Monday, April 28, 2008

Motorcycle Helmets - Should they be mandatory?

Chili > interesting article on the age old motorcycle helmet argument, interesting point of view, external links to related posts...

...btw, I ride and wear a helmet - my choice. My wife is a Neuro ICU Nurse Practitioner and deals with brain and spine injuries on a daily basis, several of which have involved motorcycle accidents - typically the reason the patient shows up in her unit is the simple fact of not wearing a helmet. (I've been riding for 20+ years and have been wearing a helmet every since, and I've only known my wife for 7 years). But before you start throwing around terms like "mandatory helmet law nazi", I for one believe it is my choice to make, no one else needs to tell me! I despise insurance companies because they are unregulated, provide a huge lobby group in Washington, and influence way to much the laws and regulations currently in place. They charge extortion like rates and will do what ever they can to weasel out of paying legitimate claims (auto-home-health). Rant rant rant...ok on with the next one...

Posted on April 27th, 2008 by Steve Lombardi, - A few months ago I wrote a blawg about my position on motorcyclists wearing helmets and making it mandatory by law. There's a lawyer in California who has an Internet website named the "Biker Law Blog", apparently took issue with my post and later commented on it. His post is titled Well Some Things Just Really Piss Me Off!
Looking back at what I posted the title I chose isn't much better. Motorcycles, Helmets, Wrecks, Brain Damage and the Freedom to be Stupid. Read it and see what he describes as his position. I don't agree with him. I'll state my position, read his and tell me if you agree or disagree with either of us. Here is how I responded to Mr. Fernandez.

"If my caring for my clients who have suffered traumatic brain injury is offensive then so be it. If my 27 years of representing those who ride motorcycles and suffer brain injury as a result of not wearing a helmet is offensive, then once again so be it. Like you I'm entitled to my own opinion. And that opinion is as you describe, my American right. Most of the lawyers who do personal injury work will tell you exactly what you want to hear - "no we don't need to helmets, we should be allowed to do whatever it is we want too". You're too smart of a man to believe that just because a lawyer has been telling you what you want to hear that he/she somehow is qualified or more likely to have had your best interests in mind or to be the best lawyer for the biker's case. Certainly when you get in an accident you can't believe because their opinion was to let you ride with your skull exposed to trauma that they are qualified to represent you. Or for that matter even care about you as a human being.

I'm not like a lot of the lawyers who advertise because I won't tell anyone who rides a motorcycle what they want to hear in hopes of later getting their case. You see I won't pander to a motorcyclist just to make a buck. I've seen first hand what brain injury does and how it destroys a biker's life. There is no quantity of money anyone can pay me that would cause me to lie and pander to them with the hope to someday get their case. If any biker wants to be lied to, so be it. Don't show up at my office because I'm sure to disappoint you.

Mr. Fernandez I enjoyed your point of view but it's only a point of view. In the courtroom everyone has a point of view, but can every lawyer attempt a biker's case? We can stand in court all day long espousing about biker rights but in the end when the legislature won't require car owners to carry anymore than $20,000.00 in coverage and many drivers are without insurance coverage I sleep better at night telling biker's what they need to hear and not what they want to hear. In the court room any lawyer with book on me will tell you I represent my client zealously and without pause.

Examine my motives for saying motorcycle helmets need to be mandatory for some or all riders. If there were less brain damage I'd make less money and there would be a few more motorcycle riders still on the road riding. Accidents would result in less severe injuries. (We can argue this point but don't because we don't have to when selecting a lawyer after the fact.) How does a biker wearing a helmet benefit me financially?

Now if I were to say, "We don't need any stinking mandatory helmet laws! Let them ride free of die!" Well, crashes would result in more deaths and brain damage. "Come to me because I'm a good guy!" A good guy is defined as someone who told you what you wanted to hear before you turned your brain into mush and became totally unemployable. But what the heck if you do I have more cases and higher damage awards or settlements.

Which lawyer really is being genuine and cares about your well being?

Which lawyer is in it just for the bucks?

So what can I tell you and your readers today? Do you carry $2,000,000.00 worth of under-insured and uninsured motorist coverage on your ride? If you don't carry that kind of insurance coverage you should. Because that law education you worked so hard for is what you're risking with your hair flying free in the wind. I've ridden and know the feeling of freedom. I've crashed a motorcycle and assume many of your readers have as well. Okay you want me to say it, okay I will. You don't need to wear a helmet; but if you don't you do need $2,000,000.00 worth of insurance protecting you and the ones who depend on you.

That's advice for free and I didn't make a dime off of giving it to you. Plain spoken, straight forward and perhaps not what your readers wanted to hear, but nevertheless it's what they needed to hear.

Onward we march.


sdlombardi said...

And not only do I believe what I said in that post but I run my practice living by my word. Steve Lombardi

Steve Lombardi said...

Knologies is not me. Knologies scraped my post at

Steve Lombardi

Chili said...

Thanks for the comments Steve, sorry about the incorrect post author, I'll adjust to reflect your name and location.

Regarding my rant section, I think my comments may have been opinion was based strictly on my thoughts about insurance company's, not your article (I actually appreciated your point of view) reference to my wife's observance on brain injury was there to add relevance to my wearing a helmet long before having her input - besides, I prefer not to have bugs in my teeth (and at high speeds, a helmet won't do much if a cager decides he or she wants to be in my spot on the road - but it does keep my eyes from tearing up and protected from flying debris (got to keep the peeps wide open), not sure how the non helmet wearing guys can see all squinted up, even with sunglasses the wind whips around - but that is their choice, not mine.
Ride on.