America’s roads have become safer for car drivers over the decades, thanks to advanced automobile technologies (LeBeau). But things may not have improved as much for motorcycle riders because the potential for safety technologies is quite limited in motorcycles, due to its very nature. Thus, some old-school technologies like motorcycle helmet still offer some of the best protection against potential crashes and accidents. Unfortunately, there are not always required by law in some U.S. states and Ohio is one of them (Governors Highway Safety Association). Ohio should require motorcyclists to wear helmets because it would make travelling safer for them and help enhance the overall welfare of the state.Motorcycle cycle helmets should be required in Ohio because they will help save a huge number of lives. The odds are significantly more stacked against motorcyclists than they may be against riders of other vehicles such as automobiles. The federal government estimates the odd of a motorcyclist dying on the road is over 30 times the odd of someone riding an automobile dying per each mile. Head injury is common among motorcyclists who may be involved in a crash or an accident and motorcycle helmets about 37 percent effective in preventing death and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). Since the benefits of wearing a motorcycle helmet are so high in the unfortunate case of a crash or an accident, Ohio should require all motorcyclists to wear helmet without exception.
Ohio should also require all motorcyclists to wear helmet because state government has a responsibility to advance the overall interests of the society. The merits of the law should be weighed by comparing benefits against potential costs and in this case, benefits clearly outweigh the costs. Requiring motorcyclists to wear helmet would not be something a novel law for Ohio since many states require it as well as other countries. This law would be no different than requiring the front inhabitants of a car to wear seatbelt because the objective in both case is same; improving safety on the road.
The opponents of the law argue it would be violation of one’s right to freedom of speech. The critics do not realize governments can rightfully implement laws even if they may infringe on one’s right to free speech and action as long as the government can demonstrate doing so will enhance the society’s interests. There is a reason one cannot drink and drive or one cannot use certain drugs such as cocaine even though applicable government regulations do seem to infringe upon one’s right to freedom of speech and action. But if the opponents insist upon preventing such a law, they should be prepared to bear the costs some of which may be higher insurance rates as well as lower compensation in the case of an accident even if such an accident is not the victim’s fault. After all, the right to freedom of action and speech doesn’t absolve one of the potentially negative consequences.
All motorcyclists should be required to wear motorcycle helmets in Ohio as they are in many other U.S. states as well as other countries. Motorcyclists do not have the luxury of many safety features that automobile riders now enjoy, thus, one of their few options is still old school technologies like helmets. Such a law would be justified because the benefits would exceed the costs, resulting in improved welfare of the society. The critics of such a law argue doing so would violate one’s freedom of speech and action but the government is justified in limiting certain rights in the overall interests of the society. But if the critics somehow succeed in preventing mandatory wearing of helmet, they should be prepared to shoulder the extra costs that may accompany such efforts.

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  • Governors Highway Safety Association. Helmet Laws. April 2015. 14 April 2015 .
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Motorcycles. 14 April 2015
  • LeBeau, Phil. Newest Tests Show It is Becoming Safer to Drive. 15 December 2011. 14 April 2015