February 22, 2024
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Dan Kaufman

I had no issues with the passage of the seatbelt and motorcycle helmet laws in Oregon, because the roads are publicly funded infrastructure and the public often bears some the cost of injuries on this infrastructure. Bicycle and equestrian helmet  requirements are a bit different though. Those modes of transportation don’t require costly roads.

I suppose they could pass worse laws, though. Personally, I cringe every time I see someone riding on the street without a helmet. Even a 1 MPH crash headfirst into a curb can cause permanent/debilitating brain damage. I know someone it happened to.

Thanks for the interesting and thought provoking blog!


While free choice seems a good concept, when it comes to safety it can often take the threat of a fine to prompt younger drivers and cyclists to be sensible and buckle up or put a helmet on.

Seatbelt and motorcycle helmet use has been compulsory in New Zealand for as long as I’ve been driving (29 years) and in that time seatbelt usage has gone from not much more than 60% to the high 90s, and it’s drifting back down of late particularly amongst drivers under 20. It seems being safe is not cool.

Motorcycle helmet usage is pretty much 100%.

The same cool phenomenon seems to apply to bicycle helmets, although they’ve only been compulsory here for about 10 years. If you ride a BMX here you’ll generally only wear a helmet if you’re very young or racing – definitely not riding off to meet your mates.

What’s worse than no helmet is seeing people wearing ill fitting helmets and/or not having them buckled up securely. That just makes me cringe.

Some part of me says if you’re too stupid to take appropriate measures to ensure your own safety you get what you richly deserve. The problem with that theory is the conflicting side which has immense sympathy for the family and friends of idiots who end up dependant on their (and the tax payers’) care.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x