8 Ball In The Wind

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Novelty Helmets

I was discussing of all things, my blog from the other day with one of my riding buddies, and good friend.  His reply to me was the perfect answer to those who think that you HAVE to wear helmets or you are just some kind of moron, or irresponsible dare devil.  He pretty much stated the same things I had in my blog as far as people should have the right to choose for themselves whether to wear a helmet.  To top it off, and to make my point even more markedly, he said he'd wear a helmet if he had to choose.  With a smile he added; "But then, MY helmets are cool!" and laughed.

The helmets he tends to wear are made by Biltwell.  They have the old classic look of the late 60's and early 70s.  Even down to the metal flake color schemes.  Biltwell helmets also bring out one of the other sides of the helmet debate, the so called 'Novelty' helmets.  Most people who think of 'Novelty' helmets think of the thin shelled skull cap helmet with absolutely nothing between the shell of the helmet and the wearers head.  Biltwell's 'Novelty' helmets look just like their other models.  With plenty of padding, and a high quality finish.  The only difference is they don't quite meet the standards to earn a D.O.T. sticker on the back.  But I seriously doubt if the average layperson (and especially police) could even tell the difference between a D.O.T. helmet and one of Biltwell's 'Novelty' helmets.  Since the onl way to test a helmet to see if it meets the standard is quite precise, and results in the destruction of the helmet, there can't be any type of 'roadside' testing to verify whether a helmet meets the D.O.T. standard or not. Except of course, those 'novelty' helmets with absolutely zero padding and only a minimally hard shell.  That is why a lot of police use the absence of a D.O.T. sticker as an excuse to pull over a motorcyclist for having a non-standard helmet.  The sad truth is, that the Federal standard that requires a helmet to have a D.O.T. sticker placed on it by the manufacturer ends at point of sale.  There is no Federal mandate that the D.O.T. on the back of a helmet must be permanently there.  Once the buyer has purchased the helmet, it is theirs to do with as they wish.  Including removing the sticker that says D.O.T. from their helmets.

All this will become a moot point once the legislature repeals the helmet law.  Even though, like my good firend, many if not most riders will continue to wear their helmets.  It will become one less reason for law enforcement to use to 'profile' motorcyclists.  Which, in Washington State is already illegal, but many law enforcement officers still use any excuse they can to stop riders in hopes of getting a bigger bust than a simple traffic ticket.  Think about it, removing one more toolthe police  can use to harass us while we peacefully ride.  While giving us, the motorcycling citizens, the RIGHT to choose whether to wear a helmet or not.  Sounds like a Win/Win situation to me.   Like the old slogan from when I first started riding on the street bike in the late 70's says; "Helmet Laws Suck."  They did then, and they still do.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

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