MRF Responds to Pro-Helmet Law Lobbying

The Winter 1998 issue of SAFE CYCLING, a publication of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), openly promotes mandatory helmet laws and endorses anti-motorcycling positions and studies. Many of the studies endorsed in the publication have been discredited by motorcyclists' rights activists. In a letter to MSF President Tim Buche, Motorcycle Riders Foundation President Mark Buckner voiced the MRF's displeasure regarding the publication of such inaccurate and misleading information. Remarking on the studies endorsed, Buckner stated, "Your inclusion of studies such as the roundly discredited Harborview paper, while excluding the North Carolina study funded by MIC - whose findings refute many of those in the studies quoted - leaves little doubt as to MSF's intent." Members of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) sponsor MSF activites.

Buckner went on to say that despite MSF's claim that it is not a political organization and does not endorse helmet laws, the SAFE CYCLING issue in question was little more than advocacy for legislation. Buckner asked, "Why have MSF and MIC made this change in policy? Why are MSF and MIC again actively lobbying for mandatory helmet laws - and endorsing the debunked 'social burden' theory - after staying out of the debate for so many years?"

The MRF feels that the motorcyclists' rights community in America has supported MSF over the years by promoting its training curriculum, and has been instrumental in the passage of rider education legislation in many states and in the implementation and continuation of training programs. Remarking on MSF's claim in this issue of SAFE CYCLING that motorcyclists refuse to take a reasonable approach concerning helmet laws, Buckner said, "We find MSF's inference that motorcyclists' rights activists lack objectivity concerning statistics that are used in an obvious and premeditated attempt to justify the effectiveness of mandatory helmet laws insulting."

Buckner closed by saying, "MSF and all of motorcycling would be better served if MSF chose to work with motorcyclists whose goals are to preserve and protect motorcycling in an open and honest dialog rather than relying on government bureaucrats at NHTSA for your direction. I remind you that motorcyclists and industry need to work together in the future on pressing issues such as insurance and global harmonization standards if we are to be successful."

MRF has called on MSF to thoroughly review the studies quoted in its publication and to publish the findings. MRF has also offered to assist in reviewing the material.


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