It matters more that medical groups oppose easing North Carolina’s helmet law than it does that some motorcyclists favor riding without protecting their heads. The proposed changes from Republican Rep. John Torbett of Gaston County would basically allow those over the age of 21, with a motorcycle license in effect for a year and with $10,000 in insurance for crash related injuries, to ride without helmets.
Motorcyclists have long campaigned to end the law or modify it beyond recognition. They argue the risk is theirs and the decision about whether to wear helmets should be theirs.
No. As one representative of emergency physicians noted, that $10,000 worth of insurance wouldn’t cover much in a head injury case. And the difference would ultimately be carried by others with insurance or by hospitals. Second, parents spend hours arguing with kids about wearing helmets with their bicycles; dropping the requirement for faster, more powerful motorcycle riders would set a terrible example.
The numbers are simple, again from the N.C. College of Emergency Physicians: helmets cut the risk of head injury by 69 percent and the risk of death by 37 percent. If some motorcycle riders don’t care about that, then let the state step in and care for them.