“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

I try to ignore so much of what goes on in the world, striving instead to only slow the decay of  my own tiny corner of it. But sometimes it’s impossible to stay above the fray. Say, what’s this thing young Troy Siahaan posted on MO last week?

AMA CEO, Rob Dingman, On Why The CDC Is Struggling To Fight Ebola + Video

What could the AMA President and CEO, the Center for Disease Control and Ebola possibly have in common? I had to click, against my better judgment … There’s our old pal Greg White interviewing American Motorcyclist Association CEO and Pres. Rob Dingman, who after he’s done praising this year’s AIMExpo (Larry Little, who puts the show on, is “AMA Motorcyclist of the Year”), launches into an unexpected discussion about how the CDC has “dropped the ball” on the Ebola outbreak because “it’s so pre-occupied with us motorcyclists.” CDC’s mission, Dingman says, is to prevent the spread of infectious disease, but they’ve gotten outside their box: “They’re trying to prevent people from motorcycling, it’s so crazy and insane people won’t even believe it!”

Whaaaat, they’re taking away our motorcycles?! This is an outrage! I surfed immediately over to the AMA site, where I found this:

‘Mission creep,’ not budget shortfall, affects CDC response to health issues

October 08, 2014

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — With Ebola on American soil and one U.S. child lost to the enterovirus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is trotting out its tired old arguments that it needs more money to respond to such crises, but the American Motorcyclist Association believes the CDC’s problem is misallocation, not insufficient funds.

“Instead of focusing on infectious diseases, the CDC has been steadily widening its scope to such things as motorcycle safety, playground equipment, forestry and other issues unrelated to its original mission,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. “We find the agency’s current budget complaints disingenuous.”

In July, the CDC’s Community Preventive Services Task Force called for universal mandatory helmet use by motorcyclists. While the committee members are volunteers, the CDC foots the bill for support staff and other expenses related to the committee’s meetings, research and published findings.

The Community Preventive Services Task Force also has studied such non-disease-related topics as seat belts, “social norming campaigns” in schools and designated-driver incentive programs. Meanwhile, a 2014 CDC report states that funding for public-health preparedness and response activities was $1 billion lower in fiscal 2013 than in 2002.

“The CDC should commit its limited resources to the study and treatment of infectious diseases and leave other public safety issues to the experts in those fields,” Allard said. “Several federal agencies, including the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, are charged with roadway and vehicle safety issues. Let them do their work.”

The AMA strongly encourages the use of personal protective equipment, including gloves, sturdy footwear and a properly fitted motorcycle helmet certified by its manufacturer to meet the DOT standard. However, adults should have the right to voluntarily decide when to wear a helmet. The AMA does not oppose laws requiring helmets for minor motorcycle operators and passengers.

The AMA’s full position on helmet use can be found here:www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/PositionStatements/VoluntaryHelmetUse.aspx.

Oh. So the CDC isn’t really trying to take our motorcycles away. They just think we should wear helmets. To me, that’s slightly different. On its website, the first paragraph of CDC’s mission statement is “to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.”

Is that a helmet you’re wearing, sister, or just happy to see me?

Is that a helmet you’re wearing, sister, or just happy to see me?

How many Americans have died from Ebola so far? One or two? Sure, the number could grow, but I’ll go out on a limb and bet it doesn’t surpass the 4,502 people killed in motorcycle crashes in 2010. Given that motorcyclists that year represented one in seven traffic fatalities, I think I’m going to have to go with, yes, this seems like a public safety issue to me.

Dingman is right, there are other federal agencies charged with motorcycle safety, maybe the biggest of which is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which provided the numbers I quoted above, and whose study goes on to conclude that, “in 2010, helmet use saved the lives of 1,544 motorcyclists, and an additional 709 lives might have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets. With motorcycle ownership at an all-time high (8.2 million registered motorcycles in 2010, compared with 4.3 million in 2000), motorcycle-related deaths and their associated costs are expected to remain at high levels unless more effective protective measures are implemented. Helmets are proven to save lives and money, and universal helmet laws are the most effective way to increase helmet use.”

How could you not want to ride around wearing one of these?

How could you not want to ride around wearing one of these?

I don’t really need the CDC or the NHTSA to tell me helmets are crucial to long-term motorcycling enjoyment; Baby Jesus told me that the first time I fell off a bike and cracked my coconut on the pavement decades ago while wearing one, and he still reminds me every now and then. But I’m glad those agencies make the effort to inform people without my experience or an IQ above 60. My own kid just started riding on the street, a thing that would be an absolute no-go without a helmet.

If you were waiting around for the AMA to make your kid wear one, it’s apparently not going to happen. Its official stance remains that adults should be free to make up their own minds, and, well, you can read it in the link above. Yes, I know the AMA does a lot of good things, especially when it comes to keeping land open for off-road riding and sanctioning all kinds of rallies and races. It’s interesting to note that in every race event it sanctions, one of the requirements is that all participants wear a helmet. You have to wonder why, given that racers tend to be just the sort of highly skilled riders with plenty of training who should be able to just avoid accidents like the AMA states they should in its official position (much like teenagers should practice abstinence and just say no to drugs).

The Governator was AMA Motorcyclist of the Year in 2010, but it was actually a smackdown because he signed California AB 435 into law.

The Governator was AMA Motorcyclist of the Year in 2010, but it was actually a smackdown because he signed California AB 435 into law.

I guess if the AMA was just content to have its helmet position and leave it at that, I might still be a member. But that’s not the case. According to this 2012 article, the AMA spends millions lobbying for your right to ride helmetless, an effort at which it’s been highly successful over the last couple of decades. In the same article, you can see that where 47 states once had mandatory helmet laws, now only 19 do. The results are completely predictable. In 1997, 2,116 motorcyclists were killed out of a total 42,013 U.S. highway fatalities. By 2010, 4,502 of us had snuffed it, out of 32,885. We made it all the way from 1 in 20 fatalities to 1 in 7 in only 13 years. Is there a Grim Reaper award at this year’s banquet?

So, I can see why CEO Dingman might be a little upset about the CDC’s “mission creep,” as it attempts to reduce the rate at which we kill ourselves through the simple, proven expedient of getting us to just wear a stupid helmet. Through the feigned indignity, I think I sense a tiny pang of guilt deep beneath the Jim Carrey haircut, maybe because the CDC and NHTSA are doing what Dingman and the AMA know they ought to be doing and, for whatever reason, aren’t. (Well, it’s usually money isn’t it? Dingman reportedly makes a lot.) They’re doing just the opposite.

It all reinforces my initial instinct not to have clicked on the Dingman interview in the first place, really, but it also reinforces my naive idea that given a little time, the world can be self-correcting. As of April 30 of this year, the AMA claims just 215,707 members, down from a high of over 300,000 in 2007. I think Cycle World still has more subscribers than that.

As of 2010, you’ll recall, NHTSA said there were 8.2 million bikes registered in the U.S. It’s a shame, really, that Charlton Heston died and the AMA can’t recruit him from the NRA, which has about 4.5 million members. Just think, with any leadership at all, we’d be lane-splitting through all 50 states, parking on the sidewalks like we used to do in San Francisco in the good old days, having the entire U.S. Congress trembling in fear before us … For now, though, we motorcyclists will have to be happy with a nice banquet every year. And don’t spoil it bringing up all the people who aren’t around to eat anymore.

Now that guy is free.

Now that guy is free.

  • john phyyt

    Land of the free? I don’t live in USA but you guys have many freedoms lost to us in other even more over-regulated countries. Don’t give in too easily: “4,502 people killed in motorcycle crashes in 2010.” Perhaps the truly sane should ban motorcycling all together.

  • Matt

    Obviously, the AMA doesn’t want to alienate the Harley riders by supporting mandatory helmet laws.

    • roma258

      Spot on. Harleys are still the dominant market share, probably even more disproportionate in AMA membership. Can’t piss off the golden goose,

      • Piglet2010

        I tried to find something to like about H-D, but failed.

    • Piglet2010

      Or a reasonable stance on noise – time for all 50 states to adopt and enforce the EPA matching label program.

  • Old MOron

    I had rightly ignored the Dingbat interview when Troy posted it, but I went and clicked on the link, thanks to you. Holy crap! THAT’S Dingman? He’s a tool. No wonder the AMA sucks.

    • John A. Stockman

      Yeah, good old Ding-bat. Pretending to be a motorcyclist. That drivel with what he said about MotoAmerica, he has no place saying anything about road racing here in the US. Let Rainey, Aksland and the MotoAmerica principles do what they know, and he should keep his mouth shut. And that’s just one thing he’s clueless about.

  • Nice one John.

  • Mike Simmons

    Burns misses the point entirely! Once the gummint begins to regulate something, they know not where to stop. Although I never ride without a helmet, I applaud the AMA’s effort to allow us to continue to make that choice. Freedom is too precious to surrender to the government.

    • I agree, but I think a slight restatement of the article’s argument should have you agreeing with Burns: Without infinite funding the AMA can only do so much. As a result we need to pick our battles. Winning the helmet battle has some benefit, but the freedom to lane split would have more tangible gains.

    • john burns

      Yup, we’re so free we’ve got more people in jail than any other country has EVER had!

      • Mike Simmons

        And that has exactly what to do with this discussion? Hmmmm?

        • john burns

          no idea. You brought freedom up.

    • FoolMotard

      “Once the gummint begins to regulate something, they know not where to stop” Great example of a slippery slope fallacy.

      Instituting regulation what government is for; the point is not whether government should regulate or not, but what is the reasonable level of regulation for some particular thing. To make sure that government does not go too far is what organizations like the AMA are for.

    • Piglet2010

      A regulation free government is a contradiction in terms.

  • fastfreddie

    How dare you publish a picture of me chillin’ on my bike without consent?!You’re dangerously close to a lawsuit.Now where’s that pen I had…

    Actually I agree with Mr. Simmons:They don’t know when to stop.First helmet,then full leather kit,then…fatsuit?

  • allworld

    I don’t need a law to get me to wear a helmet, nor do I buy into the whole “freedom of choice” argument. Riding on public roads is a “privilege” not a, “right”. The AMA, in which I am a current member, lacks the leadership needed to end this debate once an for all.
    The insurance companies and states, could do it, in a back door move by refusing to insure motorcyclist that don’t wear helmets, while all states require insurance.
    No helmet, no problem, your choice…. no insurance,… problem, …. privileges revoked.

    • John A. Stockman

      Good point about privilege vs right. Some states and their respective MROs have allowed no helmet if proof of insurance is verified and you’re at a certain age. Not very smart to bargain with clueless regulatory sorts who probably don’t even ride and don’t like those that do.

  • TimU

    Dingman, the ass that is singlehandedly destroying the AMA. Once again I don’t give a damn what this plutocrat has to say. (Unless it’s, “I resign”).

    • Ser Samsquamsh

      Stupidity is quite contagious so maybe the CDC should quarantine him?

  • BDan75

    I agree that cynically using the Ebola situation to score “points” in an argument is asinine, whether you’re Dingman or anyone else.

    That said–and while I’m generally in favor of helmet laws (have we really seen a “slippery slope” in states that have kept them?)–I’m also deeply suspicious of people/institutions with a “perfect safety” mentality, and for that reason I generally prefer that associations like the AMA err on the side of “No.”

    As to your stats on highway deaths, I’m completely unconvinced. If you’d quoted stats showing that the fatal accident *rate* (i.e., average deaths per mile ridden, as opposed to total deaths) has increased since 1997, it would have helped…but even that wouldn’t necessarily clinch it. Think of all the new, inexperienced riders who came on the scene between 1997 and 2010. Or, on the other side, think of how many MORE people now wear safety gear (armor, hi-viz, etc.) than did in the late 1990s. There’s more to the story than just helmets.

    I have no doubt that “extra” people have died for lack of a helmet since laws started being repealed…but I’d need to see a lot more in the way of unbiased #s before I bought the argument that no-helmet deaths are largely responsible for an increase in the fatal accident rate.

    As to relative numbers of car/motorcycle deaths…that proves precisely nothing. The motorcycle accident rate could have stayed level over that period, or even decreased, and we’d still look bad compared to cars. Until somebody figures out how to duplicate, for a motorcyclist, the safety benefits of a reinforced metal cage, crumple zones, seatbelts and multiple airbags, we’re always gonna lose that battle.

    • john burns

      “I have no doubt that “extra” people have died for lack of a helmet since laws started being repealed…but I’d need to see a lot more in the way of unbiased #s before I bought the argument that no-helmet deaths are largely responsible for an increase in the fatal accident rate.”

      So, you need somebody to prove the obvious with statistics? Interesting.

      • Piglet2010

        Sometimes statistics prove the obvious to be wrong, e.g. bicycle helmets* do nothing to reduce fatalities, as the whole population** studies have shown.

        * The soft shell kind that is (I wear a POC Trabec MIPS when riding a push-bike).
        ** And not the flawed case-control studies, e.g. Thompson, Rivara, Thompson.

  • Chester Nodier

    I don’t want the AMA to act like the NRA. I want sane, rational, mature leadership. I want responsible motorcycling to stay around an expand. I am an AMA member. It’s the only organization that can effectively lobby congress on issues that matter to me as a motorcyclist. I feel about helmet use like you, John. Thanks for speaking up.

    • Jason

      “It’s the only organization that can effectively lobby congress….”

      People say the same thing about the NRA. I am a former member of both organizations. They both do some good and support some things I agree with. However, both have a primary focus that I disagree with and believe does damage to the sport.

      The AMA does good things supporting racing and fighting to keep access to public land. However, their primary focus is fighting all attempts to require helmets, rolling back existing helmet laws, and fighting any attempts to enforce laws against loud pipes.

      The NRA does good thing supporting local gun ranges and fight to keep access to public land. However, their primary focus is fighting ANY new gun laws and rolling back existing ones.

  • QuestionMark

    I don’t really want the AMA to resist mandatory helmet laws, I want then to fight FOR lane sharing, lower insurance and access to parking lots. Here on the east coast, most parking garages are NO MOTORCYCLES yet there are few street parking spaces or they require a residence permit. I want them to fight motorcycle-only check points.

    In Texas 6 years ago they almost passed a lane sharing bill, but it would have required the rider to wear a helmet. The ABATE-types and other MROs would not support anything that makes a helmet required. So that effort folded. I want to share lanes, I already have a helmet. And frankly if you don’t wear a helmet, I’ll be more than glad to tell you you’re an idiot that needs to be made to.

    • john burns

      I’d be more concerned about one of those tube-type tires blowing out. It happened to me on a brand new Indian not long ago. That’ll get your attention.

      • QuestionMark

        ?? as refers to the Lounge Lizard riding posture?
        No matter what, after 47 years behind the handlebars, I still find steering with my feet imprecise. However this may be the only legitimate excuse for riding in flip flops, better steering feedback than with boots I imagine.

        • vastickel@gmail.com

          You guys know nothing about touring. How better than this posture to air out one’s linen, thereby saving valuable packing space for all that Harley beer?

          • John A. Stockman

            How many other OEMs welcome alcohol sponsorship to their events, and advertise such? I know of one…been to many different OEM-sponsored motorcycling events, and alcohol is not part of their appeal or programs, except one.

          • Piglet2010

            Are you claiming there is one (1) or two (2) manufacturers that have alcoholic beverage sellers sponsoring their events, and if so which one(s)?

            Of course, drinking gives a new meaning to “staggered formation” on a group ride, eh?

  • John B.

    Part of the problem is how we negotiate in America. In lawsuits for example, plaintiff’s don’t begin with a reasonable demand and then work to convince the defendant to accept that number. Nor do defendants start with a reasonable offer and hope to persuade the plaintiff. Rather, the plaintiff starts with an astronomical demand and the defendant offers zero. From these untenable positions the parties make a series of meaningless concessions until they get to a reasonable number. It’s inefficient and dumb, but that’s how it’s done. Similarly, policy advocates stake out extreme positions (e.g., all government regulation is wrong or motorcycles should be banned), and then negotiate to something reasonable. PS – I wear all the gear (helmet included) all the time, but in general I resent government regulation. The government doesn’t know what’s good for me.

    • john burns

      I think the problem is, tho, that govt does know better than a lot of people.

      I resented the helmet law when they passed it in California and I could no longer ride the 3 blocks to the corner store without wearing one. Now I realize it was the only way to keep people from riding at high speed on the freeways without one. I wouldn’t want to clean that up either. Small price for me to pay. Common good and all that..

      • John B.

        I agree it’s not an imposition to comply with mandatory helmet laws, and with respect to people who don’t wear helmets, the government does know better than they do. Also, fatalities create the impetus for greater regulation, so to the extent helmet laws save lives they may also reduce regulation. I would have a hard time advocating repeal of a law that saved lives. I see your point.

      • Mark D

        I always here the “But I’m just riding 3 blocks to the corner store!” argument, and I can’t help but think; can’t you just walk the 3 f’ing blocks? Or ride a bicycle? Or skateboard, roller skate, skip, sprint, crawl, crab-walk, unicycle, or cartwheel? I can’t think of a more unnecessary motorcycle trip that 3 blocks to the corner store. And if you are stopping to pick up a lot of heavy things, maybe safely bringing those heavy things strapped to the back of your two-wheel contraption should necessitate the use of a helmet.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      That is exactly the reason I bought my first motorcycle, a 1985 HD 883 Sportster, when I lived and worked in Fort Worth, TX. They passed the mandatory seat belt law and I said nobody was going to tell me what to do. There was no helmet law at the time but my VP told me get one since all the company IP was in my head.

  • Goose

    Well said. If Dingman doesn’t kill the AMA he will at best cause it to be far smaller and less effective. Not that is was ever that effective…

  • DeadArmadillo

    Sorry folks. While I don’t care for the AMA in general and Dingman in particular, I don’t need some government bureaucrat telling me how to dress when I get on my motorcycle. If you want to look like the Michelin man, good for you. Just please leave me alone.

    • john burns

      right up until you’re lying there bleeding and begging for help.

      • DeadArmadillo

        Aren’t you one of the dumb sh..ts that is always touting the most powerful sport bike, more power, carving canyons, motorcycle racing, yadda, yadda, yadda. Who you going to call when you crash and burn? The helmet maker so you can sue or maybe BO so his insurance will give you money the rest of your life. If I’m lying there bleeding and begging for help I’ll probably call ghost busters.

        • vastickel@gmail.com

          As long as I don’t have to pay your long-term disability…….

          • john burns

            Ironic isn’t it? The Guy Most Likely to Collect complaining about govt. health care.

    • John A. Stockman

      Since when does a good kit mean you look like the Michelin Man? It’s not the 70s or 80s anymore. The tech in current riding gear is excellent…sure it won’t protect you if you’re run over by a semi, or slam into a wall doing 70, so don’t bring up those what-if situations. Looking at it realistically, you’ll only be able to do so much. Wearing good kit doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride, nor does it detract from all the benefits you get because you ride. I went through many challenges to be able to ride again that most cannot comprehend; being afflicted with an insidious collagen defect that destroyed all my joint cartilage and fused my spine and hips by the time I was 14. I understand more than most about how precious & important the ability to ride a motorcycle is. People seem to forget one thing, that JQ Public types who will never ride, are the ones that cast their vote and complain to their representatives. Some of JQ’s perceptions come from what they see, and JQ lumps all riders together. No differentiation between ADV, cruiser, touring, dual sport, sport bike, etc. We are all the same to them, and when uninformed types see some stump like that guy steering with his legs with no gear at all, guess how they’ll “vote” when the time comes? Do what you want, but look at how riders are more respected and better trained in Europe, Japan, etc., compared to the constant denigration motorcyclists receive in America. Read the article in Motorcyclist, the “Megaphone” piece by Tim Kessel a couple years back, titled “Bikers Behaving Badly”. I knew all that way before that article, because I grew up in a family of accomplished motorcyclists, and have ridden all over the US and Canada and met all kinds of folks and riders. But a piece in a major magazine says more than I can, and just confirms what I’ve know all along.

      • Piglet2010

        “No differentiation between ADV, cruiser, touring, dual sport, sport bike, etc.”

        I cannot quite agree – riding a maxi-scooter (or scooterish motorcycle) in a hi-viz ‘Stich and having furry ears on one’s lid gets completely different reactions than more “conventional” looks (negative reactions from bikers, positive from non-motorcyclists).

        “Read the article in Motorcyclist, the “Megaphone” piece by Tim Kessel a couple years back, titled “Bikers Behaving Badly”: http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/blogs/bikers-behaving-badly-megaphone

  • Don Fraser

    Have not belonged to that organization since I had to for racing motox. If you are dumb enough that you have to be told to wear a helmet, then there should be a law. The other reason is that our biggest enemy is our selves and the amount of noise our toys make. The AMA has been dragging it’s feet on any meaningful regulations or working to solve this problem.

  • Phark

    Since 1989, the following states have enacted mandatory helmet laws for all riders, and experienced significant reductions in fatalities:

    Oregon – 33%
    Texas – 23%
    California – 37%
    Nebraska – 32%
    Washington – 15%
    Maryland – 20%
    So Oregon had a 33% reduction which mean the other 67% died wearing helmets.
    I find it hypocritical that Oregon sanctions you killing yourself with a pill but opposes you
    accidentally getting killed on a bike.
    It isn’t about safety, it is about control. That is what govt. is about in 2014. Controlling
    all you hoople heads.

    • jnroth

      Last year I asked AMA about the stats. This is what they said.
      “When we analyzed data from the annual Governor’s Highway Safety
      Association report in 2012, comparing 2012 motorcycle fatalities to
      2011 fatalities, 11 of the 19 states that had universal helmet laws had more
      fatalities in 2012: GA, MA, MD, MO, NC, NY, OR, TN, VT, WA, WV. And six states that allowed some version of adult choice had fewer fatalities in 2012: AK, CO, OK, RI, TX, WY. When we compared GHSA data in 2011 to 2010, seven states that had
      universal helmet laws (AL, CA, GA, MS, NE, NV, VA) reported greater fatalities in 2011, and 11 states that allow adult choice (AR, CT, ID,IA, KY, MT, NH, ND, PA, SD, WI) reported fewer fatalities in 2011.”

      They also talked about how the feds need to measure “vehicle miles traveled” when looking at fatality stats but that few do a good job because when were are riding is not always when the bureaucrats are counting. (like counting bikes on the road in February or March in Chicago)

      i think most riders don’t have the patience for the explanation. I used to be for helmet laws but now I oppose them. I’ve talked to a lot of police and they don’t like enforcing them. Stop paying those guys to write us tickets and let them go after bad guys. Spend the money on more MSF training or throwing texting jerks in jail. Me, I am going to wear a helmet anyway.

  • JMDonald

    The AMA has to justify it’s existence somehow. Dingman’s clumsily pointing out the CDC going beyond it’s scope of responsibility does not diminish the validity of his point. The AMA and the CDC are like unions that survive by convincing you they are necessary. How necessary are they and to what extent?

  • davethebarber

    Freedom is easy to identify. Taking away freedom is also easy to identify. Exercising freedom to a bad end is really a fundamental part of having it in the first place. JB try to imagine a person willing to risk drooling zombiehood for the fun of wind in his face. I was that guy but no more. Also, allowing government an inch guarantees future loss of a mile. Let natural selection do its work and get rid of helmet laws.

    • Piglet2010

      Thinning the herd of its weakest members strengthens those who survive.

  • James Hall

    Wear your helmet folks. It’s not about us, or them, or freedom. It’s about the ones who love us.

    • Piglet2010

      What about the people whom Heinz (Henry) Kissinger deemed “worthless eaters”?

  • John B.

    The comments to this article prove one of our sports greatest attributes; it attracts enthusiasts from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life. For all its attractive qualities, diversity makes consensus building more difficult. I love to brawl, and motorcycling and its participants provide infinite opportunities to brawl. So many issues, so little consensus. No group think here. Awesome!!!

  • Hoof Harted

    Yes, I always wear a helmet, even though it is not required where I live. It is not any of John Burns’s damn business and it is not any of the government’s business.

    • Kevin

      Burns has come to the sad realization that some of us have to pay for Obama care, and he doesn’t like being one of us: He has made it clear with the continuous liberal editorial bitching he does in his journals: But fear not, if someone he doesn’t like takes an important office he will be back to complaining about ineptitude in government: It was never any mystery to me as to why Dean canned him:

  • I live at the moment in the UK, where they’ve had helmet laws for more than 40 years. For those claiming the “slippery slope” argument, riding in the UK means being able to lane split (having it taught as part of basic training), not having to pay tolls, often getting allocated free parking, lower taxes, and lower insurance rates. Yeah, things are terrible here; I can’t wait to move back to the United States, where I’ll be “free.”

    And when I think about that eventual day I get really frustrated at the AMA and other allegedly pro-motorcycling groups (e.g., ABATE) that cause so much damage by using the tinfoil-hat language of extreme right wingers. The United States government is not evil, there is no tyranny. At best it is dumb, but primarily it is insensitive. The AMA should be working to foster a better understanding of motorcyclists among other road users, rather than making us sound like a load of crazies who should be ignored.

    The helmet argument is a stupid, stupid, stupid hill to die on. But that is exactly what AMA has chosen to do, as indicated by its dwindling numbers.

    • Piglet2010

      I think many ABATE members are likely anti-filtering, as it is not something they would want to do on 800+ pound cruisers during a poker run.

      • I know that ABATE in Minnesota is. Or, at least, they don’t care to show any support of it. I wrote to them once to ask their stance and the response was amusing. Their actual words were: “It is important to remember that the average motorist in Minnesota is not as talented as those in California or England. This is fact not opinion.”

  • jwaller

    Anyone else see a resemblance?

    • jwaller

      another attempt to attach photo

  • Backroad Bob

    Yikes, JB, you hit a nerve with this one. Good work.