Risk is different for different people. When I learned to fly airplanes, some people thought I was nuts. When I learned to fly helicopters, some pilots thought I was nuts. I’ve ridden ‘motorcycles’ since I was five years old. (‘Motorcycles’ is in quotes because I rode mini-bikes between the ages of five and nine. Close enough to count, though.) Living in L.A. as I did, lane-splitting was an everyday practice. I’ve known people who thought I was taking too great a risk just riding a motorcyle, let alone lane-splitting on one. I SCUBA dive occasionally. I’ve met people who think I’m crazy because of all of the ‘dangerous creatures’ in the open ocean that might eat me. To me, flying, motorcycling, and swimmin in the ocean is fun. I consider them relatively safe activities. I understand there are risks involved, but I consider those risks to be acceptable becaus statistically I’m notall that likely to be injured. (Full disclosure: I’ve been in two collisions on a motorcycle when people ‘didn’t see me’, and have dropped a streetbike twice and dirt bikes numerous times.)
From time to time there are some people who call for then end of General Aviation, or a ban on flying over populated areas. These people seem to pop up whenever an airplane lands on top of a house. 'What if an airplane crashes into a crowded schoolyard? :eek: ’ Of course, that’s not likely to happen. Sure it ‘may save a single child’, but the benefits of GA far outweigh the risks.
Many states have mandatory helmet laws for motorcycles. It’s true that most fatal motorcycle crashes involve head injuries, and that such laws have reduced the number of fatalities. (No cite, just anecdotal evidence I’ve heard on the news and from people’s comments.) While I have ridden without a helmet (when it was legal), I understood the risks and the rides were just in the neighbourhood and not in traffic. Just up the block and back. If it were still legal, I’d probably still do it from time to time. But! for anything other than just up the block and back, I would still wear a helmet. Whether or not it was legal, I’ve always worn a helmet. (Except for the instances I’ve just mentioned.) I think it’s nuts that anyone would go out in traffic or travel at high speeds on a motorcycle without one. You don’t need to do anything wrong to have an incident. I was doing about 80 mph on the freeway once when my chain blew. I stayed upright, but it was a scary few seconds. I didn’t ‘need’ my helmet since I didn’t crash – but I could have.
I’m rather cynical when it comes to the ‘If it saves but one child’ argument. While I agree that Ford screwed up with the Pinto, and that helmet laws are a good idea (even if I chafe at people telling me I have to wear one, when I’m intelligent enough to wear one anyway), I suspect that many or most of the people using that argument are ‘pushing their own agendas’.