In his article, Mr. Schmitt cites that motorcycle fatalities have risen during the period of 1997 to 2010 from 2,116 fatalities to 4,502 fatalities. That’s very true, on the surface. But what he fails to mention is how motorcycle registrations surged during the same time period and how the percentage of motorcycle fatalities basically stayed the same. If the price of gas went up 50% but you got 50% more gas, you wouldn’t say that gas is more expense, would you? But that’s exactly the type of skewed math that Mr. Schmitt is using to try to deceive the public. There were 2,116 fatalities in 1997 for 3,826,000 motorcycles registered. In 2010, there were 4,502 fatalities for 8,368,000 motorcycles registered. That’s a fatality rate of 0.05% in both cases. It’s a fatality rate of much less than 1% which hasn’t changed. Futhermore, motorcycle fatalities actually dropped in 2009 by 16% and have stayed relatively flat in 2010 and 2011.
But how can that be?! With more and more states dropping their mandatory helmet laws, the motorcycle fatality rate should be going through the roof according to Mr. Schmitt’s “experts”! In fact, he relies heavily on “estimates”
So if helmets aren’t proven to lower motorcycle fatalities, what’s the secret? The answer to this issue is driver education and motorcycle awareness. We need to quit trying to make crashing safer and actually lower the number of crashes. Only through driver education and motorcycle awareness campaigns that are instituted by organizations such as ABATE of Wisconsin can we educate the general public to be safer on the road and be more aware of their surroundings while driving. These programs have proven to be effective in reaching new automobile drivers early before they start developing bad driving habits and bringing motorcycle awareness to the general public. New federal mandates and road-side checkpoints do nothing but siphon already scarce dollars from the programs that actually make a difference not to mention gobbling up precious man-hours from local law enforcement when they could be spending their time on more important issues.
U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis. has lead the charge in the House to block the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from its overreaching intentions of mandatory helmet laws and road-side checkpoints. In 1998 Congress enacted a sweeping measure that barred NHTSA from attempting to influence state and local legislators on any pending legislation. With NHTSA more recently signaling stepped-up interest in promoting helmet use, Sensenbrenner has emerged as a lead opponent again, sponsoring a resolution, now in the hands of a House subcommittee, which would reaffirm the agency’s lobbying ban. We applaud the courage of legislators, such as U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, who have taken on the powerful helmet mandate interest groups and encourage them to continue to protect personal freedoms and our chosen lifestyle.
We as Americans built this country on personal liberty and freedom. The freedom to live as we choose and make decisions for our own lives was paramount to our founding fathers. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – That’s what motorcycling is all about. The edicts and regulations from the government have been coming at us fast and furiously over the past few years. Why anyone would need another government bureaucracy sitting hundreds of miles away in their own isolated world telling them how to live their own life is beyond me. And all this is coming from the folks in Washington D.C. who seem to have a hard time policing themselves. Let us police ourselves! Let us decide how to live our own lives! Our country’s founders fought fierce and hard to protect their personal freedoms and so shall we.