No law, few helmets in sunny Florida
During a recent weekend in Florida, one thing that was particularly striking for a Maryland visitor was the almost total absence of helmets on the heads of motorcyclists in that state.
In Maryyland, you see, motorcycle helmets are the law. In Florida they were once the law, but the statute was repealed. So now, virtually every motocyclist you see in that state is riding bare-headed. I would estimate that fewer than 20 percent of the bikers I saw wore protective headgear. There was absolutely no sign that Florida motorcyclists were compensating for their unprotected skulls by driving any safer than Maryland bikers.
My guess is that in the absence of a law, fashion takes over. Nobody wants to be the dweeb wearing a brain bucket.
I'm aware of all the arguments about freedom of choice and yaddah-yah, but as the driver of a passenger vehicle I want the lives of the people I share the road with to be protected from the possibility that I will make a mistake -- or fail to respond to the mistake of another quickly enough. Call its selfish on my part, but I don't want to be carrying around the burden of killing someone. I'm happy to do my part to look out for motorcyclists but I also appreciate motorcyclists loooking out for themselves. On this issue at least, Maryland's got it right.