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Seat Belts and Motorcycle Helmets; optional or mandatory?

We live in Texas.

My son brought this up and it got me wondering. In Texas motorcycle helmets are required until the rider is 21, then they are optional safety equipment. Now we all know that the chances of getting killed in a motorcycle accident is far greater than if you were in a car accident going the same speed. However, seat belts are not optional, they are mandatory.

So my son asked, if they are both safety equipment, shouldn't they both be either optional or mandatory? Isn't this some kind of "that makes no sense" law?

Just curious.


Asked by PaceMyself at 8:00 AM on Apr. 6, 2009 in Just for Fun

Level 5 (75 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (32)
  • Mandatory (despite the fact we do need more organ donors).

    Answer by reelo at 10:47 AM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • There has always been more resistance to motorcycles helmets, people are always trying to find loopholes. There's far less resistance to seatbelts IMO. In my state both are mandatory but in the next state over both are optional. It doesn't matter to me anyway, they're mandatory in my car. One of my friends hates to wear hers (and she's a nurse!) but she knows she can't ride in my car without one and knows that I won't ride with her unless she's wearing one. I think there's also a perception that cars are necessary therefore everyone will be in one but bikes are more fun and optional.

    I have a friend who survived because she was wearing a helmet (horse riding incident, horse stamped on her head and totally ruined the helmet but she's fine) and I had a friend who died because he wasn't wearing a seatbelt. When you have first hand experience of these things it tends to make you stricter.

    Answer by RhondaVeggie at 8:16 AM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • I live in Ontario and helmets are mandatory for motorcycles and bicycles, probably because we have universal health care and the government is trying to keep costs down which is a good thing.


    Answer by beeky at 8:21 AM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • The theory is this: seat belts can prevent you from being thrown from the car, so it protects everyone not just you. Motorcycle helmets just protect the rider. A man getting thrown off the motorcycle will only hurt himself w/ or without the helmet.. he is still a projectile and could hurt other people so that theory doesn't work.

    I think they both should be optional... I understand why one is, and one isn't though.

    Answer by celticreverie at 8:29 AM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • I think they should be mandatory. People are too stupid to make that kind of decision for themselves most of the time.

    Answer by Marwill at 8:31 AM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • Another point about motorcycles is that there is usually only one person on it. They are risking themselves more than others. I've never driven a motorcycle, but it seems to me it would be more difficult to see around you with a helmet on, and you would be more likely to get whiplash or snap your neck in some cases with a heavy helmet on. Besides, motorcycle riders like to feel free - with the wind in their hair. Why even ride a motorcycle if your head is in a chamber? I can see the argument against them.

    Answer by FlyMom07 at 8:35 AM on Apr. 6, 2009


    Answer by MasonsMommy1707 at 8:37 AM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • In FL, the helmets are option for motorcycle riders but kids must wear a helmet to ride a bike! And seat belts are mandatory. The motorcylist protested and got the law they wanted. Some wear them, some have them, but dont. I think that's the worst -- when the ride by when the helmet on the side of their bike.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:50 AM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • In NY both are mandatory.

    Answer by PestPatti at 9:06 AM on Apr. 6, 2009

  • MI both are mandatory. The seat belt law wasn't until a few years ago. A lot of people from IN get pulled over when they cross state lines on their motorcycle and don't put a helmet on. I think if you're an adult (+18) the decision should be yours for both seat belt and helmet.

    Answer by RugersMommy06 at 9:10 AM on Apr. 6, 2009