Monday, August 21, 2006

Mandatory laws "for our own good"

I rarely trust the government when it decides to limit our liberties for "our own good." For this reason I can understand why some people want more freedom to invest their Social Security money as they see fit. But today's subject is the proposal for a law mandating the use of bicycle helmets in Austin.

Reader D'Amico posted thoughts on an old blog post of mine, and the Burnt Orange Report has a new post discussing this subject. I agree that we should not have a mandatory bicycle helmet law. For three years I had a commute that involved waiting at an intersection where people ran the red light from a turn lane nearly every single day. I have called the police a number of times to request better enforcement or delayed signal changes; there would some times be as many as three cars in a row coming across the intersection when my light was green. The problem was never addressed.

The only argument for requiring bicycle helmet use is for the safety of the bicyclist. Bicyclists can decide their own fate without impacting the lives of others (with a few exceptions, although a helmet is not a likely cause of injury). If our law enforcement is not paying attention to existing traffic laws that allow people to endanger themselves and others, there is no reason to support the bicycle helmet law.

1 comment:

Kat said...

I too wish police were encouraged to enforce more laws that will actually have a large, positive impact on public safety. I also wish they had the ability to use judgment and reason when determining how to deal with someone "breaking the law" ...but I guess if they could do that, they wouldn't be cops.