Republican Rep. Andy Olson, a 29-year OSP veteran turned Albany lawmaker has a fatal flaw. He wants to be liked by motorcyclists.
It all started when he sponsored House Bill 3141 which allows Oregon motorcycle riders and passengers to ride without helmets if they’re 21 or older. The bill would amend the state motorcycle helmet law to say that only persons under 21 years of age are required to wear one. I’ve written previously HERE about helmet laws in Oregon.
But, what are the odds of newly re-elected Governor John Kitzhaber (D) approving a “threat to the health and safety of Oregonians” … that’s like Dick Cheney caring what the public thinks or like Sarah Palin suddenly saying Obama’s great or like Paul Krugman saying trickle-down economics work. A Leopard can’t change its spots and if anyone remotely believes that Doctor/Gov. Kitzhaber would allow it to become law, then they are ignoring history, evidence and logic! Gov. Kitzhaber had an opportunity to approve a similar bill (HB 2454) back in August 1997, but he vetoed it on the very last day before it would have become law.
With all due respect to Mr. Olson, this anti-helmet campaign is dumb given the Governors clear stance on the topic and because there are a lot of other campaigns more important (government intrusion on attire, noise, superbike legislation etc.) to riders, but Mr. Olson is committed and said the change would allow riders to hear better and see more. Huh? That’s the logic to influence the Governor?! Mr. Olson expects the measure to go to the House transportation panel and come up for a hearing in a week or so. Hey, Mr. Olson I have an idea… how about stop wasting tax dollars and work on how to generate jobs. You’d have a better chance of building a helmet factory in Oregon!
Looking for some balanced reporting on the helmet choice discussion? Here is some information that might cause a moment of pause…
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that helmets reduce crash-related head injuries, the leading cause of death among riders wearing no helmets. And, a recent study published online in the Journal of American College of Surgeons shows that riders who wore helmets were 22% less likely than non-helmeted riders to sustain a cervical spine injury after a motorcycle collision. I’m not a doctor, but basically they debunked a popular myth that wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle can be detrimental during a motorcycle crash. They dispelled the hypothesis that helmet weight causes significant torque on the neck during motorcycle crashes which could contribute to spinal injuries.
Photo courtesy of Andy Olson’s Facebook page.