On Riding Helmet Free


Mar 8, 2006
Body:West Central Missouri, Mind: Yes I are.
On a recent trip to Colorado Springs, I entertained myself by observing the number of helmet free riders in Kansas(riders 18 to 20 restricted to helmet law). Traveling from Kansas City Kansas to Topeka most WORE their helmets(approx. 70% did). However the further into western Kansas an entirely different picture emerged. Most DID NOT WEAR helmets(approx 75% did not). Same was true in the Colorado high plains(helmet free, no restrictions). As we approached the city of Colorado Springs I was surprised by an increase of FREE riders(80% + did not). Motorcycles were everywhere in the Springs, more than I ever remembered when I lived there in the 80's and early 90's.

Being pretty green on my Rocket and self preservation looming large as i ride, I admire the self confidence needed to ride in a city with a bandanna for head gear.
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I'll be riding up that way here in a few weeks on the way to Sturgis, staying a day in Colorado Springs where my wife and kids are visiting family at the same time. I've done the Sturgis trip (except Nebraska) helmetless before, but will be wearing my helmet on this trip for sure, and probably my Joe Rocket mesh jacket as well to help keep the sun burn at bay...

I have ridden many miles helmetless, but I guess I'm a bit wiser (older?) now and ride with my helmet most everywhere. Honestly, I wear my helmet now days to keep the wind out of my ears as much as for protection. I still take a short jaunt to town every now and
then without though.
I wear a full face helmet, mostly to keep the wind out of my eyes. If you do this you don't need a barn door windshield to cut the wind. Those huge windshields cause an obscene amout of turbulance, its just my personal taste but I can do without that.

I am so used to my helmet I wear it every time I jump on the bike... I don't like riding without it... even just down the street to test out a new mod or whatever. In cold weather that helmet is a lifesaver.

Missouri has a helmet law but I see all sorts of people riding without one... mostly out in the countryside. I often wonder if these people fantasize that the are some sort of biker renegade making a statement to "the man" (Just another plan, perpetrated by the man, to keep a brotha down). It probably has more to do with some sort of little whoose fine involved if you get caught. They probably are willing to pay a $25 ticket just so they have something to laugh about at the bar. I don't even know if you loose any points off of your license... Maybe the PigMan could help us out here:D

Shoot... I say do whatever works for you and is legal. I do something really stupid sometimes... I'll put a helmet on but ride in shorts. Not so much anymore with the Rocket and that header on the right side:eek:
In Missouri a riding without a helmet ticket is similar to riding in a car with no seatbelt, it's a non moving violation. I have seen motorcycle wrecks where a helmet wouldn't have made a difference and I have seen ones that wearing one definitely saved a life. Same for seat belts. It's really irritating for me to see someone die (especially a teenager) simply because they didn't fasten a seatbelt. Sure there are people's individual right to decide and the government shouldn't impose certain things but there is nothing worse than knocking on a parent's door and telling them their kid was killed in an accident and that they were not wearing their seatbelt. I don't want to preach or put a damper on the thread but when you make choices like that you have to realize there are real potential fatal consequences that could be prevented otherwise.

If I am riding in a state that does not require a helmet I still wear one, a full face, especially now that I can pump music into my helmet.:cool: I am claustrophobic and can only take a full face helmet for a little while however I got a flip up kind this year and it seems to be a good compromise since I can raise the front when it starts bugging me.
Which Way ?

First of all I'm a big advocate of obeying the law. In Kansas, though you don't have to wear a helmet, I find myself wearing one a majority of the time. I live within several blocks of our downtown area and will ride with my few remaining white hairs blowing in the wind as I traverse the neighborhood. No fast starts, no turning fast corners and lots of defensive driving. This also seems to work late at night when most people are off the roads and there's more room and time to avoid potential encounters with fellow motorists.

In the Kansas City metropolitan area we all live near the state line. As I cross into Missouri, I've already got my helmet on and keep it on the entire time. One thing for sure. No matter what the helmet law is for the state in which I'm riding, if I have a passenger, they will always wear a helmet or not ride with me. Not so much a double standard as much as I'm responsible for their safety and well being and they have so little control over my driving and awareness level. What I choose to do with my own self is material for another discussion.

I'm aware you can do serious harm to yourself at 10 to 15 mph. I also understand that the graduated curve of probability for serious physical damage and or reaching the status of vegtable grows ever so quickly as your speed increases and the protection to your head remains non existent. Whatever you decide, please ride as safely as you can and be aware of others around you.

P.S. I've heard of riders, in mandatory helmet wearing states, that buy a small topper and strap it to their leg. Their belief is that the law says, " You must wear a helmet" but doesn't specify where it is to be worn. Don't know if that would hold up in court...... but an example of some riders philosophy.
PianoMan said:
P.S. I've heard of riders, in mandatory helmet wearing states, that buy a small topper and strap it to their leg. Their belief is that the law says, " You must wear a helmet" but doesn't specify where it is to be worn. Don't know if that would hold up in court...... but an example of some riders philosophy.

Have mixed emotions about such an attitude. While I can relate to the smart *** humor, I believe that flaws in laws usually get corrected, generally in an increasingly explicit, restrictive and repressive fashion, much to the indignation of those who took advantage of them in the first place.

In any case: Don't ever make a fool of a cop, let alone a judge, if you are a biker:cool:

As a renewed rider tentatively acquiring skills and confidence I wear my gear allways.My state is optional after 21.Me and Mr.Road Rash are not strangers and I have no intention of seeing him again.Gentlemen,Pig9r sees regularly how deadly our travels can be if we are not totally aware 100% of the time you pay the price,very simple.I fought for and rode for choice,freedom.Like Pianoman,my passenger wears belt or lid or walks.Jamie is right on that we have seatbelt laws,I by choice ignore as I feel strongly that it's my GD business.:mad: It boils down to awarness of consequence,ya got it or ya learn real fast cookie or ya don't:cool: Ain't nuthin but a thing man,Ride On