2012-06-14 / Letters to the Editor

Motorcycle helmet law needed in state

As a former resident of – and frequent visitor to – Jamestown, I have followed with interest the controversy regarding enforcement of the seat-belt law. It seems to me that we may be missing an important point.

Actually, those of us who drive automobiles, surrounded as we are by a sturdy metal frame, and air bags aimed at us on all sides, should feel quite proud, indeed honored, to be identified – out of all the various citizens who travel the town’s streets and roadways – as the ones most worthy of the concern for our safety and wellbeing, as shown by the police and state authorities.

Consider, for instance, our many friends and visitors who foreswear the inherent safety of the automobile, choosing instead the heady, windy thrill of the motorcycle. The road is equally theirs – as it should be, with all its potential hazards – and yet the safety authorities seem to lack any real concern for their personal well-being, such as they clearly have for us.

It goes without saying that enforcing a seat-belt law in this case would present a problem: there being no seat belts to click. Still, of course, there are states that truly care about their motorcyclists, at least to the extent of requiring helmets, to protect against serious head injuries. Here, however, it is not uncommon to see a rider happily tooling along in a T-shirt, shorts and flip flops – often with a similarly attired companion clinging on behind – both apparently of little concern to the safety people, unlike the pampered auto driver.

Unfortunately, this indifference appears to extend, also, to the-well being of those who share the village streets on nonmotorized vehicles. If you haven’t yet experienced the thrill of having a youngster joyfully zip out of a side street and into the driving lane on skateboards, or encountered one on a determined run down the center of Narragansett Avenue, or come unexpectedly upon a bicyclist pumping along on a darkened North Road without any reflector, you simply haven’t had the full Jamestown experience. If regulations exist that would indicate a true concern for the safety and well-being of these other travelers, they don’t often seem to be in evidence.

And what of the consequences of an unfortunate encounter, or accident, with one of these other roadrunners, should one occur? Just make sure your insurance is sound, and take comfort in the knowledge that you are among the “chosen” people, about whose safety and well-being the authorities have shown a clear preference.

And, oh yeah – click it! Don’t forget that $85.

Joe Vecchione Newport

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