The American Motorcycle Association (AMA) is moving quickly to alert riders nationwide that a federal task force is preparing to recommend that all 50 states have mandatory helmet laws for all riders.
The 15-member strong Community Preventative Services Task Force was appointed by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The task force makes their suggestions to the CDC who then reports to Congress about the many ways to improve health. This task force is preparing to recommend that all ages of riders, in all states, be required to wear helmets.
The AMA has consistently preached a strong message that riders would be more appropriate served if legislators would focus on programs to prevent motorcycle crashes from happening in the first place. The AMA also negated the task force’s belief that there would be economic savings since the overall costs of as a result of motorcycle crashes are minute when compared to national health care costs.
“The AMA continues to strongly encourage the use of personal protective equipment, including gloves, sturdy footwear and a properly fitted motorcycle helmet certified by its manufacturer to meet federal safety standards,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations, on Nov. 7. “But we also believe that adults should have the right to voluntarily choose to wear a helmet.”
The task force believes that a universal helmet law would also result in fewer missed days of work for injured riders. There is no mention that the task force has any interest in expanding “share the road” campaigns to make automobile and truck drivers more cognizant that motorcyclists are on the road too.
The task force is under the direction of the CDC who is under the direction of the Department of Health and Human Services – the same entity that is responsible for launching Obamacare. The official mission of the CDC is to “protect America from health, safety, and security threats, both foreign and in the United States.”
“The AMA strongly advocates helmet use, but helmet use alone is insufficient to ensure a motorcyclist’s safety,” said Allard. “There is a broad range of measures that can be implemented to improve the skill of motorcycle operators, as well as reduce the frequency of situations where other vehicle operators are the cause of crashes that involve motorcycles.”
The AMA has remained consistent on its position to oppose mandatory helmet use laws because those laws do absolutely nothing to prevent crashes. Allard goes on to say, “…the AMA supports actions that help riders avoid a crash from occurring, including voluntary rider education, improved licensing and testing, and expanded motorist awareness programs. This strategy is widely recognized and pursued in the motorcycling community.”
The last year of available data was 2000 and, in that year, 1.55 percent of total U.S. healthcare costs were attributed to vehicle crashes; motorcyclists represented a minute percentage of that figure.
Where do you stand on this?
To read the AMA position on voluntary helmet use, go to www.americanmotorcyclist.com/