Interesting juxtaposition: Haley vetoes helmet bill; three motorcyclists killed


Talk about your ironies, check out the above juxtaposition of headlines from

In the moped safety story, the governor cites some libertarian claptrap about “government overreach” in vetoing a bill that would require moped riders under 18 to wear helmets, and all riders to wear reflective clothing at night. But to her credit, she does say she remains open to new moped safety laws, just not this one. Here’s her veto message.

In the other story, we have five tragic cases of the sort that is all too common, three of them involving motorcyclists. I wonder how many were wearing helmets.

No, there’s not a cause-and-effect here. And of course, mopeds and motorcycles aren’t exactly the same thing. I just found the timing interesting…

11 thoughts on “Interesting juxtaposition: Haley vetoes helmet bill; three motorcyclists killed

  1. doug ross

    I’d love to see the data on lives saved by wearing helmets. It shouldn’t be a law, it should be about educating the public. Laws require enforcement. There are more important things for police to do.

    1. Barry

      It’s hard to find. There aren’t a lot of studies on the subject.

      I did find one comparing North Carolina (mandatory) and South Carolina (not required).

      Obviously the states are different . North Carolina is bigger with bigger cities and a higher population – and their roads are in better shape, especially in the major metro areas.

      In North Carolina, there are 11.9 fatalities of every 10,000 registered motorcycles.
      • In South Carolina, there are 15.9 fatalities of every 10,000 registered motorcycles.

      One fairly well known figure was out of California. In 1991, prior to enacting its helmet law, California’s state medical insurance program paid $40 million for the treatment of motorcycle-related head injuries. That figure dropped to $24 million after enactment of a universal helmet law

      Have no idea what it is now.

      1. Lynn Teague

        And there in the insurance rates is the reason that laws like this aren’t just a nanny state intervention. All of us pay, in our insurance rates and In our taxes, for the consequences when someone is injured. And those insurance rates don’t even address the cost of long term care when the injuries lead to permanent disabilities. Ideologically based decisions often seem very attractive in the abstract, but people don’t live in the abstract.

        1. Doug Ross

          And we all pay higher insurance rates for obese people… far more than anything related to motorcycle helmets. Let’s outlaw doughnuts and fried food.

          I’m fine with using tax dollars to educate people about the risks. I’m also fine with raising insurance rates for motorcyclists. I just don’t like the “it oughta be a law” mindset.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Well, even a communitarian can argue that there is a community interest in allowing people to ride motorcycles without helmets.

            All those healthy people dying of head trauma are a prime source of organ donations.

            I’m not being a wise guy. That’s what I’ve always heard.

            Nevertheless, I think we should require helmets, if only to spare their families all that pain.

            1. John

              Ha! That’s a gruesome thought. Maybe the best way to encourage helmet use is to make being an organ donor conditional for getting your motorcycle license. That might get the point across. Shades of Larry Niven’s organ banks.

            2. Lynn Teague

              I have heard motorcycles referred to by a member of the medical profession as “donor cycles” – the sort of bleak comment that might occur to one after a night trying unsuccessfully to keep some badly smushed bit of humanity alive.

              1. Doug Ross

                It’s Darwinism at work. Do we really want people dumb enough to ride motorcycles without a helmet to propagate?

              2. Brad Warthen Post author

                Your logic there is similar to my resistance over the years to writing editorials that urge people to get out and vote.

                If people are so uninterested as to have to be talked into it, do I really want them voting? Seriously, how well-informed are their judgments likely to be? Must give us pause.

                But let me add that while that sentiment might not observe the accepted civic pieties, it’s a bit milder in its effect than what you said… 🙂

  2. Barry

    Haley’s position on this one is hard to understand since it didn’t apply to adults.

    I loved the idea of wearing the reflective vests. There has been quite a few times where I’ve avoided striking a pedestrian or even a dirt bike because the rider had on high visibility clothing.

    Maybe veto override is in the works.

  3. Barry

    Leave up to Democratic Senator Gerald Malloy to defeat the veto override in the Senate as he said he “agrees” with the Governor

    and that requiring young people under the age of 21 to wear a $5 reflective vest is too “cumbersome.”

    What a ludicrous excuse.

    But Todd Rutherford wins the prize for the dumbest excuse of the month. He said that young moped drivers are only dangerous to themselves. That is just silly.

    Anyone that has the misfortune of hitting someone that is riding a moped or a motorcyle would easily explain to Mr. Rutherford that there are, at least, 2 victims in such incidents.

    It’s amazing a flamethrower like Todd Rutherford doesn’t understand that basic fact.


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