Not what he had in mind

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Not what he had in mind

The recently late Philip A. Contos of upstate Parish set out yesterday afternoon with other members if the New York chapter of American Bikers Aimed Toward Education to protest the state's mandatory helmet law.

In keeping with that objective, Mr. Contos, 55, and his fellow riders eschewed the wearing of the required head gear, and openly flouted Chapter 71 of the Consolidated Laws (Title III) which was passed in 1967.

Somewhere Route 11 in Onondaga County, Mr. Contos applied the brakes of his 1983 Harley Davidson, lost control of the motorcycle and after a brief experience with "fishtailing," con­tinued forward over the handlebars when his vehicle came to a halt.

As is often the case in such circumstances, Mr. Contos struck his head and after being taken to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, died of an injury which the attending physician said would not have been life-threatening... wait for it!... had he been wearing a helmet.

Some may dismiss this as one of life's little ironies, while others will insist that it's a per­fect validation of Darwinism.

What is undisputed is that this is not what the decedent wanted his life to mean.


1. Jim Cordo said...

My sympathy goes out to Mr. Contos' family.

There should not be a law, imho, that tells you what to wear on your head. Why? It is only a safety issue for the person with the exposed head. Maybe we should pass a law making you wear helmets when it hails out. Or maybe a law that makes you wear a hat when it is under 32° F.

The Government needs to get its priorities straight.

I absolutely agree on the last part, but who winds up footing the health care costs?

Don't recall who the Legislator was in the late '60s, but after they's passed the helmet law, he next wanted to make motorcycle seat belts mandatory "'cause they've worked so well with cars!" (Those were the guys you always had to watch out for when you were out riding, 'cause they had no idea of how a motorcycle worked!)

2. Jim Cordo said...

I believe the health care costs would be higher if you survive the crash.

I'm not sure how this fits but anyway, one of the guys I worked with in Magic's was in a car crash. He wasn't wearing a seat belt. He was thrown to the passenger seat and the roof of the car and half the engine ended up in the drivers seat. Not a scratch, than God! For years after he would not wear his seat belts, using the results of that accident as justification.

He didn't stop drinking and driving though.

There's always anecdotal "evidence" to support any position, Jimbo, and as my mother used to assure me when I was still in single digits, "it happened to a little boy just last week!" (And Mommies wouldn't lie to their sons, would they? Is it any wonder I reached my adolescence in a constant state of apprehension?)

A head injury could leave you in a persistent vegetative state... and that gets really expensive unless you have an extremely good friend who'll sneak in and pull the plug... or you could wind up like Gary Busey!

3. Jeanne Speir said...

I wear my bike helmet every time I get on my biped-fueled ride. Because I want to? Heck, no. But, as former chair of the SUNY StonyBrook nationally based SAFEKIDS chapter, I have to practice what I preached.

The vast majority of any type of "bike" accidents are the biker's fault. Youth, carelessness, recklessness, speed, aggressiveness and lack of personal protection have devastating results.

My older brother was an avid motorcycle rider, who warned, "It's not IF you're going to fall, it's WHEN."

WHO do you think foots the bill for the permanently brain injured who were not "fortunate" enough to die on the road?

WE THE TAXPAYERS, after your family goes bankrupt with your weeks of Intensive Care.

Here's some very reliable and current bike/helmet injury and motorcycle injury data.

I hope this separates the concept of injury prevention from one's Constitutionally guaranteed ability to be a grease stain on the road of life.

Um, Mr. Cordo, meet Mrs. Speir.

4. 1340 said...

Those stats would mean more if they contained info on operator training, age, and even type of bike. If the feds would spend money on operator training, rather than grants to states to ticket motorcycle operators, those number would change greatly, imho. Without knowing details of the incident the story is based on, it would appear that he "grabbed" his front brake way to hard and at the same time, released his rear brake after a skid. Doing so will result in a "high side" flip. If the rear tire is not aligned with the front tire. An experienced and well-trained rider would know that. Just sayin'....

'Ceptin' that's kinda basic stuff with any two-wheelin'!

5. Jim Cordo said...

Who foots the bill if you're wearing a helmet?

Jeanne, I'm a retired RN. I know what you're saying. I'm not advocating riding without a helmet on a motorcycle or a bike. Parents should require their children to wear helmets and teach them why so they can acquire some potential parenting skills of their own, not the Government.

And nice to meet you, Jeanne!

And that was something I did not know!

6. Jeanne Speir said...

Nice to meet you too, Jim.

I am an un-retired RN; working for the last 28 years as an FNP; spending nine formative professional years in a tertiary ER. Also got my fair share of ICU, CCU and enough years of homecare to follow the devastation of parents not enforcing the importance of helmets, supervision near pools, etc. The data I submitted should hint why "Govmint" should get involved. The parents are still failing. Are you suggesting we should let Darwin rule? Kids are still made fun of wearing this protective gear. More than half the bicycle deaths were helmetless people.

The United States Center for Disease Control had to get involved in injury prevention, because injuries trumped cancer and other diseases as leading causes of death in young people under 40. And that doesn't include including combat deaths and injuries.

1340, hello as well. Let your fingers do the walking and you'll find the numbers you seek. Of interest to me is that it seems the numbers of motorcycle injuries and deaths are climbing – with less miles travelled. I think observing the SUV's with drivers hugging cell phones to their ears roaring through the Village is not an anomaly. Cyclists, beware.

I saw a guy known as Charlie biking about the Village without his brain bucket this weekend. Duh! Way to be an example for the kids, dude!

Please correct me if I'm wrong – but don't you need to take a special road and safety course to be granted a motorcycle license?

Yes, dear, but it's more one of proficiency on a motorcycle.

7. Jim Cordo said...

As far as the health care cost, if the helmet law never passed, insurance companies would have gobbled up that data that you referred to Jeanne, and adjusted premium prices accordingly. It would be very expensive to drive motorcycles but you would be insured for health care.(It should be expensive. you're riding a big engine with wheels.)

I'm all about kids and their safety and well being. I think it is the parents' job to make sure their children wear helmets. When I was a kid, way back when, my parents would do a "drive by" of my haunts to make sure I wasn't in the street or smoking, etc. Neighbors would tell on me and it was appreciated by my parents. But in the case of children riding bikes maybe a law is appropriate. IMHO though, it should punish the parents.

One more thing. If the Government does get involved, it should only be in the form of education, like those horrible commercials about smoking.

Happy Independence Day to all!

8. 1340 said...

One only needs pass a very basic road test to get a Class "M." The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers a Basic Riders Course, successful completion of which will result in the road test being waived. The key word being "basic."

Though you are right Dean, those principles apply to any two-wheel vehicle, speed of the vehicle and the weight of the vehicle make doing it on a motorscooter much more "interesting."

Thanks for the tip.

9. Jeanne Speir said...

Jim, if you look at the data (or the street), the parents aren't wearing their helmets either.

So I agree, yes, parents should take the penalty for their kids. Like seat belt laws.

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