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Opening Arguments

Spreading stupidity

I know I've remarked more that once that this is the stupidest thing in Indiana law (since the repeal of the provision making us promise to use our fireworks out of state, anyway), but it's worth noting that the stupidity is apparently spreading:

Debate over helmet use by motorcycle riders continues, and won’t be settled soon. Most statistics indicate that wearing a helmet reduces your chance of being killed or injured (likely a lifelong head injury) by wearing a helmet while riding.

Nevertheless, state helmet laws have slowly been rolled back over the years. Indiana does not require adult riders to wear helmets, and hasn’t since the mid-1970s. Michigan last year abolished its helmet law. But a study conducted there shows why it’s a good idea to keep the laws. Indiana’s lawmakers should take a look at the study and rethink its own lack of requiring them.

A Highway Loss Data Institute study found the average insurance payment on a motorcycle injury claim in Michigan was $5,410 in the two years before the law was changed. It jumped to $7,257, an increase of 34 percent, after the law was changed. This is the first study to look at the repeal of helmet laws as measured by medical insurance claims.

There are exactly the same arguments for and against both seatbelts and motorcycle helmets -- they're exactly the same kind of precautionary measures used for exactly the same reason. I don't care which, especially, but logic and common sense require that either both or neither be required. But here we require seatbelts but not the helmets.

Sure, sure, I know why that is. The feds threaten the withholding of highway funding if the seatbelt requirement isn't in the law, and there isn't a state in the union that's going to ignore such a threat. There's no such pressure for helmets, and the motorcycle riders have a strong and influential lobby. But, still. Stupid is stupid.