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Fla. motorcycle fatalities reportedly soar

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) -- Motorcycle fatalities involving riders without helmets have soared in the nearly six years since Gov. Jeb Bush repealed the state's mandatory helmet law, a newspaper reported Sunday.

A Florida Today analysis of federal motorcycle crash statistics found "unhelmeted" deaths in Florida rose from 22 deaths in 1998 and 1999, the years before the helmet law repeal, to 250 deaths in 2004, the most recent data available.

By comparison, Florida logged 270 deaths of riders without helmets during the 1990s, when riding without a helmet was illegal, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports.

Total motorcycle deaths in the state have increased 67 percent from 259 in 2000 to 432 in 2004, statistics show.

Records also show a corresponding rise in the popularity of motorcycles in the Sunshine State. Motorcycle registrations have increased 87 percent in Florida since Bush signed the helmet law repeal on July 1, 2000.

The debate over motorcycle helmet safety resurfaced last week when Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, an advocate of helmet-free riding, broke his jaw, nose and several teeth in an accident. He underwent seven hours of surgery.

Merritt Island motorcyclist and helmet law opponent Dave Carroll said the helmet law debate is misguided.

"The media spent way too much time harping on the helmet issue and not enough on the cause of the accident," Carroll said. "What causes most of the crashes is cars. Usually, it's the car driver turning left at an intersection and causing an accident because they didn't see us coming."

Physicians and insurance companies say helmets are crucial safety gear.

"We used to call (helmetless riders) 'organ donors,' because they break their head and not their body," said Dr. David Harbour, who works in the emergency room at Wuesthoff Medical Center in Rockledge. "You can actually fix a broken bone. But if you hit your head and hurt your brain, there's little we can do to fix that."

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Information from: Florida Today, http://www.floridatoday.com

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ ... TE=DEFAULT
 

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It's truly sad when individuals value their "biker" image more than an attitude of personal responsibility. Those who suffer trauma that a helmet would prevent not only injure themselves, but create hardships for their family, friends, and employers.

Perhaps Charles Darwin's work should be labelled "Survival of the Smart" rather than "Survival of the Fit"

Although I live in Florida, I am not proud of the fact that the legislature bowed to intense lobbying to modifiy the existing helmet statutes rather than maintain prudent laws to help protect those who are unwilling to protect themselves.

Yes, it would be nice if freedom of choice equated to personal responsibility, but as we can clearly see from the carnage, this is not the case.
 

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even if it wasnt law in oz that you have to wear an aproved helmet, i would still wear one at all times when riding. i just don't feel safe without one on.

imho, "if you don't need a head, you don't need a helmet"

just my 0.02c worth.

jason.
 

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I currently don't have a scooter, but looking for one. Ride a Kaw Vulcan 800. Many years ago I hit a car about the same way Big Ben did. I was wearing a helmet. Lost a lot of teeth, broke nose, broke knee and a moderate concussion. Cracked the helmet in half, makes you think what would have happened without it. In those days there were no full-face helmets. Being a ABATE member I support freedom of choice as the laws are written now, but it would not hurt my feelings to see a national mandatory helmet law.
 

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Strongly in the camp of letting people choose, less government intervention the better. I wear mine in town, but out on the open road I'll often leave it off. If I want to risk my own health then so be it, its my choice. Next thing will be forced helmet laws while riding a bike. ..gimme a break.

Andrew
 

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avslack said:
Next thing will be forced helmet laws while riding a bike. ..gimme a break.
that's already law in most australian states. enforceable by an on the spot fine of at least $30 AU.

jason.
 

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Do you have full coverage health insurance in case you are in an accident and are injured? Or do you expect the state - the rest of us taxpayers - to cover your five- or six-figure bill if you are injured?

I'm all in favor of your personal freedoms as long as you have plenty of personal responsibility to back it up.

Hate to see your head split open and brain laying on the ground next to it either way...

Ride safe,

Larry

avslack said:
Strongly in the camp of letting people choose, less government intervention the better. I wear mine in town, but out on the open road I'll often leave it off. If I want to risk my own health then so be it, its my choice. Next thing will be forced helmet laws while riding a bike. ..gimme a break.

Andrew
 

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Personally I always wear a helmet.

But we should have the right to choose. Sorry people but I feel the same about seatbelts. We are losing a lot of our freedom to choose a little at a time. This country is becoming more like a socialist nation.
You can't do this, you have to do that. If my cousin and sister had a seatbelt on in a car accident I had in 1971, they would now both be dead. That was before it was mandatory. Thank God. I love them both but was young and inexperienced.

Where is our freedom going?

Statistics can be changed to favor either way. Sure the number of deaths has increased but in the same post, you said the number of riders has also increased greatly. What are the same statistics on numbers of deaths of helmeted riders?

Freedom should be a personal choice. I don't want to lose it. We've fought hard for it in all respects.
 

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avslack said:
If I want to risk my own health then so be it, its my choice.
As others have said, this only holds true if your getting injured won't affect anybody else. This includes your friends, your family, your employer, your community and your state. It also includes the cager who runs you down. It includes the cops and paramedics who deal with your case. The list goes on.

Next thing will be forced helmet laws while riding a bike. ..gimme a break.
We have that law in BC, and nobody knows how many people's lives have been saved by it. More than one, certainly.

I find your use of the phrase "gimme a break" to be ironic.

The state has the right to protect its interests and the interests of its populace by imposing small - and here I emphasise small - restrictions on personal freedoms. Speed limits and helmet laws fall under this category.
 

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The government sticks it nose into enough of my life now. I wear a helmet because I want to. Not because Nannie told me too.

Virginia has both manditory helmet and seat belt laws and has for years. I have seen no decrease in either my insurance or my tax rate since these wonderful money and life saving laws were shoved down our throats.
 

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Not trying to rile everyone up for those making point by questioning whether those without helmets could be a possible burden to the tax payer, their families, and the emergency personnel who care for them but where do you draw the line? If your basic arguement is correct, where does the state draw the line and determine what is safe and what is not? Based on some of the arguements, we should not only have a helmet law for motorcycles we should apply it to pedal bicycles, snow ski's, snow boards, roller blades, skate boards, and anything else that you could fall and get hurt on. Heck, if those aren't dangerous enough for you try smoking of any kind, fast food, unprotected sex, and just plain being out of shape. If we could just get the government to write some laws to correct the flawed thinkers in those areas of life what a reflief to the taxpayer, the victims families, and the medical personnel we would see. Mandating helmet use on motorcycles would be miniscule in comparison.

Sorry for being political on a scooter board, I'll go back in the corner.

Andrew
 

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If your basic arguement is correct, where does the state draw the line and determine what is safe and what is not?
To expand on this, and what I said earlier, if wearing a helmet saves lives, and saves taxpayer money, where do you draw the line? If wearing a helmet is so much safer that the government must tell us to wear them, why stop at helmet's? Why not mandate that everyone wear a leather jacket? How about leather pants? How about good motorcycle boots? Why not have the government require all of this for everyone?

Then, when people STILL get killed and injured on motorcycles are you going to support a ban on motorcycles? It's the next logical step.

I'm a shooter. At one time the shooting community tried to "compromise" with the gun banners. What that got us was first one type of gun banned, and then another. "They" were never happy. There was always the next law. "Surely they won't try to take all our guns." Wanna bet? They sure have. Now I and a lot of other shooters have drawn a line in the sand. NO more. As a matter of fact, we want back what we had that "they" had no right to take in the first place.

Motorcycles, like guns are objects not thought of a "normal" by a lot of people. If you think there aren't people out there, trying to herd everyone into public transportation, you have another think coming. It's just a matter of turning the heat up a little at a time. (How do you boil a live frog? You put him in a pan of cool water, and turn the heat up gradually.) First it will be helmets, then jackets, then pants, then boots. Then no motorcycles. After all it's much safer, and better for us.

Where do YOU draw the line?
 

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Larry wrote:

Do you have full coverage health insurance in case you are in an accident and are injured? Or do you expect the state - the rest of us taxpayers - to cover your five- or six-figure bill if you are injured?

I'm all in favor of your personal freedoms as long as you have plenty of personal responsibility to back it up.

Hate to see your head split open and brain laying on the ground next to it either way...

Ride safe,

Larry

Larry,

Do you also feel that way about smoking? About 400,000 people die a year in the U.S. by smoking. I'm sure that the hospital and health care costs for smoking is so much more expensive then people not wearing helmets. I wear a helmet but I do believe in peoples choice if they don't want to wear one. Their insurance costs should just be higher. I'm also sure that there are nowhere near the number of deaths or injuries due to not wearing a helmet compared to the death toll of smoking. And if you are talking of the economic impact to the taxpayer then many things should be illegal; fast food, smoking, and maybe even motorcycle riding.

Just a thought,

Jeff
 

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We all die someday & there are end of life medical costs for most of us.
By smokeing you likely reduce your lifespan & thereby actually reduce both your medical & retirement costs thereby reducing not increasing your costs to society.
 
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