Shame on the Iowa Senate

Jason Clayworth/The Register

A bill,  a simple bill: Senate File 2085 was defeated by the Iowa senate this month. The bill would have required anyone under the age of 18 to wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle. When friends of Caroline Van Voorhis, a 17-year-old student at Iowa City West High School who died in a moped accident, appeared in support of the bill they were asked by Mark Maxwell, a lobbyist for ABATE why she wasn’t wearing a helmet. Clearly Mr. Maxwell thinks a helmet may have saved her but he and his group are opposed to the idea of them being required EVEN FOR MINORS. While motorcycle rights organizations have done a lot of good for motorcyclists I’m afraid they are off the mark on this one.

Democrats Tom Rielly and Tom Hancock as well as Republican Brad Zaun each refused to support the bill.  Senator Zaun (whose brother also died in a motorcycle accident) went so far as to proclaim that: we’re going to have to bubble wrap everyone just to protect them from everything. Said Mr. Zaun: “I think there’s got to be some common sense here.” Common sense indeed Mr. Zaun. Wouldn’t common sense dictate that we protect minors from making immature decisions that could lead to their untimely death? Common sense?

Mr. Zaun and the other senators who opposed the bill should just have courage to admit the truth, which is that they lacked the moral fiber to vote for a bill to protect minors in the face of being called “anti personal freedom”. We’re talking about minors for crying out loud, minors. The harm is what exactly? Frankly I’d prefer the state make it known to minors that it believes they should wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle (as I did when raising my daughter). Is that not a good message to send?

Mr. Zaun and the Iowa senators who opposed this bill are cowards and should be ashamed of themselves for bowing to pressure from groups who rally and protest against even laws as simple as this one aimed at protecting youth.

Iowa had a helmet law briefly in the mid 70’s but it was repealed under pressure from protestors. Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire are the only states without helmet laws. Oh, by the way, fatality rates were 40% lower when Iowa had a helmet law than the year before it was adopted.

Ride safe, wear a helmet and for crying out loud, let your kids see you wear it.


  1. common sense

    If they are minors, they are stil under their parents' control. Stop trying to get the state to do the parenting for you. Want your kid to wear a helmet? Make him, or take his bike away. You have that power while they live under your roof. Moreover, if the kid is so swayed by public opinion that he disregards his own safety in lieu of looking cool, perhaps motorcycles aren't really for him to begin with. We don't need any more squids on the road making the rest of us look bad any more than we need more legislation and government hand-holding. Enjoy flaming the crap out of me now, but give the issue some thought when your blood stops boiling.

    1. BudCADNo Gravatar (Post author)

      Try acting like a man and using a real name if you want to have an adult discussion. My name is on my opinion. Grow some balls; otherwise move along.

  2. DougNo Gravatar

    Riding a motorcycle raises the risk of injury. It's only common sense to then raise the level of protection. A helmet law is simply common sense. Unfortunately common sense is not common, and seems to be absent from the minds of many legislators (in many countries).

  3. Bud MillerNo Gravatar (Post author)

    Well at least it's 21 and 2 years, same as here in Pa. That at least gives new riders protection. It's interesting that my club has 100 members now and not one has ever shown up to ride without a lid. It's not even a rule, they just all wear helmets. I find it interesting in a state with no helmet law.

  4. molsonNo Gravatar

    And the battle continues elsewhere.

  5. Bud MillerNo Gravatar (Post author)

    Yes, that's why I used the word "coward". The senator belittling the issue is particularly infuriating. ABATE sends a lobbyist to get the helmet law stopped and he asks a group of teens who've lost a friend why she wasn't wearing one. Sadly the knee-jerk opposition to any helmet law is a strange one. Another, er, "win" for lobbyists I suppose.

  6. EdNo Gravatar

    Few politicians have the guts to stand up to ABATE, as their members vote against anyone who opposes the ABATE agenda. Helmets are a classic "wedge issue." Folks that oppose helmet laws are very well organized and they vote.

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