Motorcylist Protesting Helmet Law Takes a Header and Dies

Motorcyclist Protesting Helmet Law Takes a Header and Dies

500 bare-headed motorcyclists participated in the 11th Annual Helmet Protest Run in Onondaga NY, near Syracuse, protesting New York’s law requiring bikers to wear helmets. Philip Contos, 55, was riding a 1983 Harley Davidson with the Onondaga chapter of American Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) when he flipped over the bike’s handlebars, hit his head on the pavement, and was killed. Police said that Mr. Contos would have survived had he been wearing a helmet.

“If you want to take a cold hard look at this, someone who dies or sustains traumatic brain injury because he or she wasn’t wearing a helmet costs taxpayers money, in terms of police and paramedic time and using hospital resources.

Americans have enough financial worries today. They should not be obligated to pick up tab for emergency responders and medical costs of those too stubborn … to bother wearing a helmet.”

— Gordon Johnson, Brain Damage Blog

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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4 Responses to “Motorcylist Protesting Helmet Law Takes a Header and Dies”

  1. Dusty, hells most vocal bitch Says:

    The irony wasn’t lost on me. There is a reason it’s called a Brain Bucket.

  2. pawsinsd Says:

    Don’t they usually converge on Albany? That’s what they did when I was there. Yes, in the Ice Age. Thank you for reminding me. I was against the seat belt law only because insurers didn’t reflect the decrease in loss to premiums paid. Perhaps this could be regulated via insurance or health care. No helmet, no motorcycle insurance, no insurance no health care payout. It may not stop stupid kids but may make an adult idiot with a house and other assets think twice.

  3. Otter Says:

    I agree with the principle but disagree with the actual execution thereof – i.e., I don’t think you should be forced to wear a helmet, but I will also never ride without one.

  4. Mike Licht Says:

    Otter wrote: … I don’t think you should be forced to wear a helmet …

    Reckless disregard for human life, even one’s own, is to be prevented for the good of all. This is a long-established principle of Anglo-American common law.

    Riding without a helmet not only raises healthcare costs for everyone else, it imposes “opportunity costs.” While EMTs are scraping reckless brains off the highway they are not available to aid others. That makes it everyone’s problem, not merely a personal choice.

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