Prepared for the Texas Motorcycle Rights Association
Senator Carona wants to put a helmet on us, he better think long and hard about this because:
1.The Brain Institute of America states that 1.4 million Americans sustain head trauma each year and 50,000 people die every year as a result of head trauma. Only 4810 of those who died were bikers and 62% of the people in car accidents have some form of head trauma.
2. Fatalities per 100,000 Population have virtually remained the same from 1994 through 2006.
3. Falls from the same level injure and kill more people in a year than on a motorcycle.
4. What the good Senator wants to put on the bikers is criminal. The standards FMVSS 218 have not been upgraded in over 34 years! One study that the taxpayer footed the bill for, stated “It is concluded that (1) motorcycle helmets have no statistically significant effect on the probability of fatality; (2) helmets reduce the severity of head injuries; and (3) past a critical impact speed [13 mph], helmets increase the severity of neck injuries. It was the Goldstein study and, of course, the DOT ignored it.
5. One of the studies that was used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was the Feasibility Study of Upgrading FMVSS No. 218, Motorcycle Helmets (1997) and estimated helmets to about 37 percent effective in preventing fatalities. This was a statistic. Report of questionable worth. They revised their estimate up from 29% to 37% for helmet effectiveness. It should be noted that no helmets were tested by the DOT in the years 1982, 1983, 1987 and 1988. The same years that the DOT used when they statistically analyzed the upgrade to supposed helmet effectiveness. They stated that, “They include motorcycles, mopeds, 3-wheeled cycles other than All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), “other” motorcycles and motorcycles of unknown type. They considered a rider to be unhelmeted when coded either as 00 (None Used/Not Applicable) or 15 (Helmet Used Improperly). With the exception of unknowns, which were proportionally distributed, all other codes were interpreted as helmeted. This includes codes for safety belts and child safety seats. The assumption made is that the original investigator, who filled out the Police Accident Report, or PAR, had used a restraint code to indicate that a helmet was worn.”
6. There is no federal law that states a manufacturer, importer, distributor or dealer has to maintain a record of the first purchaser of the helmet for use in the event of a recall (Title 49 U.S. Code §301.17). If it weren’t criminal, it would be so funny to look at what NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation makes you go through to find recall information on helmets. The Safety Defects Investigation Program is supposed to identify motor vehicle and safety related defects. The DOT requested in 2003 for $8.1 million to fund this program. Ask the DOT how many people beyond the manufacturers that they have been able to contact in a recall. (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Volume 5, Revised as of October 1, 2004 – Cite: 49CFR577.7) (B) (Except in the case of a tire) if decided by the Administrator to be required for motor vehicle safety, by public notice in such manner as the Administrator may require after consultation with the manufacturer. In this instance the Administrator has utilized the Federal Register as its public notice and the question here is how many people even know where to look or what the Federal Register is.
7. For fourteen years the DOT Fatality Accident Reporting System (FARS) has shown that more people are killed using the helmet than without.
8. Back in January of 1981, DOT Contract No. HS-5-01160 came out. Their “Summary of findings” addressed the need for motorcycle safety training. In single vehicle accidents, motorcycle rider error was present as the accident precipitating factor in about two-thirds of the cases, with the typical error being a slideout and fall due to overbraking or running wide on a curve due to excess speed or under-cornering. Motorcycle riders between the ages of 16 and 24 are significantly overrepresented in accidents; motorcycle riders between the ages of 30 and 50 are significantly underrepresented. Although the majority of the accident-involved motorcycle riders are male (96%), the female motorcycle riders are significantly overrepresented in the accident data. The motorcycle riders involved in accidents are essentially without training; 92% were self-taught or learned from family or friends. Motorcycle rider training experience reduces accident involvement and is related to reduced injuries in the event of accidents. More than half of the accident-involved motorcycle riders had less than 5 months experience on the accident motorcycle, although the total street riding experience was almost 3 years. Motorcycle riders with dirt bike experience are significantly underrepresented in the accident data. But then Mary Peters, Secretary of Transportation, tried to get an amendment allowing her to take the grant money that was to go to Motorcycle Awareness and Safety Education and to use it to promote the use of a helmet. And while you are at it, ask TxDOT why they stole from our Rider Education Fund.
9. During the years 2000-2006, 59 motorcycle helmets were recalled after failing penetration tests. The DOT did not test every helmet manufactured during that time frame. Do not be misled or misinformed by the DOT. All it requires is that the manufacturer conduct a self-certification test (97% of manufacturers are Asian corporations) and the DOT may only inspect 20% of the imports.
10. The good Senator is worried about unreimbursed medical care costs. Last year (2007) Baylor College of Medicine testified across the State of Texas bikers incurred $1.6 million in unreimbursed medical expenses but he and his committee were informed that Harris County Medical District had incurred $100 million in unreimbursed medical care costs for illegal immigrants. It seems that the good Senator doesn’t mind spending $100 million of hard working taxpaying citizens money on illegal immigrants but God forbid that a biker (who is probably one of those hard working taxpaying citizens) have any part of $1.6 million spent on him or her for an accident probably caused by an inattentive driver.
Dana Young SD 15 Advisor
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