INTERSTATE 35 NORTH OF AUSTIN, Texas — Normally, the sight of four women on motorcycles speeding past us in heavy traffic wouldn’t be worth a comment on this blog.
But I noticed something about these individuals when they zoomed on past: All of them were wearing helmets.
That elicited a comment to my wife and we drove along in our Prius. “You know, it seems that women motorcyclists appear to be far more likely to wear those helmets than men,” I said. It didn’t draw much of a response from my wife.
Hey, maybe it isn’t worth much of any comment.
However, it does bring to mind a couple of thoughts I want to share.
One is that women motorcyclists — and this is just an anecdotal observation on my part — are much smarter than men when it comes to motor vehicle safety. I’ll have to check some traffic studies to validate that observation. Or, perhaps I’ll just let it stand on its own.
The second thought is that I don’t know why the Texas Legislature decided in 1995 to repeal the motorcycle helmet requirement in the first place.
Legislators did that also while increasing the speed limit on Texas highways from 55 to 70 mph, a move made possible when Congress that year removed the federal mandate, giving states the option of setting their own speed limits. Texas legislators and the governor at the time, George W. Bush, jumped all over it.
I’ve seen the studies about how helmets save lives. They help prevent traumatic head wounds. Yet the state said motorcyclists 21 years of age and older need not wear them. The state would require a $10,000 insurance policy, instead. Do you know how quickly a serious injury would gobble up that amount of money? Just … like … that!
The state requires everyone in automobiles to wear seat restraints. It tells us to fasten our young children into approved safety-seat. Just this past year, the Legislature banned the use of hand held telephones and texting devices while operating a motor vehicle.
Good for them. On all counts.
Motorcyclists, though, are given the freedom to expose themselves to grievous injury or death.
I don’t get it. Nor will I ever understand that bit of so-called “logic.”