Exemplar: Helmets

Legislation is very important in this country, and our elected officials have important work to do. Therefore, I think it is absurd to have a law requiring people to wear helmets every time they ride their bikes or blade down to the basketball court. Legislators should put this proposal aside and concentrate on bigger and more serious issues.

To begin with, a government’s job is to serve the people, not fill the job of parent. Educating young people to wear a helmet for safety should remain the job of parents and schools. Government should spend its time on issues like pollution and crime. Besides legislative time, there is also the issue of enforcement time. Who will issue these fifty-dollar fines for not wearing a helmet? If the answer is the police, then it is even more absurd to have this law. We do not need “helmet police.” Our police have more than enough to do without adding helmet violations to their agenda. A police officer’s time should not be taken up by such a silly law.

Another reason for discarding this plan is that every citizen should decide for themselves whether or not to wear a helmet. A helmet’s safety advantages can quickly disappear on a hot day. With no ventilation between your head and the plastic foam cushion, sweat begins to pour out of your scalp. The dripping sweat can slide down the forehead and into the eyes, stinging and blinding the skater or cyclist.

This creates a danger far more extreme than a bare head. Besides, most accidents that I have seen have resulted in wrist, knee, or elbow injuries, not head injuries. So, of course, a biker or skater can choose to wear a helmet, but don’t turn this small choice into a legal matter. Supporters of this proposed law claim that many head injuries could be prevented. Sure, sports can be risky, but it should be up to the individual—not the government—to decide whether a helmet is needed.

Finally, funds required for passing this law would be better spent on educating athletes about the possibility of head injuries from these sports. My brother is a good example. He has always worn a helmet when riding his bike, and he adds knee and elbow pads for roller blading. He learned these safety measures at school and from my parents, not from laws. Schools and education are better places to put taxpayers’ money. In addition, safety stickers and information brochures would help convince adult athletes more than any law would.

In conclusion, I believe our government needs to turn its attention to more pressing community issues and away from a helmet law that would be nothing more than another nuisance law. This proposed law would only cause resentment against the lawmakers who passed it.