Stop forcing people to wear bike helmets

Bicyclists Riding Without Helmets

Stop forcing people to wear bike helmets.

For most bikers, this advice is anathema. The importance of wearing a helmet has been drilled into everyone since childhood. And, it’s true that, as study after study has shown, you’re better off with a helmet if you’re in an accident.

But in the world’s most popular biking cities, particularly in Europe, very few bikers wear helmets. And there are good reasons for that: biking, it turns out, isn’t an especially dangerous form of transportation in terms of head trauma.

I don’t think even motorcycle helmets should be mandatory. But if you are so colossally stupid that you choose not to protect your brain, you should have to sign a waiver that allows us to harvest your organs if you get into an accident – whether you’re still using them or not.

Good advice for riders, bad advice for riders

The latest issue of Wired magazine offers some good (if odd) advice for beginning motorcycle riders. Things like “How do I learn to ride?” and giving buying advice. It’s not detailed but every little bit helps.

But then they ruin it with their “Commuter Motorcycles” recommendations.

The Honda NC700X is an excellent choice in my opinion but I would *never* suggest a bike from Moto Guzzi. Don’t get me wrong – I love the idea of a Moto Guzzi (I almost bought one instead of my Yamaha FJR1300) but they don’t have much of a dealer network. Same issue with the Cleveland CycleWerks (a manufacturer I’ve never even heard of).

I’m not saying they are bad bikes – but for a new user, you want as few problems as possible. There are all kinds of bikes that are similar in spec to their recommendations – Suzukis, Yamahas, Kawasakis – that would serve a new rider much better than an “exotic”.

The Transfgran – 56 miles of twisties

The Transfăgărășan, pronounced transfa-gara-shan, is the second highest paved road in Romania. Also called the DN7C, the road is 90 km (55.9 mi) of elevation changes, twists and turns running North-South through the Carpathian Mountains –aka the Făgăraș Mountains. The road connects the historic regions of Transylvania and Wallachia. This motorcycle route from Sibiu to Piteşti is 200 km (124.3 mi) of riding in 5 hours.

Car and motorcycle buffs have this road on the bucket lists.

Hey Motorcyclists – Why Do We (You) Ride?

Why do I ride? I can reel off all of the politically correct and oft-parroted phrases—loving the feeling of freedom, the open road, getting away from it all, the thrills—as well as anyone. There’s nothing wrong with those phrases. They are all acceptable answers, but none of them truly covers it completely.

To me, riding encompasses not only the certainties and the doubts of riding motorcycles specifically, but also of life in general. Each time I get that edgy urge to push it and tempt fate seems to be some sort of personal test—am I who I think I am? Suddenly, I’m getting in my own face and it’s the only face around. You’ve got to confront the truth of yourself because, really, you are pretty naked once you let the clutch out and go.

Then, there’s the aspect of a definite separation from regular life, like getting the ultimate hall pass. “Taking yourself for a ride” can be a real spiritual treat.

I’ve only been a rider for seven years (and not at all for the past two and a half) but for me, it’s a combination of the freedom, the spirituality, the power and the danger of riding that literally soothes my soul.

The Greatest Show on Earth

I love motorcycles. I love riding motorcycles. I love the people who ride motorcycles. But if you ride a motorcycle, you are doing one of the most dangerous things you can do – you take your life in your hands every time you swing a leg over. So to do it, you kinda have to be a little not right in the head.

But there’s a group of riders who can only be described as “bat shit crazy”. Professional MotoGP racers? Nope – the guys who do the Isle of Man TT race each year.


The Isle of Man TT is an extremely dangerous motorcycle race that goes through narrow streets, past residential areas, and around mountains on a 38-mile circuit.

Last year, three riders were killed during the event, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that the nutjobs who actually go up to 206 miles per hour on the track are some of the most badass men on the planet. Check out highlights from this year’s race, called the “Greatest Show on Earth.”

For my Riding Friends: "Riding Motorcycles in Extreme Heat"

Mark Lawrence:

I spent a lot of time riding in REALLY hot weather a couple of weeks ago. This week I learned that additional preparation is required for running at temperatures above 110°F for several hours.

You do NOT want to maximize the wind against your skin when the temperature gets extreme. Mesh suits, or wearing just a lightweight shirt, are NOT the right approach. You will actually stay cooler with a conventional suit with the vents adjusted so there is a more moderate air flow across your skin.

You should never ride without ATGATT anyway but in extreme heat, it’s even worse to be out riding in a t-shirt and shorts.
For my Riding Friends: “Riding Motorcycles in Extreme Heat”