Yesterday’s pet peeve was cars that don’t stop for pedestrians. Today’s pet peeve also deals with vehicles, but this time, the two-wheeled kind. So, without further adieu…
is motorcyclists riding motorcycles without helmets.
Our town is a tourist town here in northcentral Pennsylvania and every spring and summer, we get our fair share of motorcyclists riding through it and to it. It’s common to see motorcycles lining the streets or filling the parking lots of local restaurants.
It’s also common to see some of these motorcyclists not wearing helmets while operating their motorcycles, because under Commonwealth of Pennsylvania law, motorcyclists are allowed to ride motorcycles without helmets if the operators are “21 years of age or older and has been licensed to operate a motorcycle for not less than two full calendar years OR has completed a motorcycle safety course approved by PennDOT or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.”
Most telling is the note at the end of the fact sheet (cited above in the link) that in answer to a question about helmets leading to neck injuries, the answer is, not surprisingly:
“No. Studies indicate that the use of a motorcycle helmet provides a significant reduction in head and neck injuries.”
Yet walking through our town on Monday, I still spied a biker sitting on his Harley, no helmet in sight. Like many bikers I’ve seen in our town, his head was shaved and in this context, it reminded me of the opening credits of CSI (around the 25-26 second mark):
I imagine his head would be split open as easily as that mannequin head if he were in a crash without a helmet.
One of the main reasons that motorcyclists without helmets is one of my pet peeves is because my wife is an EMT, and as such, she has been to her fair share of motorcycle accidents. It’d be fair (today’s word of the day: “fair” and today’s phrase of the day, in case you missed it, “fair share”) to say that four out of five of them have involved fatalities. Were they helmet-related? I don’t know that for a fact. I don’t know that the people involved would have been saved if they had been wearing a helmet, because of other factors such as speed and extenuating circumstances, namely other larger vehicles.
However, I do know that even a mouse knows to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle:
When God was handing out brains, I think it’d be fair to say that he gave mice a fair share of them. If only it applied to all motorcyclists.