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Monday, February 28, 2011

some pro helmet case questions ...(rebuttal to Hart's testimony - work in progress) [2 Attachments]

from TigerLily
I'm not finished but I didn't want to delay sending this out. I may have made a few mistakes that i'll address later - just didn't want to delay more because many of us need to provide this info asap. Will try to finish tomorrow. If any of you need to use my stuff as your own - by all means go for it. Don't worry about plagerizing - it's about getting the word out.
I'm also cutting and pasting below. Any notes you can make to fix my errors, please do so.
Thanks a mil.
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p.s. I noticed my graph didn't cut and paste, so I'll put the graph on an attachment.
Christopher A. Hart

Vice Chairman
National Transportation Safety Board
Before The Transporation and Telecommunications Committee
Nebraska Unicameral Legislature on Legislative Bill 52
Repeal of Nebraska's Universal Helmet Law
Lincoln, NebraskaFebruary 14, 2011

Good afternoon Chairman Fischer and members of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. It is my pleasure to be here in Lincoln, at the invitation of Senator Lathrop, to discuss the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendation on helmet use laws and therefore our opposition to Legislative Bill (L.B.) 52, a bill that would reduce the safety benefits that are now provided by Nebraska's very sound universal helmet wear law.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress to investigate transportation accidents, determine their probable cause, and make recommendations to prevent their recurrence. The recommendations that arise from our investigations and safety studies are our most important product. Were there any investigations by NTSB related to motorcycle accidents? If so, what are the particulars?

The NTSB is concerned about the growing number of motorcycle riders that have been killed or injured in motorcycle crashes. From 1997 through 2008, the number of motorcycle fatalities nationwide more than doubled from 2,116 to 5,290. Although fatalities among motorcyclists declined in 2009, to 4,462, that is still an average of 12 motorcyclists per day, and an additional 90,000 were injured. Here in Nebraska, during the same 12-year period, there were 145 fatalities, an average of 12 deaths per year. Based upon experience in other states, the number of motorcyclist fatalities and injuries can be expected to increase if Nebraska enacts L.B. 52. Who collected this data? If it wasn’t then we should question whether Mr. Hart has the authority to be identifying these numbers.

Motorcycles represent only 3 percent of the 257 million vehicles on our roads, but they account for 13 percent of highways deaths.

In 1997, the motorcycle fatality rate per 100,000 registered vehicles was 55.30. By 2007, the rate per 100,000 registered vehicles was 72.48, an increase of 31 percent, with the result that the number of fatalities grew faster than the number of registered motorcycles.

I did a little “national” research and discovered that between those dates in which there was an increase of 31% fatalities, the number of states that expanded helmet options went up only by three states, or less than 6%. If fatalities increase with more states offering helmet choice, then there should have been 16 more States allowing for optional use of helmets. Source:

Recognizing the safety benefits of motorcycle helmets and the effectiveness of universal helmet laws in increasing helmet use, in October 2007, the NTSB recommended that the states lacking a universal helmet law enact legislation to require all motorcycle riders and passengers to use a helmet that complies with federal standards. We were pleased not to have to send that recommendation to Nebraska because, to its credit, Nebraska already had a universal helmet law in 2007.

Helmets Are Effective

Head injury is a leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the use of a safety helmet that complies with U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218 is the "single critical factor in the prevention [and] reduction of head injury." Where is the data to support this claim? Should we take his word for it – and the word of the lobbyists – NHTSA – who were banned from lobbing to States? The main function of the helmet is to protect the rider's head, especially the brain, during a fall or crash. A helmet that meets the federal safety standard is designed with a hard outer shell, an impact-attenuating liner, and a retention system to protect the structure and contents of the head in a wide variety of impact scenarios. He fails to mention that FMVSS is a testing standard by which testing of helmets is conducted at a speed of 12 mph. And more than 1/3 of those tested helmets – fail!
Out of 39 tested helmet brands tested in 2008, 18 failed, or 46%. These are helmets that are legal to wear because they were “tested.”

Helmets can be effective in both low- and high-speed crashes because crash speed is not directly related to head impact speed. In the definitive study on motorcycle cause factors (frequently referred to as the Hurt Report), the severity of head impacts was determined by examining crash-involved helmet damage. This study found that 90 percent of head impacts were less severe than the single test impact required in FMVSS 218. Thus, FMVSS 218-compliant helmets are well designed to protect the head for the vast majority of motorcycle crashes. Notice the word: can – not WILL.

It’s difficult to find unbiased data collection when it is being collected by an agenda-driven government. Here’s an older study that indicates a dramatic increase in neck injuries when helmets became mandatory:

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles did a study in 1969 comparing accident data from the years 1966 and 1967 in order to detect the effects of that state’s mandatory helmet law, which became effective Jan. 1, 1967.
Injuries Sustained by Motorcycle Occupants Killed

Injury 1966 Fatalities 1967 Fatalities

Head - fracture, bleeding wound, concussion 75.4% 45.9%

Neck - fracture, broken 5.8% 37.8%

Experience has abundantly demonstrated the effectiveness of appropriately designed motorcycle helmets in preventing and mitigating head injury. The independent Cochrane Review of published studies found in 2003 that helmets substantially reduced the risk of head injury and fatality in motorcycle crashes, and found no evidence of an increased risk of any other types of injury. A 1996 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) report noted that riders not wearing helmets are three times more likely to suffer brain injury than those riders wearing helmets.

About the Cochran Review. It appears to be an organization out of the U.K., as their financial statement is measured in “pounds.” They work with “WHO” World Healthcare Organization.

The Cochrane Collaboration is a registered charity, and is therefore not liable to pay corporation tax on its charitable activities.

Working better with external organisations
We are looking again at our external
partnerships, seeking ways of working
effectively with organisations with
common missions and purposes, where
the sum of our contributions can be
greater than the parts. As an example,
we are in the late stages of establishing
‘official relations’ with the World Health
Organization, a key partner in much of the
work we do for resource-poor settings.

According to another DOT report published in 2004, helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing all fatalities in motorcycle crashes. What is he basing this wild claim on?

David Thom, one of the lead researchers involved with the Hurt Report, spoke at the NTSB's Motorcycle Forum in September 2006, about the potential negative effects of helmets on safety. An active motorcyclist and researcher on motorcycle safety for three decades, Mr. Thom noted that helmets neither cause nor prevent neck injuries. A large number of scientific studies confirm Mr. Thom's observations. Similarly, helmets have not been shown to cause problems with vision or hearing. I would like for this person to give his testimony wearing a full-face helmet with the temp at 100 degrees and then let Mr. Hart tell me that helmets don’t cause problems with vision or hearing. There is also the added impact of wind – a helmet large enough to not raise a law enforcer’s suspicion, will likely have an impact at controlling the motorcycle at high speeds. When you turn to ensure you are clear to change lanes, it can be unnerving to feel wind catch under your visor and can cause an added struggle to handling the motorcycle safely. These are especially trying circumstances when dealing with high wind condition.

Helmets Laws Do Increase Helmet Use Yes, all laws that have a fine and a threat of being arrested when not paid or addressed – WILL increase helmet use by close to 100%. But these helmet law advocates fail to address the astounding loss of revenue to the motorcycling industry and tourism. This is especially crucial to our current economy.

By 1976, following passage of the 1966 National Highway Safety Act, which withheld federal funding from states that had not enacted mandatory helmet laws, 47 states, including Nebraska, had mandatory helmet laws that applied to all motorcycle riders. Since that time, motorcycle groups have argued extensively against such laws, and restrictions on federal funding contingent on such laws were removed (in 1976), partially re-enacted (in 1991), and then removed again (in 1995). Each removal of federal funding restrictions was followed by a wave of repeals of universal helmet laws. Currently, 20 (Incorrect – 22 states have universal helmet laws – he must not be counting DC)states, including Nebraska, have universal helmet laws (requiring all riders to wear a helmet), 27 states have partial laws (requiring minors and/or passengers to wear such helmets), and 3 states (2 states have no helmet laws) have no helmet laws.

Unfortunately, these repeals have amounted to a vast experiment affirming the effectiveness of helmet laws and regulations in reducing death and injury. A 1991 review of studies of helmet use found that helmet use under universal laws ranges from 92 to 100 percent, (I challenge this statement on the grounds that in Nevada the data is collected by a police officer at the scene of the accident. There is a checkbox on that report that requires the answer to whether or not the rider was wearing a helmet. There are some incidents in which the data collector would check “no” because the helmet came off on impact, or if it was removed to resuscitate) while without a law or under a partial law (requiring only some riders, such as teens or novice riders, to wear helmets), helmet use generally ranges from 42 to 59 percent. A 2009 NHTSA research note indicated that helmet use in states that require all motorcyclists to wear helmets is at 86 percent, while helmet use in a state without a law or under a partial law is about 55 percent. How did he get those numbers? I belong to a riding club in which I am the ONLY rider that goes helmetless in states with helmet options.

A 1986 study concluded that the repeal of helmet use laws was associated with a 10.4 to 33.3 percent increase in the fatality rate when calculated per accident. It would be nice to have the entire picture. How much was the motorcycle registration, how much more riding took place because of the helmet choice, and how often are those accidents caused by helmets – close to zero. The study also found that between 158 and 420 fewer motorcycle rider fatalities would have occurred in 1984 had the laws not been repealed. That study should have also captured how the fatalities were decreased because of decreased riding. More recently, studies of states that have repealed their mandatory helmet laws within the last 10 years have shown similar patterns.

For example, Arkansas repealed its universal helmet law in 1997, and 18 months after repeal, helmet use dropped by two-thirds (from 97 to 30 percent). First off, how can any study know the percentage of persons wearing a helmet? If helmet usage dropped by two thirds, fatalities should have increased by two-thirds. Arkansas also experienced more than double the number and rate of unhelmeted crash scene fatalities, and more than double the hospital admission rate for unhelmeted motorcycle crash survivors. It would be nice to know if there were any “droolers” that resulted from having worn a helmet. A more merciful fate in that case might have been death. “Let those who ride decide” applies. Associated with this increase in death and injuries was a substantial increase in the amount of non-reimbursed charges for initial treatment. What are these increases? I looked high and low in Nevada to see what the adverse effects have been. Reality check: more people die or cause a drain on healthcare due to poor nutrition than due to law-abiding, motorcyclists that tend to be healthy and even athletic.

After Texas repealed its universal helmet law in 1997, helmet use fell from 97 to 66 percent. Again, who collected those numbers? And how did the helmet repeal increase riding? More than 80 additional motorcyclists died How many more? Was it one more? Two? If he’s a high ranking federal official appointed by the President of the United States – spending money to testify in Nebraska to kill a freedom-based bill, then why can’t he tell us EXACTLY? If the number had been 87, likely the statement would have been “Almost 90.” in the 2 years following the law's repeal than in the 2 years preceding it. The number of unhelmeted riders with traumatic brain injuries increased by a factor of almost 10 Almost 10 – was it 9? 8? 7? 6? If you round six off to the nearest 10th, it’s justifiable to say “almost 10.” How many traumatic injuries resulted from driving other motor vehicles? Or being hit by a car? Or falls? in only 4 years, from 55 in 1997 to 511 in 2001, and the number of unhelmeted riders who were placed in rehabilitation facilities saw similar increases, from 9 in 1997 to 90 in 2001. Here’s a question, with helmet choice and good economy, does it not make sense that people will be out riding? A more recent study published in the January 2010 edition of the Southern Medical Journal indicates that in the 7 years since Texas repealed its mandatory motorcycle law in 1997, fatality rates per vehicle miles traveled increased by roughly 25 percent. Again, was this a good-economy driven factor? Did they experience unprecedented rain? To constantly blame the rider’s choice or non choice of head gear is to deny a slew of factors. People who work for the government and benefit by putting control over law-abiding freedom-loving U.S. Citizens are constantly skewing facts to support their agenda and denying the existence of other factors.

In Kentucky, helmet usage rates fell from 96 to 65 percent following repeal of the state's universal helmet law in 1998; Does the government of Kentucky have cops going around counting how many people are wearing helmets? Who’s paying for this? motorcycle fatalities increased from 26 in the year prior to repeal to 42 in the year following repeal. How many people died from heart disease – isn’t that where Kentucky Fried Chicken originated? Will the feds be testifying with their high credentials to ban fried chicken? Will they use statistics about hospitalizions, strokes, diabetes, etc. to futher an agenda to take away some else’s freedom? Accident-involved motorcycle riders who did not wear helmets in Kentucky were 4 times more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury and severe head injury. What, exactly, is the breakdown. Were some fatalities more merciful than quadriplegia? In addition, hospital charges alone averaged more than $25,000 more for the unhelmeted motorcyclist than for the helmeted motorcyclist involved in an accident. Motorcyclists are some of the best insured motorists around. We know we have extra risks and I would venture to guess that we compensate for it. How did he come to this conclusion. Where is the data? Why is it so difficult to obtain?

Louisiana saw its helmet usage rate drop from 100 to 52 how is this data collected? percent after it amended its helmet law in 1999 to remove the universal requirement for helmet use. The motorcycle fatality rate increased by more than 25 percent following the repeal, with unhelmeted accident-involved riders experiencing head injuries at twice the rate of helmeted riders. Nearly 60 more motorcyclists died in the 2 years following the law's repeal than in the 2 years preceding it. In spite of their requirement for unhelmeted riders to carry health insurance, the insurance coverage for unhelmeted riders involved in accidents actually decreased by half following the change in the law. In 2004, in response to the continuing rise in deaths and injuries, Louisiana reenacted the universal helmet law and saw the total number of motorcyclist deaths decline in 2004 and 2005. I am not surprised that the people of Louisiana changed their minds so many times. On the one hand there are some very freedom-loving people – on the other a lot of nannycrats who have deep roots in slavery. Is this a case in which the culture breeds nannyism?

Florida repealed its universal helmet law in 2000. After the repeal, helmet wear decreased from 100 to 53 percent, What’s source for this statement so that we can discern whether these numbers are legit. motorcycle deaths increased by almost 50 percent, How much did mc registrations increase and riding? Do the same people who count helmets on riders also calculate the miles put on these bikes? and the number of serious brain injuries doubled. How bad were those injuries, were they riding faster than 12 mph? What are the odds that those brain injuries could have been avoided? Did the brain injuries keep a quadriplegic alive – to the determine of their own will? An estimated 117 motorcycle deaths in Florida could have been avoided from 2001 to 2002 if the universal law had remained in place. How much cost would it had on freedom to ride lidless?

The most recent study examining the results of a helmet law repeal was completed in 2008 by the University of Pittsburgh. The study looked at motorcycle injuries and fatalities in Pennsylvania for the 2 years before and after Pennsylvania limited its motorcycle law to riders with limited experience and riders and passengers under age 21. In the 2 years after Pennsylvania changed its law, the number of non-head injury deaths increased 25 percent, but the number of head injury deaths increased by 66 percent. Notice the measure stated as a percentage, rather than as a number. Were there 3 injuries and it went up to 9? When they give an alarming number in a percentage form, it is used as an intentional trick heighten alarm. Motorcycle-related head injury hospitalizations increased an astounding 78 percent compared to 28 percent for non-head injury hospitalizations. Again, percentages not numbers. The increase in the number of head injury deaths or hospitalizations significantly outpaced the increase in the number of motorcycle registrations. He needs to quantify the number. Acute care hospital charges for motor-cycle related head injuries increased 132 percent, Did this increase in cost because a helmet put him in a place where they needed a lot of care? Would the cost be lower if they had died due if they had not worn a helmet? and the number of head-injured hospitalized motorcyclists requiring additional care at other facilities, such as rehabilitation or long-term care, increased 87 percent, compared with a 16 increase for non-head injured motorcyclists. He speaks to costs – but doesn’t say if the injured were or were not wearing helmet. Is it possible he is counting all injuries – regardless of whether or not the victim was wearing a helmet? I can’t help but be suspicious in light of the lack of data they will let us have to analyze for ourselves, and in light to furthering their own agenda.

The results of this legislative "experiment" on motorcycle riders are the same in every state where it has been performed. How did he come to this conclusion? Is it possible that even one state enjoyed more riding because of the choice and yet that had no negative impact? Have any actually had a positive impact? When universal helmet laws are repealed, helmet usage rates decrease dramatically, helmet laws = Less riding = fewer deaths and accidents. and motorcycle deaths and injuries increase markedly, even when accounting for the changes in ridership that may be associated with the repeal of the universal law. It is likely that hundreds of deaths and thousands of serious injuries could have been avoided had the states that recently repealed their universal helmet laws not done so. Yes, and we’d be more like other countries in which they cannot enjoy freedoms because they police states – which is what we are becoming.

Most states that have repealed universal helmet laws recognize that younger riders may be unable to make a fully informed decision regarding helmet use. They have, therefore, required that riders under a certain age wear helmets. These younger riders are likely to be among the least experienced riders and are the most likely to engage in risky behaviors, often with an incomplete understanding of potential consequences. Unfortunately, it is difficult to ascertain the age of a motorcycle rider for the purposes of enforcing such a requirement without verifying the rider's age during a traffic stop. If it’s that difficult, allow the parents to intervene. I for one would encourage my son NOT to wear a helmet because helmets give him a sense of security to ride like an animal. As a result, the young motorcyclist helmet law becomes unenforceable They’re pretty unenforceable for adults now, as evidenced by the 56 helmet tickets that were dismissed in Henderson, NV (see the No Bones About it article:

helmet usage rates for minors drop dramatically when universal helmet laws are repealed. Thus, the most vulnerable and least risk-averse segments of the motorcyclist population are more likely to be unprotected in the absence of universal laws. Moreover, motorcyclists under age 21 generally represent less than 10% of the national fatality total.

A number of motorcycle-related groups, including the National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Hostile organization that undermine our freedoms. Two MSF instructors were killed in broad daylight, wearing dot helmets. and the American Motorcyclist Association Not as hostile to the other two, but I believe they advocate wearing a helmet but I do not believe they advocate helmet laws (I could be wrong – am running out of gas., encourage riders to wear motorcycle helmets, and most do not oppose laws Aha! That means that some DOES oppose helmet laws – probably the AMA. mandating such use by minors. The National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety (NAMS) report, which was supported by NHTSA and this Mr. Hart should not be allowed to be used by NTHSA since they were declared a lobbyist organization. It is illegal for Fed agents to lobby to states, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, and motorcycle manufacturers such as BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, American Honda Motor Company, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha, included an urgent recommendation to increase the use of FMVSS 218-compliant helmets. But did they recommend helmet laws as a means to accomplish this. Seems it would be in their interest to promote a product that they sell. A national survey performed in 2006 by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University noted that, even of those individuals who had previously ridden a motorcycle without a helmet, 61 percent favored state legislation requiring motorcycle helmet use.

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Tiger Lily,
Check out this little discrepency,

In 1997, the motorcycle fatality rate per 100,000 registered vehicles was 55.30. By 2007, the rate per 100,000 registered vehicles was 72.48, an increase of 31 percent, with the result that the number of fatalities grew faster than the number of registered motorcycles.

Guerrilla Lawfare

David, Tigerlily,
To look at fatals per registered is a trap that works against us.
The only statistic that matters is , Death per accidents ratio.
Since the presence or absence of a helmet neither prevents nor causes an accident, the only indicator is, what happens when a crash occurs? The death per accident ratio is the only number that tells the story of what happens when an accident occurs.
Vehicle miles traveled, registered bikes , number of rainy days, etc. Are all fictions created by NHTSA to sell their lie.
Focus on death per accident ratio to tell the most accurate story,


Death per accidents ratio doesn't tell the whole picture - they like to say that deaths to accident ratio increases after helmet repeal. But how many people died even though they were wearing a helmet in a state that offered the helmet option? That's the most relevant question - and one that is almost never addressed by the opposition.

Yes I agree, What I was pointing out is, they Used the number of registered vehicles as the baseline, between the dates to get the increase. Then the slimeballs insert the numder of registered motorcycles  to complete their bogus statistic. scroll down and read it again.