hamishm wrote:Do you think that we humans on the whole are good at making sensible decisions like that? Would seatbelts have been adopted if they were optional?
Do you think the compulsory seatbelt rule reduced the level of motor-vehicle use?
It always gets thrown up as a comparison mandatory road safety rule, but it is not comparable
In making a comparison you have to consider the motivation and convenience aspects too. Mandatory seat belt laws require the vehicle owner to provide the protection for all users and the protection is built in to the vehicle. Whether or not a user makes a decision to wear the belt is another matter but the presence of the belt, fixed in the vehicle, makes it simple to use.
Bike helmet laws on the other hand require the user to have the helmet available before using the bike. It's not a part of the bike, it's something the user brings with him/her.
If I hire a car everything I need to use that car legally comes with the car.
If I hire a blue bike it doesn't - I have to bring my own helmet or go somewhere comparatively hard to find and inconvenient to get one.
It is probably a reasonable thing to say, when comparing seat belts and helmets, "If it's there then there's no reason not to use it" but the key is that a helmet is not, automatically, there and a seat belt is.
Most people, I think, would choose to wear a helmet when they perceive that there is a benefit vs the risk they anticipate. There is a whole world of difference, however, between "Helmets provide protection in a serious crash" and "You must wear a helmet". Many people seem to have trouble distinguishing between the opposition to compulsion and the opposition to helmets; I don't think I've ever read or heard anyone say that helmets should be banned or should not be worn but many have said that the decision to wear one should be down to the rider.