Ride of the 100 Myrtle Beach SC

Lids Yes … Lid Laws, No

March 2006

This is the seventh installment in a series about the combination of rider, ride, route and resources required to endure and enjoy long distance riding (LDR). Our resource focus this month is helmets.

There is a reason why some writers refer to endurance riding as “insanity” and distance riders as a “self-correcting problem.” That reason is that motorcycle safety is an oxymoron, and LDR makes it even more so.

Riding a motorcycle even one mile is risky. Riding a thousand miles or more in a day multiplies that risk. But for distance riders like me, the more the risk the greater the thrill. I am absolutely addicted to that euphoric combination of adrenaline and endorphin production that increases with the distance and duration of the ride … a sensation I call rider’s high.

Sensations aren’t worth much, though, without a brain to be stimulated and a mind where they can be assimilated. Those things reside in a head … so that head needs to be protected … and that means wearing a helmet.

“WHAT?!?” you may say. “You mean IronBoltBruce the bikers’ rights advocate is recommending you wear a helmet? How can that be? Has he sold out to the Safety Nazis?!?”

Absolutely not. My position is simple: LIDS YES … LID LAWS NO.

One of my biggest political challenges is trying to get the extremists on both sides of the helmet law issue to stop spouting nonsense long enough to realize that it is both possible and prudent to be PRO-HELMET while at the same time ANTI-HELMET LAW. Here is why:

Wearing a helmet increases the safety of a motorcycle rider. Period. Thinking otherwise is about as dumb as taking a knife to a gunfight. BUT, that is not to say that we should mandate helmet usage in the name of saving lives. If we concede on that basis, some NHTSA numbskull may propose we can save even more lives by banning motorcycles altogether. And there ends our lifestyle, my brothers and sisters. As Virginia biker Matt Danielson recently posted:

“[Some] say that the government should mandate helmet use because those who choose not the wear helmets create a public burden due to the costs of treating injuries relating to their choice. If we take that argument at face value, should not the government regulate our diets and exercise, and ban drinking and smoking? Obesity and smoking related diseases costs the public billions. Don’t we all bear the burden of another’s choice to eat burgers as opposed to salad or fish? However, no one is going to suggest that the government take such measures (of course I could be wrong again).”

I always wear a helmet on my long rides, but I appreciate the fact that I have a choice as to when and where I don my lid. I am in favor of saving lives, but I am against laws that limit personal freedoms. I think that if we let the politicians force helmets today, tomorrow they may take away our reason for needing one.

My position on helmet usage is pretty much the same as that of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), which I encourage you to go online and read here:


Until Next Time … Ride Long, Ride Free!