Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Rider Protests New York Helmet Law; Dies In Motorcycle Accident
I've often heard that you can't legislate intelligence. That's why an idea that I enjoy like making people pass a basic test before being allowed to vote doesn't fly because people want the "right" to be ignorant.
Common sense it would seem is also not something that the government can force upon its citizens.
That concept was personified over the holiday weekend when upstate New Yorker Philip Contos, riding in a protest of New York's mandatory helmet law, died after he went over the handle bars of his 1983 Harley-Davidson motorcycle and hit his head on the pavement.
The attending physician stated Mr. Contos likely would have survived had he been wearing a helmet.
Contos was one of about 550 people riding in a protest of New York state's helmet law organized by the Onondaga chapter of American Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE).
The statewide president of ABATE, Thomas Alton, said, "We are riding at an increased risk and accept that. ... This individual was a seasoned rider, not a newbie. He made an adult decision. A full decision to ride in the manner he rode in."
Any death is unfortunate, and this one is no exception. Unfortunately, Mr. Contos accomplished nothing but reinforcing the idea that it's really, really, dumb to operate a motorcycle helmetless.
Even if you're a safe and responsible motorcyclist, it's just not a smart decision to hop on a bike and ride with nothing protecting your brain—however poorly functioning it might be—but your cranium.
Worse yet, Alton is trying to turn Contos into some kind of martyr for their misguided cause.
ABATE of NY Inc. is organizing a memorial "to honor an individual who rode for freedom and risked his all for freedom," according to Alton.
Honoring the gentlemen for his life and accomplishments is certainly the right thing to do. But don't imply that this was a noble death that happened fighting for freedom, especially not on a weekend supposed to be spent honoring those who serve and have died in the United States military fighting for freedom, not from common sense laws, but from tyranny and unlawful persecution.
Ultimately, I just want to say be safe. Buckle your seat belt and wear your bicycle or motorcycle helmet.
Though I suppose if you don't use your brain to begin with, there's little sense in protecting it.