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Chicago in the Summer or Why I Think We Should Repeal the Michigan Helmet Law


By Ed Moffett

Chicago in the Summer — there’s nothing better. Bars are open ‘til 4am and everyone’s extra friendly…especially around 4am… ahem.  I lived there for a few years in my early 20s and except for my hatred for the winter, I had few complaints, but there were the typical big-city inconveniences.

Like most major cities, the price of parking in the windy one is outrageous. Fortunately, there’s no need to own a car in Chicago, as there’s a more than adequate public transit system consisting of busses and an “El” (as in “elevated” train) that can take you across town at even the oddest hour.

Still, having your own wheels is a luxury I could never live without, so in the summer of 1996, I bought my first motorcycle – an $800 Honda Shadow 500. Yeah, I know… If you ride, you’re thinking, “girl’s bike.” Well, so what! I didn’t know how to ride, so I wasn’t about to get on a 1000CC crotch-rocket, hit the highway and try to beat a four second 0 – 60. 

Anyway, that thing was one of the greatest tools I have ever known. It got me from A to B in record time and rendered parking a non-issue, as it took up so little space that I could leave it over night between two tandem parked cars on any side street. But perhaps the most enjoyable thing about the bike was the freedom associated with “riding.” If I wanted to take a quick trip down the road for breakfast on a warm Sunday morning, there was no door to open, no seatbelt to fasten, no window to roll down, no blind spot to check and oh yeah… NO HELMET TO STRAP ON!

Illinois is one of 35 states without a mandatory helmet law. To me, those states represent “The DIFF” between an over-protective motherly government and legislators that believe their tax-paying citizens are responsible adults capable of making their own decisions about personal safety.

If you’re reading this, and you’ve never owned a motorcycle, you’re probably thinking, “Why would you not want to do something that can save your life?” –That’s a good question, and believe it or not, I actually have a few good answers for you! The most important answer is that IT’S MY LIFE! And if I want to risk it, without causing harm to any other human being in the process, physically or financially, that should be my choice.

In addition to that, I believe helmets are uncomfortable, cumbersome, inconvenient, limiting and completely out of context. The act of riding a motorcycle is by no means as safe as riding in an enclosed vehicle. I know that. Hell, any breathing idiot knows that. So then let it be what it is – a recreational sport that also happens to offer a convenient means of transportation. If I want to risk my life doing it, so be it!

I’ve been winning this debate for years and I’m sure I could go on for days here listing all of the counter-arguments to what you helmet pushers think are valid points, but I’ll leave that for the comments section. Gimme your best shot — why should I EVER have to strap a 4 lb fiberglass shell to my head?

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  1. I can see your point, Ed. That is 3 or 4 posts in a row I agree with. Plus, in your case, a helmet would totally flatten that pretty hair you work so hard to perfect.
    I do take issue with the misplaced comma in your post, but otherwise, BEST POST EVER.

    Posted by: Ed's Dad | July 27, 2007
  2. I agree with you Ed. If you want to ride wildly through the city and potentially splatter your brains about the streets, that’s your perogative.

    Posted by: Peppermint Patty | July 27, 2007
  3. Ed, I understand you are an idiot and would to prefer to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, but if you should ever be so unfortunate to have an accident, that helmet will be all that separates you and the pavement.
    I lost my favorite uncle, Cledus on April 27, 2007. He was riding his motorcycle without a helmet and was clipped on his back wheel by a drunk driver. He suffered a few, non-life-threatening broken bones, but suffered head trauma. Had Uncle Cledus been wearing a helmet, he would be alive today.
    Next time you complain about helmet laws, just think of Uncle Cledus and I think you’ll reconsider.

    Posted by: Rusty Shackleford | July 27, 2007
  4. Ed-
    This post certainly contradicts your “smoking ban” mindset, in which you give the same exact argument for smoking….accept the opposite.

    Posted by: Mark | July 30, 2007
  5. ***except.

    Posted by: Mark | July 30, 2007
  6. I forgot to mention, the helmet law is up for repeal again. Check it out:

    Posted by: Ed | July 30, 2007
  7. Sorry Mark, you are incorrect. -Riding my motorcycle without a helmet doesn’t negatively affect anyone else (and please don’t give me that lame crap about insurance costs), therefore no one else should have a say in the matter, whereas smoking in public absolutley DOES negatively affect others, so it stands to reason that others’ opinions are valid, relevant and important.

    Posted by: Ed | July 30, 2007
  8. I don’t know Ed. The person driving the car that you swerve into and splatter your brains all over their windshield may be negatively affected, dontcha think?

    Posted by: Clay C | July 30, 2007
  9. What’s the difference if you hit the windshield and crack your head open there or if you hit it with a helmet on and die? Both are pretty traumatic.

    Posted by: Really big bugs | July 30, 2007
  10. You are exactly right, Clay C, you don’t know.

    Posted by: Ed | July 30, 2007
  11. If you crash with your helmet on you break your neck and die, but you look purdy in your casket. I personally say just let me ride. If an old man in a car crashes into me while I’m riding my motorcycle, that helmet isn’t going to save my life.

    Posted by: BikerM | July 31, 2007
  12. If you want to ride without a helmet, then go for it. But when you get injured, or should happen to die from an accident, don’t expect me to have any sympathy for you and your stupid decisions. People who ride without a helmet are just another way of weeding out the gene pool. We already have enough idiots in there, so why not get rid of a few more?

    Posted by: Holly | July 31, 2007
  13. The unfortunate truth is that a lot of people who get in motorcycle accidents without a helmet DON’T die. The suffer head injuries that disable them for the rest of their lives. They become different people, dependent on the state to support them because they can’t work. If my hard-earned tax dollars have to go to pay for someone to wipe your irresponsible ass because you can’t, then you are affecting me financially aren’t you?
    I bet you think seat belts are a bad idea too.

    Posted by: Gimpy | July 31, 2007
  14. Well, the only way your tax dollars would go to pay for wiping my irresponsible ass, would be if my ass were in a state hospital where no insurance is required. -Your tax dollars are already paying for quite a bit of ass-wiping that goes on there anyway. Incidentally, if the law is repealled, there are a number of ways of avoiding such costs, for instance, insurance prices for riders who CHOOSE to ride without a helmet SHOULD be raised.

    Posted by: ed | July 31, 2007
  15. Oh yeah, forgot to mention: No, actually seatbelts aren’t such a bad idea. If you get hit in a car, you’re likely to get knocked out of your seat and loose control of the vehicle. If that happens you could end up causing harm to another driver, pedestrian or property. Whereas if you’re strapped in, you’ll be more likely to regain control of the vehicle and avoid any more casualties.

    Posted by: ed | July 31, 2007
  16. Anyone with a name like Uncle Cledus is probably doomed to meet some sort of “Hey ya’ll, watch this” trauma anyway. That aside, political correctness and public safety concerns have been running rampant for far too long. It doesn’t make much sense that a person driving an automobile with more safety features than the space shuttle has to wear a seat belt while a crotch rocketeer can basically sit on 2 wheels and exceed speeds of 70 mph with virtually no safety measures whatsoever. You can try to rationalize helmet laws, seatbelt laws, gun control laws, etc. But when all is said and done, the great debate is freedom of choice and how much freedom we want for ourselves as well as others.
    Why must we hinder natural selection?

    Posted by: bob ursillo | August 1, 2007

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Sunday, March 18, 2018