By Rusty Bongard
May 31, 2007
Please, can we get our priorities in order?
Fact - 2/3 of all motorcycle crashes are caused by Right of Way violations committed by automobile drivers.
Fact- The majority of Michigan motorcycle drivers are well paid, hard working, insurance carrying people.
Take your own poll of the bikers you know.
If you're concerned that your tax dollars will be eaten up by vegetated people who did not have enough insurance to cover their long term health care, check out who makes up the majority of them. (Hint) They drive CARS! They are YOU!
The argument here is not about the Utility of helmets, it s about the Futility of helmet laws.
Let's go back a mile on the road BEFORE the crash. Was the rider properly trained and endorsed?
Was the rider on a bike that was appropriate for his/her abilities and experience?
Was the rider sober and straight?
Was the Automobile driver on a cell phone, DVD player, eating, changing CD's, yelling at kids through their rearview mirror, or doing anything but paying attention while driving?
Was the Automobile driver trained and well versed on driving on roadways with motorcycles, and aware of the importance of watching for them?
Were there severe enough penalties for Right of Way violations causing death or injury in place to make even the worst driver fear the consequences of not looking for motorcycles before entering an intersection or turning left? Was the Automobile Driver sober and straight?
This is what ABATE is all about. Freedom from tyrannical violations of rights, and education creating a safer environment for us to ride in. This, including education on the merits of helmets as a meaningful part of a much bigger and more complex motorcycle safety program. NOT helmet LAWS as THE myopic minded CURE for Motorcycle Safety. Most of us will continue to wear a helmet at those times we feel it is useful and prudent. We are not stupid, suicidal, or interested in living on the edge. We are experienced long term riders, and are quite certain that we can decide for ourselves what kind of safety devices will best benefit our riding situation. We do not need the government under the false pretense that they know what is best for us to FORCE a helmet to be worn on our head.
How much would it cost the State of Michigan to require Automobile Drivers Training Courses to include Motorcycles as part of the training curriculum?
How much would it cost the State of Michigan to reprint the license renewal tests to include several comprehensive questions on driving with and around motorcycles?
How much would it cost the State of Michigan to enact a serious fine and penalty for right of way violations that kill or injure motorcyclists?
The answer is very little financial cost.
Economically the gains to the State of Michigan Citizens would be immense.
An independent consulting firm, (Michigan Consultants) estimates an annual Tourism increase of 53.9 million dollars, New sales and accessory increases of 500 million dollars (motorcycle industry),and over 2700 new jobs between tourism and sales with a helmet law repeal. All of the great lakes states with the exception of Michigan are helmet choice. Michigan is a tremendous untapped resource for motorcycle touring, particularly the Upper Peninsula. It is a shame Michigan is not motorcycle friendly. Many of us leave the state to ride and spend our free time and money. Most out of state riders avoid our state. Michigan should be embracing the motorcycle touring phenomenon which has skyrocketed across our country with a fervor. The Upper Peninsula is being robbed of a huge financial boon that they NEED. The summer months in the Upper Peninsula which has the roads, motels, eateries, and casinos already in place for fall deer hunters and winter snowmobilers would find motorcyclists to be the perfect summer resource, that would have little impact on their roads, the wildlife, or be a negative intrusion upon the other seasonal activities.
It is dereliction of duty to the taxpayers and citizens of Michigan to forego this Economic gain. Just for the sake of AAA who neither insures nor offers to insure motorcyclists.
Annually Michigan Motorcyclist deaths from crashes is less than half of deaths attributable to pedestrians for criminys sake.
Bottom line: The Un-American, Unfair, Unworthwhile, Mandatory Helmet law has to go. A meaningful and comprehensive program to strikingly decrease motorcycle crashes has to be implemented. The result will be very economically salient for Michigan residents, and ultimately prove to be the best course for reducing not only head injuries but the whole vast field of paralysis, limb loss, blunt force trauma injuries, and severe orthopedic injuries that helmets do not protect us from anyway.
This is clear to the vast majority of Representatives and Senators in Michigan. It was clear to them last year also. The only reason Michigan still is not doing the right thing, is because our Governor refuses to listen to anyone but her financial backers, the Insurance Industry.
The public burden argument against helmet repeal in Michigan is largely contingent upon a perceived disproportionately higher dip into MCCA funds by motorcyclists that would increase with helmet repeal. The resulting costs then being recouped by raising the insurance premiums of all Insurance consumers.
Forget that motorcyclists all pay into the MCCA for each vehicle they own. I pay on two automobiles one truck and three motorcycles. Forget that unless there is an automobile involved in a motorcycle crash none of the funds are available to motorcyclists.
Focus on the fact that the insurance industry fights tooth and nail to keep helmets on our heads supposedly for the general fiscal benefit of anyone who would be financially burdened by increased MCCA payments. The insurance industry also goes to great lengths to stigmatize us in the public eye in this effort.
I wonder how many of the automobile
crashes caused by a drunk driver resulted in someone needing
to draw from the MCCA? I wonder how many cell phone caused crashes
resulted in someone needing to draw from the MCCA? I wonder how
many cases of inattenional blindness caused crashes that resulted
in someone needing to draw from the MCCA? The public babble so
often heard about if "they don't wear a helmet, that s fine
as long as they don't get one cent out of my pocket", is
a sentiment which is baited excessively by the Insurance Industry
and perpetually echoed by the media. It is a distortion that
needs cleared. If I choose to not wear a helmet, and while legally
and properly riding my motorcycle am smucked by joe blow in his
automobile ultimately requiring funds from the MCCA which I pay
into 6 times annually, I am somehow less deserving than the drunk
driver, the cell phone user, or the inattentionally blind idiot?
Does the general public approve of part of their insurance premiums
going to cover the costs of these payouts from the MCCA fund?
Someone should sue the State of Michigan for this clear violation
of equal and just treatment advocated by the State, its Insurance
Industry Council maintained and governed MCCA, and adamant discriminatorily
Below is a recitation delivered By Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story some 150 years ago. What is YOUR sentiment on freedom issues?
About: "I am a 46 year old State Police Officer working in Lansing, Michigan. I have been a biker for over 30 years and an ABATE of Michigan member for over 20 years. I am presently the ABATE Regional Coordinator for a 5 county area of the state of Michigan."
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