I just got back from a week and a half in Hawaii. A trip to paradise always is good for one’s soul and suntan. Eleven days with no motorcycle but I never did get any withdrawal symptoms. I suppose snorkeling, body surfing, and a few Mai Tai’s help.
There are quite a few bikes on the streets and highways of both Kauai and Oahu. Many seem to belong to the people who live there in addition to those characteristic of rental bikes and scooters. Judging by the number of young sailors on scooters there must not be any license restrictions.
The most interesting thing about motorcycling in the islands was the few helmets to be seen. My rough guess is that maybe 5% of all the riders wore a brain bucket. Here in California helmets are required by law and you just don’t see bare heads at all.
I have always been a somewhat safety-conscious guy. I wore a seat belt well before they were the law. I have always worn a helmet, and most likely would even if not required. But I must admit that I'd skip it occasionally. On those hot, sunny days when I am only making a quick trip to the store I could easily forgo safety for a few minutes.
I wonder how many helmets I would see in California if the law were different. Have there been any studies in other places? My guess would be that most of us would wear the helmet most of the time. If I take myself as an example and project me into a non-helmet-required California, I would imagine 95% of the time I would continue wearing the helmet and 5% I would be bare.
But that is pretty much the opposite ratio to what I saw in Hawaii. So, am I living in a dream world? Are Hawaiians living in a world where car and truck drivers always look for and respect motorcyclists?
I have never had to rely on my helmet to do its job in an accident and I hope I never will. But I did have some bird excrement hit my face shield last year and I was really glad that day I was wearing a helmet. I'd put mine on tomorrow morning even if they changed the law this evening.