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Discussion Starter #1
The following is a cut & paste from another biker forum. I'm just doing the cutting & pasting and NOT offering an opinion, so don't reply with any gripes to me.



Motorcycle Riders Foundation
P.O. Box 1808
Washington, DC 20013-1808
202-546-0983 (voice)
202-546-0986 (fax) (website)

Contact: Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice-President of Government Relations
[email protected] (e-mail)

May 8, 2005

#05NR09 - NATIONAL CALL TO ACTION: Lautenberg to Propose Amendment

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has learned that Senator Frank
Lautenberg (D-N.J) is planning to offer an amendment to the MRF's
Safety Language contained in the highway bill HR 3. The MRF has received an
advanced copy of Sen. Lautenberg’s proposed amendment. It would penalize,
prohibit, any state without a mandatory helmet law from participation in
grant process for monies designated for motorcycle training and awareness.
This amendment could be offered as soon as tomorrow, May 9th.

"Sen. Lautenberg has a long history of seeking avenues to institute a
national helmet law." said Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice-President of Government
Relations. "Every rider must act now."

"The MRF considers helmet laws to be a state issue, and certainly stand
alone from rider training. To hold states ransom, or keep them from
receiving much needed revenue for training is reprehensible." said MRF
President Karen Bolin. "I have absolute faith that motorcyclists nationwide
will defeat this amendment."

The MRF is calling on ALL riders to call your senators immediately and urge
them to vote NO on the Lautenberg amendment that would tie a state helmet
law to funding for motorcycle safety training.

There is no time for letters. CALLS are needed NOW. The Lautenberg
amendment MUST be defeated.

Richard Shelby (R) 202-224-5744
Jeff Sessions (R) 202-224-4124
Lisa Murkowski (R) 202-224-6665
Ted Stevens (R) 202-224-3004
John McCain (R) 202-224-2235
John Kyl (R) 202-224-4521
Blanche Lincoln (D) 202-224-4843
Mark Pryor (D) 202-224-2353
Diane Feinstein (D) 202-224-3841
Barbara Boxer (D) 202-224-3553
Wayne Allard (R) 202-224-5941
Ken Salazar (D) 202-224-5852
Chris Dodd (D) 202-224-2823
Joseph Lieberman (D) 202-224-4041
Joe Biden (D) 202-224-5042
Thomas Carper (D) 202-224-2441
Bill Nelson (D) 202-224-5274
Mel Martinez (R) 202-224-3041
Saxby Chablis (R) 202-224-3521
Johnny Isakson (R) 202-224-3642
Daniel Inouye (D) 202-224-3934
Daniel Akaka (D) 202-224-6361
Larry Craig (R) 202-224-2752
Mike Crappo (R) 202-224-6142
Richard Durbin (D) 202-224-2152
Barack Obama (D) 202-224-2854
Richard Lugar (R) 202-224-4814
Evan Bayh (D) 202-224-5623
Charles Grassley (R) 202-224-3744
Tom Harkin (D) 202-224-3254
Sam Brownback (R) 202-224-6521
Pat Roberts (R) 202-224-4774
Mitch McConnell (R) 202-224-2541
Jim Bunning (R) 202-224-4343
Mary Landrieu (D) 202-224-5824
David Vitter (R) 202-224-4623
Olympia Snowe (R) 202-224-5344
Susan Collins (R) 202-224-2523
Paul Sarbanes (D) 202-224-4524
Barbara Mikulski (D) 202-224-4654
Ed Kennedy (D) 202-224-4543
John Kerry (D) 202-224-2742
Carl Levin (D) 202-224-6221
Debbie Stabenow (D) 202-224-4822
Mark Dayton (D) 202-224-3244
Norm Coleman (R) 202-224-5641
Thad Cochran (R) 202-224-5054
Trent Lott (R) 202-224-6253
Christopher Bond (R) 202-224-5721
Jim Talent (R) 202-224-6154
Max Baucus (D) 202-224-2651
Conrad Burns (R) 202-224-2644
Chuck Hagel (R) 202-224-4224
Ben Nelson (D) 202-224-6551
Harry Reid (D) 202-224-3542
John Ensign (R) 202-224-6244
Judd Gregg (R) 202-224-3324
John Sununu (R) 202-224-2841
Jon Corzine (D) 202-224-4744
Frank Lautenberg (D) 202-224-3224
Peter Domenici (R) 202-224-6621
Jeff Bingaman (D) 202-224-5521
Charles Schumer (D) 202-224-6542
Hillary Clinton (D) 202-224-4451
Elizabeth Dole (R) 202-224-6342
Richard Burr (R) 202-224-3154
Kent Conrad (D) 202-224-2043
Byron Dorgan (D) 202-224-2551
Mike DeWine (R) 202-224-2315
George Voinovich (R) 202-224-3353
James Inhofe (R) 202-224-4721
Tom Coburn (R) 202-224-5754
Ron Wyden (D) 202-224-5244
Gordon Smith (R) 202-224-3753
Arlen Specter (R) 202-224-4254
Rick Santorum (R) 202-224-6324
Jack Reed (D) 202-224-4642
Lincoln Chafee (R) 202-224-2921
Lindsey Graham (R) 202-224-5972
Jim Demint (R) 202-2246121
Tim Johnson (D) 202-224-5842
John Thune (R) 202-224-2321
Bill Frist (R) 202-224-3344
Lamar Alexander (R) 202-224-4944
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) 202-224-5922
John Cornyn (R) 202-224-2934
Orrin Hatch (R) 202-224-5251
Robert Bennett (R) 202-224-5444
Patrick Leahy (D) 202-224-4242
James Jeffords (I) 202-224-5141
John Warner (R) 202-224-2023
George Allen (R) 202-224-4024
Patty Murray (D) 202-224-2621
Maria Cantwell (D) 202-224-3441
Robert Byrd (D) 202-224-3954
John Rockefeller (D) 202-224-6472
Herbert Kohl (D) 202-224-5653
Russ Feingold (D) 202-224-5323
Craig Thomas (R) 202-224-6441
Michael Enzi (R) 202-224-3424

316 Posts
I saw a study that showed there are fewer motorcycle deaths per rider capita in states without helmet laws than those with helmet laws.
I always wear a full face helmet, but don't know enough to comment on how effective a helmet is as compared to a defensive riding course.

240 Posts
frugality said:
OK, I will put on my "analytical" hat ::crunch, crunch::

It will be interesting to run correlation on these numbers. It seems like the fewer accidents in a state, the higher the fatality rate. (eyeball result) Which can be interpreted as, as long as riders are more careful (e.g., no helmet, feel insecure; scared by frequent accident report, etc.), then the fatality rate would be lower.

In DC where the speed is lower, accidents were not as lethal. So the speed when accidents occur may be of relevance. Run a regression with population (or use total registration as proxy) to see if higher speed (typically associated with sparcer population) increases fatality rate.

Now, it may also be interesting to see if some states have more riders than registration (e.g., Daytona? [ok, it's not a state] Sturgis?). I suspect that the more bikes there are on the state roads the less the fatality rate...more awareness.

We may conclude, at the end, that none of the major factors is really related to helmet wearing. However, by the definition of "accident," when it involves you personally, the probability becomes 100% (i.e., with certainty), and it would be nice if the head (and other parts of the body) is protected.

3,411 Posts
I think it's absolutley fine for the Federal Government to withhold Federal funds from states that choose not to follow Federal guidelines. Calling it "holding states ransom" is inflammatory spinspeak.

The MRF says it's a state issue. Fine. If the state wants to go it alone regarding helmet usage, they can go it alone in funding their "safety" programs.

Darcy said:
I saw a study that showed there are fewer motorcycle deaths per rider capita in states without helmet laws than those with helmet laws.
I suspect it was a poorly constructed study that failed to account for other factors. For instance: are states without helmet laws also, on average, states with low traffic densities? Are states without helmet laws also, on average, states with more flat, straight roads than curvy, mountainous ones? Etc.

Darcy said:
I always wear a full face helmet, but don't know enough to comment on how effective a helmet is as compared to a defensive riding course.
I think you'll find that combining both is the best. I can't recall hearing of any defensive riding courses that don't advise wearing a helmet every time you ride.

240 Posts
Brian said:
I think it's absolutley fine for the Federal Government to withhold Federal funds from states that choose not to follow Federal guidelines. Calling it "holding states ransom" is inflammatory spinspeak.
If it passes through the congress, then it will be "people's representatives" holding states ransom. :wink:

3,411 Posts
dero said:
Its really hard to understand you guys in the USA and your reluctance to wear helmets. ...
Don't lump us all into one big pile. Many US riders favor mandatory helmet laws. In fact, a recent poll here at BUSA showed 99%+ in favor (78% for all riders, 21% for under 18 year olds only, 0% for no laws). Some of the most influential motorcycle groups, including the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, encourage all riders to put on a brain bucket every time they ride. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation certainly does not represent my stance, and I suspect that it doesn't even represent the majority of riders' stances.

Many of us, though, just don't like being told we must do something, even if it's something we might have done anyway. It goes back to ol' King George vs the Colonists, and all that stuff. :wink:

dero said:
...Although I have to admit that I get a wee bit agro at having to remove my helmet when buying fuel.
Then why do it? I usually keep my helmet on at the pumps, even if I'm going inside to pay at the counter. (Of course, I have to remember to duck as I walk through the door if I've flipped my chinbar up. :oops: )

1,031 Posts
frugality said:
Looking at the raw numbers doesn't provide much information. Raw statistics (descriptive statistics) can be very deceiving. Inferential statistics (statistical analysis) would allow you to start to draw meaningful comparisons.

The tables don't provide enough data to determine if there is a "real" difference between the two groups, though a casual eye-ball analysis suggests no difference between the groups as defined.

The more fundamental problem with this report is the definition of the groups. As others have pointed out, there are many variables that could distort the actual effectiveness/lack of effectiveness of helmets. Everything from proportion of limited access highways vs open access, regional climate, urban vs rural ridership, distribution of bike size and type, actual helmet usage in the helmet law states vs no helmet states, etc.

There are sophisticated analytic tools like regression analysis (mentioned by another poster) that could shed some light on the effect of these variables but the problem always remains that some unmeasured variable could be influencing the results.

Finally, having doen psychological/cognitive testing on head injured motorcycle riders (as well as other kinds of head injuries) I can assure you that you don't want that kind of injury. Helmets do much to protect the brain. They don't help very much in preventing spinal/cervical injury. They don't prevent broken legs, either. Legs heal, severely injured brains may not.

319 Posts
Think it's all a matter of what you think of your head - good looking or not!

Why these laws that say "over or 18", you don't need to wear a helmet? People over 18 don't have accidents where their heads are injured???????????????????

Always gets me is to see Harley riders in all their leather gear, chaps or pants, jackets/vests, and gloves but NO Helmet.

90 Posts
Its been mandatory here in Canada for a long time. Even if it wasnt I would still be wearing one.

I've seen what happens to watermelons when they accelerate quick then decelerate even more quickly. :shock:

It aint pretty :cry:

My mellon dosnt need the help of sudden decleration to look any worse :!:

So if a helmet helps prevent that, then I wear a helmet :)

Super Moderator
8,074 Posts
I think the point here is not "are helmets a good idea" (I do), but "If you don't do this (or what we say) we will withhold your allowance". (OK Mom and Dad) Government knows best, right

Sounds like typical government linkage on Bills in general. Personally, I don't think it's right to apply linkage on any Bills. One good argument for the line Item Veto.

3,166 Posts
I wouldn't mind seeing them give MORE highway monies to a state that has some form of mandatory helmet laws. Sue me for being safe.
I do not agree with reducing motorcycle education monies for ANY reason though. And I wrote my senator and told him so.

209 Posts
AlexR said:
I've seen what happens to watermelons when they accelerate quick then decelerate even more quickly. :shock:

It aint pretty :cry:
Unfortunately, I've seen what happens to heads when they decelerate quickly against the road. (Actually, the mental image I'll always carry with me is the unhelmeted head that apparently also hit the guardrail before ending up on the road, after decelerating from approx. 85 mph -- according to the person he was racing against.) It's even less pretty. :pale:

3,411 Posts
dero said:
...As for taking helmets off when buying fuel, the fuel companies throughout Australia have a policy of not serving motorcyclists until they take their helmets off. They justify their policy by saying that a rider with a helmet on may want to rob their store - however they are not concerned about wigs, hats, balaclavas, hooded jackets or sunglasses. They also will not turn on the fuel pumps until the rider dismounts from the bike, while this doesn't worry me it really upsets a lot of cruiser riders for some unknown reason.
Ah, thanks for the insight.

It's a lot different where I ride because, except in Oregon where it's not legal, I pump my own gas. To turn on the pump I just swipe my debit card or insert a few dollars in the slot and, beep, the pump is on.

About the only time I see a real person is if I go inside the store to buy something in addition to gas; a soda, sandwich, Lotto tickets, etc. I fuel up almost exclusively at ARCO (Atlantic Richfield), and for the last few decades they've all been mini-marts. Great prices compared to other gas stations (most of which are also now mini-marts), but the days of getting your tires and oil checked, and your windshield cleaned are long gone.

My first part-time job, back in '70 when I was in 9th grade, was as a gas station attendant, and when I talk to my nephews about all the work I used to do they can't believe it. Oil changes and tire service and all that is specialty-shop stuff nowadays around here.

What's it like down under? How is it different, if at all, between larger cities and smaller towns?

394 Posts

5,363 Posts

Thanks for the links. Both Senators from Nebraska voted 'Nay'. I need to keep better track of what these guys are doing... We get blitzed with so much BS and propaganda at election time...

Premium Member
4,919 Posts
tks adam.
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