Blake's Policy Paper

Helmet law in Nebraska
Background : In 1967, the United States government required states to form a motorcycle helmet use laws to qualify for federal funds. 40 made their own universal helmet laws that where to be in effect by the end of 1969. By 1975, all but three states mandated helmets for all motorcyclists. As the US DOT (Department of Transportation) made financial penalties for states without helmet laws, Congress responded to state pressure by revoking federal authority to assess penalties for noncompliance. Between 1976 and 1978, 20 states weakened their helmet use laws to apply only to young riders (under 18). Eight states completely eliminated helmet laws for all motorcyclists. In the 1980s and early 1990s, several states reinstated helmet laws applying to all riders. In the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, Congress created incentives for states to enact helmet use and safety belt use laws. States with both laws were eligible for special safety grants, but states that had not enacted them by October 1993 had up to 3 percent of their federal highway funding transferred to highway safety programs.(1) In 1995 Congress lifted the federal sanctions against states without helmet laws, therefore many states weekend their laws and some eliminated them completely.

Policy: There should be no helmet law for motor cycles in the United States for pleasure riding. Statistics show that it is 21 times more likely for a person to get hurt on a horse than a motor cycle.(2) the United States Government does not require people to wear helmets. Why should people that ride motorcycles have to wear helmets and people that ride horses don’t. A serious accident for people riding horses happens about every 350 hours while a serious accident for people riding motorcycles happens about every 7500 hours.
Do people have to wear helmets while they are driving their cars? No. In all the research that I have done it is 7% more likely for someone in a car to get in an accident then someone on a motorcycle. People take less care and more risks when they feel safe (in a car) and more care when they feel exposed(on a motorcycle).
Motorcycles crashes are not even in the top five ways people receive head injuries. According to the research done by Kelly C. Bordignon and Walter Oleschko Arruda on 2000 patients, the most common causes of head injury were interpersonal aggression (17.9%), falls (17.4%), automobile accidents (16.2%), falls to the ground (13.1%) and pedestrian injuries (13 %).(3) These results came from the two doctors doing CT Scans on their patients. I also found a study done on concussions where they state that “Common causes include sports injuries, bicycle accidents, car accidents, and falls; the latter two are the most frequent causes among adults”(4) These facts say to me that motorcycles are safer than walking through your bathroom. If people are required to wear helmets as they ride motorcycles then the general public should be required to wear a helmet at all times.

Conclusion: It seems that most states had their previous helmet laws for the reason that they received funding from the government. Now that the United States has changed their policy it is no longer required to have a helmet law in order to receive funding. Also studies have shown that both horses and automobiles are more dangerous than motorcycles. People are not required to wear helmets in cars or when riding their horses so people should not be required to wear helmets as they ride their motor cycles.

Works Cited: (1) Insurance for highway safety (2009) History of US Helmet Laws,

(2)Bikers in the Fast Lane: Motorcycle News (2007)author Mike Werner,

(3) CT SCAN FINDINGS IN MILD HEAD TRAUMA (2002) authors Kelly C. Bordignon and Walter Oleschko Arruda,

(4) Ropper AH, Gorson KC (2007). "Clinical practice. Concussion". New England Journal of Medicine 356,
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