One of the best ways -- easiest ways -- to improve this country, right now, on multiple levels, profoundly, would be to encourage transportational bicycling among 16-to-18 year-old would-be drivers. House Bill 10-1147 [our bill is House Bill 140] goes the opposite direction. One stated goal of the legislation is to reduce health care costs. History shows us that helmet laws do the opposite. Opposite, opposite, opposite. But figuring these things out would require facing some messy corners of the truth, and people just aren't up to it. It's much easier to be counterproductive while carrying the shiny box. Messy truths are bad politics.
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http://www.industrializedcyclist.com/20110_Mind_Suck.html

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Authored by: Greg on Monday, February 08 2010 @ 11:36 AM UTC Robert Hurst on Maryland's Proposed Mandatory Helmet Law
traumatic brain injury: Perhaps all drivers or at least those with SUV's should be required to wear helmets......

Half of all traumatic brain injury victims suffer their injuries in automobile accidents. Traumatic brain injury occurs when a person suffers a sudden, violent blow to the head which causes some degree of brain injury or damage. In a car accident, this violent blow can occur when a person's head impacts an unyielding object on the internal parts of a vehicle or outside of the automobile. Automobile defect can be the cause, or can contribute to, traumatic brain injury that is suffered in a car crash.

Traumatic brain injury is one of the most common catastrophic injuries that a victim can sustain in a rollover accident. Forty percent of all rollover fatalities (which are often the result of serious traumatic brain injury) occur in sports utility vehicles or SUVs. Many SUVs are defectively designed, making them far less stable and much more likely to rollover in a car crash. The increased threats of vehicle rollover in SUVs have been well documented in crash tests. Unfortunately, thousands of people have suffered traumatic brain injury and other serious damages in SUV rollover accidents. Vehicle manufactures are well aware of these threats but often choose financial gain above vehicle safety modifications which could save thousands of lives.

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