I’ve written about motorcycle helmet laws in the past, and the research that supports their use. Unfortunately, not everyone buys into others telling them about the safety aspects. This article hit the news wires on Sunday:
ONONDAGA, N.Y. – Police say a motorcyclist participating in a protest ride against helmet laws in upstate New York died after he flipped over the bike’s handlebars and hit his head on the pavement.
The accident happened Saturday afternoon in the town of Onondaga, in central New York near Syracuse.
State troopers tell The Post-Standard of Syracuse that 55-year-old Philip A. Contos of Parish, N.Y., was driving a 1983 Harley Davidson with a group of bikers who were protesting helmet laws by not wearing helmets.
Troopers say Contos hit his brakes and the motorcycle fishtailed. The bike spun out of control, and Contos toppled over the handlebars. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Troopers say Contos would have likely survived if he had been wearing a helmet.
The bikers objected to laws that would require them to wear a helmet while riding. This was the organizer’s reaction to the death:
Christinea Rathbun, president of the Syracuse ABATE chapter, said the biker’s death would not affect the group’s stance on helmet laws. "Absolutely not,“ she said. "It’s not going to stop us protesting our right to wear a helmet or not wear a helmet. It’s your own risk.”
I understand that some riders want the ability to choose whether to wear their helmet. However, I have a hard time believing that Mr. Contos woke up that morning and would have chosen to forego wearing his helmet knowing that he would die later that day if he did.