Watch Your Head


A motorcyclist returning from a rally sponsored by a group that opposes helmet laws died in a crash on Monday. It would have been a perfect advertisement for helmet laws, except that he was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. (ABATE, the sponsor of the rally, emphasizes that it is pro-choice, not anti-helmet.) As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points out, "Helmets cannot protect the rider from most types of injury." They do reduce the odds of getting injured or killed, but they are less effective than seat belts in that respect. In my column today, I noted that it's not clear a helmet would have prevented Ben Roethlisberger's facial injuries, as many of his critics seem to assume. Even more questionable was the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's invocation of the basketball player Jay Williams, who suffered a severe leg injury in a motorcycle crash, although it's true that, as the Post-Gazette points out in the lead, he was not wearing a helmet.

[Thanks to Daniel McKleinfeld for the tip.]