All states have instilled laws and regulations in an effort to protect its citizens and California is no different. An argument could be made in support of such laws; I mean, if the laws were written to protect people, wouldn’t more laws equate to a more concerned government? Perhaps state politicians would like you to believe that, while on the other side of this argument one could surmise that the more regulated public safety becomes, the more potential revenue can be generated as a result of those who choose to ignore these laws.
Failing to wear a seatbelt, texting while driving, driving under the influence and many more violations will result in fines and in cases such as DUI will even include a ride to jail. All of these violations result in generating revenue for insurance companies, state and local governments and privately operated businesses anointed by the state to “educate” offenders.
One such law applies to motorcycle riders alone; the helmet law. There are varying degrees of conformity across the U.S. but in California, a motorcycle rider and any passenger must wear a helmet when riding on public roadways. Little do most riders know, not only must riders wear a helmet, they must wear a specific helmet. Many riders such as myself wear a minimally protective helmet simply to honor the California state law, however simply wearing a helmet is not necessarily abiding this law.
In the summer of 2013 while riding through Hollywood, I was pulled over by the L.A.P.D. I pulled over on a side street and the two officers approached. After they had inspected my helmet I was told I was not wearing a DOT (Department of Transportation) approved one. As I attempted to convince them that I was indeed wearing a helmet as the law requires, they countered with their personal concerns regarding the level of protection my helmet may provide. In fact, they were so concerned about my safety that they issued me a ticket for wearing a non-DOT approved helmet which resulted in a $198.00 dollar fine. I felt so loved by the State of California that I gladly paid the fine and continued to ride until present day with the same helmet. A few riders with similar stories have replaced their helmets with DOT approved ones, or circumvented the law by simply placing DOT stickers on the illegal equipment. Simply wearing a helmet in California will not protect you against this violation, it must be DOT approved and perhaps in the future, also a specific color or style.
It is my view that my own protection and level of protection should be determined by me, not by the state; unless of course my actions could harm others. In the case of the helmet law, if I choose to limit my head protection at my own risk, it should be my choice and not the loving hands of the State of California. Unless my unprotected head can harm, maim or kill another in an accident; the State of California should leave me and my helmet alone.