A report today of a motorcyclist injured critically in an accident in north Amarillo has me wondering — yet again — why the state repealed its law requiring helmets for people operating a motorcycle.
The man wasn’t wearing a helmet. Amarillo police say speed may have played a part in the wreck. His head injuries reportedly are quite severe. No one knows yet whether he’ll recover.
But I have to ask: What if he doesn’t recover fully? What happens if he has suffered permanent brain damage, meaning he cannot work? He then falls under the care of the state for the rest of his life. Suppose he lives a long time. How much money will the state spend on his care? Will it run into the millions of dollars over a long period of time?
It’s this possibility that has me wondering why the state decided in the 1990s to allow motorcyclists to ride without a helmet. Yes, the state requires casualty insurance. I believe the amount is $10,000. Anyone who’s spent more than 48 hours in an acute-care hospital knows that the 10 grand is eaten up almost the moment you check in.
But applying the time-honored — but nevertheless odd — Texas logic about independence and freedom of choice, the Legislature determined that it should not interfere with motorists’ desire to expose themselves to the kind of injuries apparently suffered this morning by that unfortunate motorist in Amarillo.
I pray for the man’s complete recovery.