Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Illogic of Helmet Laws

Liberals love laws that require bicyclists and motorcyclists to wear safety helmets. The usual reasons:

1. Taxpayers defray the cost of emergency services that go to the scene of accidents.

2. The failure to use helmets results in higher health-care costs and, thus, higher health-insurance premiums.

Proposition number 1 isn't universally true. But even if it were, so what? Accidents aren't caused by the use or non-use of helmets. Almost any accident involving a bicyclist or motorcyclist will require emergency services, whether or not the rider incurs a head injury.

Proposition number 2 overlooks the fact that non-helmeted riders are less likely to require prolonged, expensive care -- because they're likely to die more quickly than helmeted riders.

That brings us to the real proposition -- number 3: Bicyclists and motorcyclists should wear helmets for their own good. The insistence on helmet laws is simply another liberal pretext for telling others how to lead their lives.

Here's a deal for helmet-loving liberals. If you're a bicyclist (likely) or motorcyclist (unlikely), you can wear a helmet if you want to. In return, non-liberal bicyclists and motorcyclists will agree that you don't have to sport an American flag on your helmet.