Why some people refuse to wear a motorcycle helmet? When confronted, the response from a motorcyclist typically includes excuses such as restricted vision, unbearable heat, breathing trouble, no need during short-distance travel, low-speed riding, and many others. Are any of these worth the risk of injuring oneself?
Recently, when in whole Thailand the authorities decided to enforce the helmet rule, there were the usual noises of dissent, with one particularly innovative excuse: “I only ride without a helmet in the neighborhood where I live, with an average speed of only 18km/h, so helmets are not needed”. They need to realize that our heads are not made for bouncing off the concrete at any speed, be it 5km/h or 50km/h! And from my personal experience I can safely assert that my average speed in this area has been not lower than 25km/h and I an a slow rider! Besides, the fact is that the danger comes not only from one's own riding habits/style, but equally – if not more – from the riding/driving of other road-users.
Ingraining motorcycle helmet use amongst Thai bikers requires a simple legal overhaul and more complex educational initiative to inform riders about the necessity of helmets and the disadvantages of not wearing them. Yes, it costs some money and, yes, it dulls the 'wind-in-you-hair' feeling when riding a motorcycle, but it is a small price to pay for returning home safe and sound!