After reading Cindi Ross Scoppe’s column calling for a law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets (“How our state encourages young men to kill themselves,” Sept. 15), it occurred to me that there is a compromise that could literally save lives and reduce pain and misery for riders and their loved ones: Require those who choose to not wear a helmet to purchase special insurance to cover head injuries. Absence of a helmet could be defined as probable cause for a police stop, and the fine for riding unhelmeted without this insurance could go into the special state fund to cover such injuries.
Many of the older, hard-core no-helmet riders probably would buy the insurance, since they could afford it, and would continue to ride without a helmet. But many in the 21-40 age group — like Ms. Scoppe’s friend who died from massive head trauma in a motorcycle crash -- would be unable to afford the insurance and probably would opt to wear a helmet.
Consequently, more of them would reach the age where they no longer felt bulletproof, as we males tend to do until we’ve had quite a few birthdays, and would continue to wear the helmet and even drive more safely.
Compromise, by the way, is a sign of a healthy legislative body. It’s one way that cultures traditionally have advanced and improved.