WHAT DO WE DO????

 

The first line of attack is newspapers and word-of-mouth in order to increase awareness. 

 

The Delaware News Journal is most widely distributed.  To send a letter to the editor, compose your thoughts (less than 100 words) and send to:

 

letters@delawareonline.com

 

Subject Line:  Senate Bill 46 – Mandatory Helmet Law

 

Be sure to include your full name, address, and telephone number.  The News Journal will either call you to verify or send you a return e-mail instructing you to contact them.  They do this just to make sure you are a real person and not a spammer.

 

Be respectful and succinct.  Do not bloviate or use inflammatory language… you will not be published.  To most bikers, this issue is a matter of personal freedom.  You may have another slant. Use your own words, and speak from your heart.  The simpler the better; complexity adds confusion.  If published, expect your letter to be edited for punctuation and grammar.

 

The more people that write a Letter to the Editor, the better. Don’t let your feelings get hurt if they don’t publish your letter .. they pick and choose. 

 

If you are out riding and encounter another rider and start talking as we always do, be sure to let them know about this pending legislation.  You never know when someone may know someone, who knows someone else, etc.  Word of mouth can be a powerful force.  Not everyone has internet access; if you have friends that aren’t online, give them a call.

 

If you are not sure what to do or how you can help, either email delfreedomriders@aol.com or call 302-475-0772 and ask for Chainsaw. 

 

Delaware Freedom Riders

3/15/2007

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

STEP 2:

Here are the addresses:

 
margaret.henry@state.de.us
thurman.adams@state.de.us
catherine.cloutier@state.de.us
charles.copeland@state.de.us
David.McBride@state.de.us
David.Sokola@state.de.us
 
Here is what we sent; pick and choose to what you want to address:
 
________________________________________________________
 
 
To the members of the Senate Public Safety Committee:

Please consider the following in consideration of Senate Bill 46, "An Act to Amend Title 21 of the Delaware Code Relating to Motorcycle Safety Helmets".

Our position is as follows:

S.B. 46 is vague and unconstitutional
Senate Bill 46 states that the helmet will be "approved by the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security through the Office of Highway Safety."

Since the definition of an approved helmet in the state of Delaware does not exist, one could reasonably assume that OHS would define an "approved helmet" as one which meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) known as FMVSS 218 ( 49CFR571.218) which is used in most states, including California.

On August 16, 2006, in People of the State of California v. Richard J. Quigley, the Superior Court of California ruled that the California law as applied was unconstitutional. An excerpt from the ruling states:

"Moreover, once it was established to the satisfaction of this court that no list of compliant helmets, or any other objective criteria exists that would give a person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is required or prohibited by the helmet law statutes, this court had no choice but to otherwise dismiss all the…citations (including the citation for wearing no headgear at all) on the grounds that the enforcement policies and procedures…have rendered the mandatory helmet law use statutes void for vagueness, and otherwise unworkable…"

The State of Nevada, Office of Attorney General, in a ruling issued November 5, 2002 states the following:

"To determine with certainty whether a helmet complies with federal and state safety standards, one must contact the manufacturer of the helmet listed on the sticker inside the helmet and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration ."

The government cannot make an objective standard for helmets without taking on liability. Since the government cannot take on any liability, they can never make an objective standard for helmets.

Without an objective standard it all becomes ad hoc and arbitrary. Ad hoc and arbitrary is the foundation of vague law.

Vague law is unconstitutional.

S.B. 46 Violates 14th Amendment Rights

The fourteenth (14th) amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that "no state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) reports that instances of transportation-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) fall into the following categories:

Occupants of enclosed motor vehicles - 62%
Pedestrian - 13%
Other - 12%
Bicycle - 7%
Motorcycle - 6%

If one considers the number of people who suffer TBI as a result of operating a motor vehicle or as a pedestrian, it is obvious that by not requiring them to wear a helmet, their right to equal protection under the law is being violated.

Helmets for all, or helmets for none. Anything else is unconstitutional


Statistics and Studies

We all know the nature of statistics, and how they can be used to inflame the uninformed.

We do not know what studies you are reviewing in consideration of S.B. 46, but let us offer the following excerpts from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety in their response to Docket No. FHWA-05-22706. The date of response is 3/9/2006:

"we believe the current and historical license registration data are not reliable measures of driver and vehicle exposure. The use of these data may lead to erroneous conclusions about the success or failure of highway safety initiatives ."

"Until recently, we used FHWA data on motorcycle registrations as a measure of exposure for tracking changes in motorcycle crashes. We were made aware of large discrepancies .. Therefore, we have suspended use of these data until we can be assured of their accuracy ."

Who better than the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety to tell us that figures don't lie, but liars figure.

Any study is suspect. Read and understand them, or do not let S.B. 46 proceed.

Then again, statistics and studies can be used to the advantage of anyone in favor or opposed to Senate Bill 46. The Department of Transportation issued "Traffic Safety Facts 2005". It concluded that "more than 94 percent of the 11.1 million vehicles involved in motor vehicle crashes in 2005 were passenger cars or light trucks."

The involvement of motorcycles was 1 percent.

Band-Aid to a Broken Leg

The immediate response of a government is to apply a band-aid to a broken leg.

Much has been made of the incidents off right-of-way violations, aggressive driving, and reckless driving in the state of Delaware. To date, we have applied mere band-aids to the crisis.

We recently had a very good friend injured in a motorcycle accident. He was in the hospital for over a month. The offending vehicle, which pulled out in front of him, was cited for "Right of Way Violation", "failure to yield". This violation is defined in Title 21, Chapter 41, Subchapter IV.

There are no penalties for this violation in the Delaware State Code. Fortunately, our friend has sufficient insurance to maintain himself and his family during his recovery.

We would submit that the greater task of the General Assembly is not to infringe upon a lifestyle, but rather to more vehemently to penalize those who jeopardize it. The careless, negligent, and aggressive drivers of Delaware must know that their behavior is not acceptable.

Instead of applying a band-aid to the issue in the form of a mandatory helmet law, it would distinguish the General Assembly to address the root cause of motor vehicle accidents by applying more stringent and enforceable penalties under the existing code.

We need the current Code to be fortified and enforced.
____________________________________________

In the name freedom, and in the name of personal responsibility, we ask that the members of the Public Safety Committee apply due diligence to the constitution

The preamble to the Delaware State Constitution says,

"Through Divine goodness, all people have by nature the rights of worshiping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences, of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring and protecting reputation and property, and in general of obtaining objects suitable to their condition, without injury by one to another; and as these rights are essential to their welfare, for due exercise thereof, power is inherent in them; and therefore established with their consent , to advance all just authority in the institutions of political society is derived from the people, and their happiness; and they may for this end, as circumstances require, from time to time, alter their Constitution of government.



Respectfully,


Shirley Vandever and Jimmy Epps
16-B Rector Court
Wilmington, DE 19810
Phone: 302-475-0772
FAX: 302-475-1473
Email: delfreedomriders@aol.com
Co-Founders, Delaware Freedom Riders http://www.delfreedomriders.com
Members, ABATE of Delaware, http://www.nccabate.com