I'm always amazed to see people riding large motorcycles in the United States without helmets. The history of helmets worldwide is an fascinating one.
As far back as 1914 helmets were made compulsory for The Isle of Man TT races. Despite this the world had to wait until 1961 when Australia became the first nation to make helmets mandatory.
I think that most right minded people would agree that helmets make sense but some still feel that being compelled by law is an injustice. What would promote this ?
In Victorian times many class A category drugs were perfectly legal to buy. Whether you took these potentially harmful substances was down to personal choice.
I believe most would agree to maintain our current laws to save vulnerable souls, especially from "hard drugs"
Surely you can use this argument against those who wish to revoke helmet regulation.
During the early days of motorcycling ,the machines weren't much faster than bicycles. There didn't seem to be a need for protective helmets. As they became more powerful the injuries became more numerous and serious.
This was brought to the fore by the death of TE Lawrence of Arabia in 1935.
Along with grief the public were struck by the irony of someone surviving the perils of The Great War in the Middle East only to die on an English country road.
Australian doctor Hugh Cairns treated Lawrence after his accident and was appalled by his injuries. After he reviewed the death rate amongst dispatch riders in the British Army he became determined to introduce some form of head protection.
After fighting back considerable opposition ,helmets became compulsory for Army dispatch riders in 1941. Unfortunately Cairns died in 1952 so didn't see his innovation become law in Britain in 1973.
I presume that it was easier to compel those in the forces to see sense because they were in the military.
Persuading "Joe Public" worldwide was quite a different matter.
A study in Iran revealed that many felt that helmets were too heavy or that they inhibited head movement. Some felt too hot or their hair styles were affected. Are these good enough reasons for regulators to allow people to take the risk?
In 1966 the US Federal Government persuaded most States to make helmets compulsory. Funds for road improvement schemes were promised as a sort of "trade off". Slowly over time many States revoked their helmet laws .Some even reasoned that they were unconstitutional.
Does The State have the right to compel you to wear a "lid"? You don't exactly endanger others by doing so. Some argue that too many safety features stop people thinking for themselves and accuse law makers of imposing a "Nanny State" on the individual.
On the other hand the wearing of helmets prevents serious brain injuries. This prevents a rider from requiring extensive treatment and placing a burden of care on their communities. This fact would some would say "over road" an individuals right to choose.
It strikes me that the cultural view of authority of any country affects the willingness of its people to accept regulations. Its been proved that helmets save lives. But is that life truely forfilled without the riders freedom to choose?
Ride safe people