How can one favor motorcycle helmet use but oppose motorcycle helmet laws?
Wayne Allard of the American Motorcycle Association explains:
For many years, my organization has strongly encouraged the voluntary use by adult riders of helmets certified by their manufacturers to meet the U.S. Department of Transportation standard as part of a comprehensive motorcycle safety program to help reduce injuries and fatalities in the event of a motorcycle crash.
However, helmet mandates are not the solution because helmets do not prevent crashes. The American Motorcyclist Association believes that comprehensive motorcycle safety programs must promote strategies that are designed to prevent motorcycle crashes from occurring in the first place.
Helmet mandates have unintended consequences: Tragically, the enforcement of mandates siphons funds from effective crash prevention programs. …
Motorist awareness programs have become an increasingly valuable strategy in reducing motorcycle crashes. One of the most frequent causes of motorcycle accidents is the violation of motorcyclists’ right of way by other drivers. As traffic density and the frequency of distracted vehicle operation have increased, motorcyclists benefit when drivers are regularly reminded to watch for motorcyclists. Many states do not dedicate enough funding for these kinds of programs.
Recent reports calling for helmet mandates have failed to note that the rate of motorcycle fatalities has been decreasing. NHTSA reported in October 2011 that the motorcycle fatality rate from 2000-’09 declined 15.59% per 100,000 registered vehicles and 22.48% per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
The wisdom of helmet mandates is questionable. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association reported in May 2012 that 11 states that do not have universal helmet requirements reported fewer motorcycle fatalities in 2011, and seven states that have universal helmet laws reported greater fatalities in 2011.