Mack's Rebuttal Letter to the ECM Publishers


Key is crash prevention


Regarding your November 14th editorial "Time for mandatory helmet laws for motorcyclists," it is clear that the ECM Editorial Board (publisher of the Elk River Star News and many other local newspapers) has fallen into the same trap as most of the non-riding public: that mandatory helmet use will ensure a motorcyclist's safety. You should also do more research before using the seat belt to helmet comparison. Seat belts are one part of an automobile passenger safety system along with air bags, collapsible steering columns, crush zones, etc.  Your “rising insurance rate” theory has been refuted so many times I am surprised that it was mentioned in the editorial.

While my heart grieves for everyone lost too soon on our roads and highways, nothing will be solved by passing this “one-size-fits-all" mandate. What is needed is a comprehensive study into the initial cause of crashes. These are not "accidents," and whether or not someone is wearing a piece of equipment has no bearing on why or how the crash took place.

Rider training and motorist awareness programs are of great benefit. For over 25 years, ABATE (American Bikers for Awareness, Training and Education) of Minnesota volunteers have offered the "Sharing the Road" program to teenagers during their drivers' education class. Tens of thousands of students have received awareness training that lasts a lifetime.

ABATE also strongly promotes the motorcycle safety training program statewide. Lessons learned in these classes benefit the student for years and years. These are proven programs that work and do not require heavy-handed legislation.

Even with motorcycle registrations at an all-time high, the rate of fatalities per motorcycle registrations has decreased dramatically. While the ECM Editorial Board and others continue to focus on safer crashing, ABATE of MN will do all we can to promote safer driving and riding.

The best crash is the one that never happens.

Mark Backlund

State Coordinator, ABATE of Minnesota

Elk River, MN