While I like most things that Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson stands for, I disagree with his stance on implementing mandatory bicycle helmet laws. He says he feels that he has to do everything he can to promote this since “lives are on the line”.
Rocky was the host of KCPW’s Midday Metro last Friday and he had as his guest someone from a brain injury association who cited many statistics of brain injuries as a result of accidents. He also had a physician who said that “if the public didn’t have to pay for their medical care, it wouldn’t be an issue” (the issue of choice in wearing helmets). The argument can be made the the public pays for the healthcare of folks who don’t have insurance in these cases (medicaid picks it up in many cases).
I am opposed to a manadatory helmet law, not because I don’t use them, but because, once again, we have a government official seeking to mandate what decisions people make for themselves that would affect themselves. So let’s take a look at some of the healthcare conditions that the public ends up paying for and let’s not stop at a law just for bicyclists. Consider these items:
If this law is implemented, I don’t think we should stop with bicycles. We need to make all automobile drivers and passengeres wear helmets also because there are more auto drivers than there are bicycle riders and how many head injuries could be prevented in car accidents if everyone wore helmets in cars? Passengers included? What are the statistics of head injuries sustained in auto accidents?
But wait, there’s more…….we should make everyone wear kevlar so that they won’t be at risk of being injured from a stray bullet.
And how about fast food? Obesity and related health problems is an immense problem in this country. How about mandating how much fast food a person can eat per month? How much decrease would there be in serious health conditions would there be if the government limited how much fast food a person could eat? Hmmm…?????
Oh, but hold on…..the government should make everyone wear masks with filters to keep the pollution from entering their lungs. What are the stats for folks who develop respiratory illness in this valley? Would that be reduced if they wore filtration systems when going out. Better yet……make it mandatory to walk or bike to get where you are going – yes, that’s the ticket! Ban motorcycles, cars, trucks……..that would not only reduce the number of bicyclists being hit, but would clean up our air and cause more people to exercise and get healthier – it’s a win-win situation!!!
Yes, there are “lives on the line” – in many ways more extensive than with riding bicycles. If we are serious about the health of our citizens, then we need to do more than mandate bicycle helmets.