Pennsylvania motorcyclists older than 21 will not have to wear helmets from September, according to a recent law amendment. But is it a good idea?

Pennsylvania motorcyclists older than 21 will not have to wear helmets from September, according to a recent law amendment. But is it a good idea?

The modified law allows motorcyclists older than 21, who have had a motorcycle licence for at least two years or who have completed an approved motorcycle rider safety course, to decide whether or not to use a helmet. Passengers who meet the new requirements may also decide whether or not to wear helmets.

The American Motorcyclist Association applauded the decision, but a group called Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety slammed the decision. "In the trauma trade, we refer to them as donor-cycles rather than motorcycles," said trauma director at a hospital Dr Larry Jones, a member of the safety group.

Governor Ed Rendell, who signed the bill into law, said he agreed to change the rule because "engineers ... told me that helmets have only helped in accidents at 25 km/h or slower." But Jones asked why the governor was listening to engineers rather than doctors.

The group against the new helmet law said that there were 2 837 crashes involving motorcycles in Pennsylvania in 2000 and 150 were fatal. Medical professionals are concerned that there will be more accidents and health care costs will go up.

Charles Umbenhauer, lobbyist for the Pennsylvania Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education, said experienced motorcyclists should have a choice and the figures did not reflect whether there was an increase in motorcyclists.

"The number of motorcycle fatalities nationwide is not even on the scale if you look at smoking and alcohol-related problems," Umbenhauer said. "It's just so minuscule that there's no possible way that we could be the burden to society and taxpayers that they complain we're going to be."

In South Africa, Association of Motorcycle Importers & Distributors (Amid) national director Arnold Olivier said it was quite a radical move. “Amid would never support a move like this in South Africa. If you have the slightest accident without wearing a helmet, you have no protection for your head. Wearing a helmet can make a difference between being dead and having a concussion,” he said. “A helmet is also a dynamic safety feature, so your face is protected against sand, insects and wind.”

What do you think?

Original article from Car