For some bikers, motorcycle helmets should be a choice left up to the individual. Others believe the motorcycle helmet is an indispensable safety feature that saves lives. The debate rages on with statistics demonstrating the validity of both points of view.
In Florida, it has been legal to choose not to wear a motorcycle helmet since 2000 provided the biker is at least 21 years old and has medical insurance coverage of at least $10,000.
Those who argue for a biker’s right to choose believe that the government doesn’t have a right to encroach on a biker’s individual freedom of choice, especially when the decision doesn’t affect anyone else. ABATE is a popular national biker safety, education, and charitable organization that opposes proposed federal helmet laws. They argue that education, not legislation is the key factor in creating a safe environment for motorcyclists.
On the other hand, helmet advocates argue that the use of helmets greatly reduces the risk of severe head trauma and brain injury in motorcycle crashes. However, there is an argument to be made that helmets are not going to save every life in every motorcycle crash. “I think a lot of people think that a lot of fatalities are going to be without the helmets, but there are a lot of crashes that are unsurvivable because of the nature of the crash,” said Florida Highway Patrol Public Affairs Officer Kim Montes. “There is no trend one way or another.”
Statewide in 2014, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, 450 motorcycle drivers or passengers died in wrecks, with 210 of those confirmed to have not been wearing a helmet. In 2013 there were 462 combined fatalities with 216 confirmed to have not been wearing a helmet.
Whichever side you are on in the helmet debate, the law in Florida allows bikers over 21 to make a choice to wear a helmet or not. Freedom and person choice are good things and shouldn’t be encroached upon by state or federal government.