Lariat Letter: Be safe; wear a helmet when riding motorcycles, mopeds, bikes

I’m not surprised the Lariat’s coverage of Monday’s moped/car accident made no mention of helmets, considering that Texans don’t appreciate being told what to do, even if it’s good for them. The only safety advice Abigail Loop passes on in her piece is a statement that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises moped operators to “make themselves visible to other motorists.” Students may be interested to know that according to the NHTSA, in 1997 Texas and Arkansas became the first states since 1983 to repeal the universal helmet laws that had been promoted in the 70’s by the federal government.

They may be further interested to know that from 1996 to 1998, helmet use in Texas fell from 97 percent to 66 percent, and that motorcycle fatalities increased by 31 percent in that same time frame. I ride a 600cc bike regularly (with my helmet), and in Waco I would say only about 1 in 25 riders I see is wearing a helmet. It doesn’t matter if mopeds don’t go more than 30 mph—when you’re on the road with other vehicles you need to wear a helmet. Would you rather have flat hair or a brain hemorrhage?

Prove the federal government wrong: Texans can still make the safest choice without being “told” what to do.

– Blake Victor Kent
Bellingham, Wash., graduate student
Sociology of Religion