What will it take?
Tonight, (Monday, July 2) as a member of the Mount Pleasant Fire Department, I was paged to a one-vehicle motorcycle accident. Unknown to me, the injured was a friend and fellow firefighter. I quickly jumped into my vehicle and headed toward the scene. When I arrived I saw no skid marks, only a trail through the ditch toward a crumpled culvert and a bundled up motorcycle with my friend on the other side. He was wearing no helmet and no protective gear.
The recent deaths of two children in the prime of their youth by motorcycle accidents have been in the newspapers recently. I can't help but wonder, what will it take for kids of today to realize that wearing a helmet and safety gear may not be cool, but it may keep them out of a situation like tonight. Without protective gear, it could be them laying on the ground, covered in blood, with broken bones. It could be their family members franticly trying to figure out what has happened. They could be the ones in shock, not knowing what has happened or what is to happen; unable to communicate because the force of crashing to the ground has broken their jaw. It could be them on a long road of treatment. It could be their life that ends.
I am 24 and know that when you are young, you think you're invincible; you don't believe this type of thing can happen to you. I know I felt that way. I can't count how many times I have jumped on the back of a motorcycle, not wearing a helmet because it messed up my hair, or it didn't match my outfit! Looking back I can't believe how stupid I was. But as a teenager, a lot of times, you just don't think.
And parents, I know you can't watch your children all the time, but if you purchase a dangerous vehicle for your child, please make the protective equipment part of the deal: If they don't wear the gear, they don't ride the bike.
And lawmakers, why is it still legal not to wear a helmet? We are forced to wear our safety belts, why not helmets?
"We should have the right to choose whether or not to wear a helmet," some may say, but that helmet could very well save a life.
According to Arkansas law, riders are required to wear goggles or a transparent face shield whenever they drive a motorcycle and all passengers need to have foot and arm rests. Helmets are a recommended safety feature but in Arkansas you are only required to wear one if you're 18 years old or younger. I think the age of 18 needs to be changed to 21 or make it mandatory for everybody to wear a helmet. Teenagers are not mature enough to make this decision on their own.
I known that if my friend had been wearing a helmet, he probably wouldn't be on his way to Memphis with severe brain trauma, and his family wouldn't have had to watch the helicopter lift off the helipad at the hospital, wondering if he would survive the trip.
As of now, my friend should have arrived at the trauma center in Memphis with his family shortly behind. Prayers are being sent above and I know he is still alive, only by divine intervention.
We'd like to know your opinion. Send it to us at Opinion, PO Box 248, Salem, AR 72576 or e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, city and a phone number for verification.