Anti-helmet law demonstrators in recent rally at state capitol in Albany, N.Y. (Skip Dickstein / Albany Times Union)
This always a heated debate…I think it’s simple….DO you, yourself think you are IMPORTANT and should take every precaution to minimize RISKS? Who cares about laws and politics…WHY would anyone NOT want to protect their own BODY as best as they can?????? AM I missing something??????
IMPORTANT ARTICLE AND AS USUAL CONTRAVERSIAL! BUT WHY?????? WHY WOULD ANYONE NOT WEAR A HELMET? FOR THOSE OUT THERE WHO DO NOT WEAR PROPER GEAR DO YOU DRIVE YOUR CAR WITHOUT WEARING A SEAT BELT?
WASHINGTON – In a highly touted safety achievement, deaths on the nation’s roads and highways have fallen sharply in recent years, to the lowest total in more than a half-century. But motorcyclists have missed out on that dramatic improvement, and the news for them has been increasingly grim.
So it might be no surprise that biker groups are upset with Washington. The twist is what they are asking lawmakers and regulators to do: Back away from promoting or enforcing requirements for safe helmets, the most effective way known to save bikers’ lives.
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Fatalities from motorcycle crashes have more than doubled since the mid-1990s. The latest figures show these accidents taking about 4,500 lives a year, or one in seven U.S. traffic deaths.
Yet if the biker groups’ lobbyists and congressional allies have their way, the nation’s chief traffic cop — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA — will be thwarted in its efforts to reduce the body count. The agency would be blocked from providing any more grants to states to conduct highway stops of motorcyclists to check for safety violations such as wearing helmets that don’t meet federal standards.
Beyond that, the rider groups are seeking to preserve what essentially is a gag rule that since 1998 has prevented NHTSA from advocating safety measures at the state and local levels, including promoting life-saving helmet laws. And the bikers’ lobbyists, backed by grassroots activists and an organization whose members include a “Who’s Who” of motorcycle manufacturers, already have derailed a measure lawmakers envisioned to reinstate financial penalties for states lacking helmet laws.
Those moves partly are intended to maintain the bikers’ clout in state legislatures, which have kept rolling back motorcycle helmet regulations for three decades. With Michigan’s repeal in April of its nearly 50-year-old helmet requirement covering all riders, only 19 states have such helmet laws, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In the late 1970s, by contrast, 47 states had requirements covering all riders.
“This is…an interesting and dangerous road they are going down,” said Jackie Gillan, president of the Washington-based nonprofit Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. “They are so emboldened now, not only do they try to repeal laws and stop them from being enacted, they try to stop the hands of law enforcement, saying you cannot use grant money to have motorcycle checkpoints. Can you imagine if they said the same thing about sobriety checkpoints?”
Biker groups, contending that helmet laws curtail personal freedom, say the federal government instead should emphasize rider training to prevent crashes from happening in the first place. They urge NHTSA, which has spent upwards of $30 million on training through an industry-endorsed grant program that Congress established in 2005, to step up that effort.
But it is far from clear that training does anything to reduce crashes or deaths. A 2007 Indiana study, for instance, found that riders who completed a basic training course were 44 percent more likely to be involved in an accident than untrained riders. Researchers speculated that the courses gave riders unwarranted confidence, and that they ended up taking more risks.
Emily Chow for FairWarning
Mandatory helmet laws are widely considered the closest thing to a silver bullet that regulators have to thwart deadly accidents. NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,483 lives in 2009, and that another 732 deaths could have been avoided if all riders had worn them. The social costs of the carnage are also huge: a 2008 agency estimate concluded that $1.3 billion in medical bills and lost productivity would have been saved if all bikers had worn helmets.
The paradox between what biker groups are lobbying for versus what most safety experts say really works riles regulators and other public health advocates.
“You cannot be in this battle and not be frustrated by this senselessness,” said Michael Dabbs, president of the Brain Injury Association of Michigan.
He added that the personal freedom that riders seek would have socially unacceptable consequences if carried to its logical extreme. “Maybe we ought to save some of the costs when police or emergency responders go to the scene of a crash and the person is not wearing a helmet,” Dabbs said. “Perhaps they ought to be left there like roadkill.”
The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent investigative and advisory agency, includes motorcycle helmets among its “most wanted” transportation safety improvements and has urged states to make them mandatory. Likewise, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland has said of helmets: “No other single countermeasure offers a comparable body of supporting scientific evidence confirming its potential for saving lives of motorcyclists.”
That motorcyclists have evaded the kind of regulation that has made seat belts and car seats standard equipment in other motor vehicles shows the influence of a vocal minority of riders whose libertarian message seems to resonate more than ever with lawmakers inside and outside the Beltway. And their efforts receive support from the leading motorcycle manufacturers. Manufacturers generally endorse the use of helmets but, loath to offend their customers, they also are an important dues-paying membership bloc in the American Motorcyclist Association, an ardent opponent of helmet laws.
For example, Harley-Davidson Inc. said through a spokeswoman that it “supports and encourages safety for all motorcycle riders, but believes in the personal freedom of people making the choices that are right for them regarding helmet use.”
The rider lobby’s powerful friends include U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., whose state is home to Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson. He has led efforts in the House to block NHTSA from promoting state and local safety measures and using federal funds for motorcycle checkpoints.
“Maybe we ought to save some of the costs when police or emergency responders go to the scene of a crash and the person is not wearing a helmet. Perhaps they ought to be left there like roadkill.”
- – Michael Dabbs, president of the Brain Injury Association of Michigan, attacking the logic of helmet law critics
The repeal of Michigan’s long-standing helmet law had been opposed by a coalition of more than two dozen medical and public health groups led by the Brain Injury Association of Michigan. Public opinion, too, weighed against the move — a poll indicated that 80 percent wanted to keep the helmet law. State safety officials predicted the repeal would lead to at least 30 more deaths a year.
Motorcycle activists, led by the local chapter of a group calling itself American Bikers Aiming Toward Education, or ABATE, framed the issue as a matter of personal liberty. They also argued that the repeal would draw more riders to the state and increase tourism.
In Michigan, riders 20 and younger still must wear helmets, and the new law requires motorcyclists to have at least $20,000 in medical insurance. But those who advocated keeping the helmet requirement for all riders said the $20,000 in insurance would not come close to covering the cost of a catastrophic injury.
Nationally, the evidence that helmets prevent head injuries and deaths has long been compelling. Two decades ago, a Government Accountability Office analysis identified 46 academic studies that showed helmets saving lives and reducing the social burden of caring for injured riders.
Even the American Motorcyclist Association readily acknowledges that helmets that meet Transportation Department standards can prevent serious injury or even death in the event of a crash, and encourages their use, although the group still says riders should have the option of not wearing one.
Recent studies also have rebutted a long-standing assertion by rider groups that helmets can increase the chances of cervical spine injuries because of the greater torque they place on the neck. Johns Hopkins University researchers, in a study published last year that reviewed 40,000 motorcycle collisions, found the opposite to be true: the helmeted riders were 22 percent less likely to suffer cervical spine injury than those without helmets.
“We are debunking a popular myth,” said Adil H. Haider, the leader of the study and an assistant professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins.
Motorcycle groups have also become better organized and funded, roaring to life with Washington lobbyists and thousands of grassroots volunteers to fight helmet requirements on the federal and state levels.
The American Motorcyclist Association – whose corporate members include Harley-Davidson and North American divisions of Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda and Suzuki – has spent $3.8 million lobbying Congress on helmet laws and other issues over the last decade, while doling out more than $200,000 in campaign contributions to members, according to OpenSecrets.org, a database run by the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation spent $2.1 million in lobbying during the same period.
Emily Chow for FairWarning
That is the force that Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., a long-time supporter of mandatory helmet laws, ran into last December. He was poised to introduce a proposal to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee that would have forced states to pass helmet laws or else lose millions in federal highway funds. It would have reinstated a similar requirement that, after a lobbying campaign by motorcyclist groups, was repealed in 1995.
In a preemptive strike, the rider groups alerted their members and encouraged them to connect with their lawmakers on the issue. They had defeated a similar helmet proposal two-to-one in 2005. Lautenberg ditched his pro-helmet idea without even offering it up for formal consideration. A Lautenberg spokesman said that the senator “remains committed to strengthening helmet laws and is pursuing several strategies to increase helmet use across the country.”
Death Toll Climbing
As more riders have gotten on the road and the number of states with mandatory helmet laws has declined, biker deaths have soared.
The death toll climbed from 2,116 in 1997 to 4,502 in 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available. Motorcycle-related fatalities accounted for 14 percent of the 32,885 deaths overall from motor vehicle crashes in 2010, which officially is the lowest total since 1949.
The victims last year included 17- year-old Caroline Found of Iowa City, Iowa, who died after she lost control of her moped and struck a tree. They also included Philip Contos, 55, who was killed while participating in a rally to protest New York’s mandatory helmet law. Police say Contos, who resided near Syracuse, N.Y., would have survived had he been obeying the law.
The irony of Contos’s death attracted widespread media attention, although friends say he would have been repulsed by the idea that he had become a poster boy for helmet laws.
Four teenage friends of Found, motivated by her death, launched a campaign to persuade the Iowa legislature to enact a helmet law. (Along with Illinois and New Hampshire, Iowa allows riders of all ages to go helmet-less.) Their bid fell short. “It is getting to the point where we’re going to have to bubble wrap everyone just to protect them from everything,” a state legislator told the young activists, explaining his opposition to a ban. “I think there’s got to be some common sense here.”
Helmet advocates say it is the public that ends up getting ripped off when it has to pick up the tab for health costs associated with catastrophic accidents.
“If you don’t wear a helmet, and you sustain a moderate to severe injury that doesn’t kill you, you are going to be a drain on society for the rest of your life,” said Thomas J. Esposito, chief of the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Burns at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago.
NHTSA once tried to take a lead role in providing information to states considering helmet laws. It set aside $330,000 in 1995 and 1996 for the cause, including a $149,000 contract for a video and white paper for state legislators.
The video – titled “Without Motorcycle Helmets, We All Pay the Price” – featured testimonials from helmet-wearing crash survivors and a trauma-room physician who compared helmets to “a vaccine” because of the compelling evidence they reduced brain injuries.
Controversy revved up when the Motorcycle Riders Foundation obtained an early copy of the pro-helmet video and began distributing it to friends in Congress. Rider groups portrayed the situation as an example of NHTSA using federal tax money to lobby against the interests of taxpaying bikers.
Helmet law protest. (Skip Dickstein / Albany Times Union)
They found a champion in Sensenbrenner, and in 1998 Congress enacted a sweeping measure that barred NHTSA from attempting to influence state and local legislators on any pending legislation. NHTSA representatives could appear as witnesses, but only in response to an official invitation.
With NHTSA more recently signaling stepped-up interest in promoting helmet use, Sensenbrenner has emerged as a lead opponent again, sponsoring a resolution, now in the hands of a House subcommittee, that would reaffirm the agency’s lobbying ban.
NHTSA is facing opposition to motorcycle checkpoints, too. The agency in 2010 earmarked $350,000 to help state police set up stops to check motorcyclists for safety violations. One intent is to crack down on so-called novelty helmets, which do not meet federal standards but account for an estimated one in five of the helmets riders wear. The helmets have become popular because they are lightweight and come in various styles — and because they can keep police away in states that mandate helmet use.
But they are also dangerous. “They are just plastic toys, essentially,” says Tim McMahon, a San Jose, Calif., personal-injury lawyer, who won a $1.7 million injury award for a Fresno man who suffered brain damage from a 2005 crash while wearing a novelty helmet that he thought was safe.
Despite the risks, motorcyclists have gone to court to block regulation. In a test case, four bikers who were ticketed in 2008 at a checkpoint in New York for lacking approved helmets filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming that inspections singling out motorcyclists were illegal discrimination. A judge dismissed the suit last year.
The American Motorcyclist Association, taking another tack, fired off a letter in late 2010 urging NHTSA administrator Strickland to suspend the federal checkpoint grant program, saying there were unanswered questions about the program’s implementation, legality and efficacy. Strickland declined.
Biker groups were further incensed when the agency subsequently made a grant to the state of Georgia, which used the money in March, 2011 to monitor bikers headed south to the legendary Daytona Beach Bike Week.
Motorcycle activists again found a sympathetic ear in Sensenbrenner, who introduced legislation to end federal funding of motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints. The anti-checkpoint measure may be considered by a House-Senate conference committee currently working on a long-term surface transportation bill.
“These checkpoints are not an effective use of taxpayer money,” Sensenbrenner said, in a prepared statement in response to questions. “Motorcycle-only checkpoints force law enforcement officials to play ‘nanny state’ to all riders rather than focusing on those who are endangering themselves and others on the road, and do not address the factors that contribute to motorcycle crashes.”
Biker groups raise similar points.
“The federal government says all day long: ‘You guys are a huge problem. You are killing yourselves out there. You need to start wearing helmets.’ But then they do not want to put resources” toward training and accident prevention, said Jeff Hennie, a Washington-based lobbyist for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation.
American Motorcyclist Association spokesman Pete terHorst added that helmet mandates create “unintended consequences,” drawing scarce resources away from alternatives like training.
But the advantages of training are questionable. A 2009 study for the federal Transportation Research Board found that the evidence was inconclusive about whether educating riders through formal programs made them any safer.
Other studies have shown that, while training helps riders pass basic skills tests, their chances of getting in a crash after six months of driving are about the same as untrained riders. That raised questions even for Tim Buche, president of the industry-sponsored Motorcycle Safety Foundation, which has developed the training materials most widely used in the U.S. “Maybe the training does not change someone’s true behavior for the long term,” he speculated.
Even if training pays off, public health advocates argue that relying on it exclusively would be equivalent to, in the automotive world, exempting people who take a driver’s education course from requirements to use seat belts or to put children in car seats.
Doctors such as Esposito who provide care for the people hurt in those crashes, though, sometimes are mystified about why riders don’t take it upon themselves to wear safe helmets for their own protection.
Asked whether he often thinks about how a patient with a head injury could have avoided his plight simply by wearing a helmet, Esposito replied: “All the time.”
Disclaimer: Advgrrls always recommends wearing full riding gear at all times including: jacket, gloves, pants, over-the-ankle boots, and a well-fitting helmet. (ATGATT) 😉
23 thoughts on “Despite Death Toll, Motorcycle Groups Strive to Muzzle U.S. Regulators”
Makes you shake your head doesn’t it? I wear a helmet because I want to be around to see my loved ones grow old with me. The same reason I wear a seatbelt. I don’t do it because the law says I have to. I want to and I want my friends and family to do the same. Maybe those that have lost loved ones because of their choice to not wear helmets need to speak up with how they are dealing with their loss. I can’t believe they would just shrug their shoulders and say “well it was their choice”.
I always wear a full face helmet. That’s not the same as legislating it.
These protests sound like a prelude to the Darwin Awards. Without trying to be offensive, I suppose it is nature’s selection when people get unduly injured or unnecessarily killed because they choose not to take even the most basic preventative measures toward their own self-preservation… as Dave mentioned above, it’s not because there is a law to wear helmets (or seatbelts in a car), it’s just the most basic level of common sense, something it seems a considerable number of people simply lack… or they are just too selfish to think about what it would mean for them (and their friends/family) to end up with a debilitating brain injury which could possibly have been prevented. Presumably that sort of selfishness could lead to the assumption they aren’t on the organ donor register either so in the end no one at all benefits…
The real question is, what really is the issue that’s stopping the US government from issuing a blanket law on mandatory helmet use like pretty much every other country in the world? If they can mandate something as trivial as the US requirement for orange/red side reflectors (which the rest of the world make do without), then why not something that actually serves a useful and life-saving purpose?
It is like the thousands of people who were protesting the taxing of inheritance over 2.5 million dollars. Not a single one of them were going to be effected by it but they did not want that regulation.
People can do what they want, but if you go no helmet then perhaps your insurance should consider no coverage for a preventable injury.
Manitoba used to be a helmet law free area and I have ridden without a helmet a couple of times and actually hated it. I wear a helmet. Others may choose not to but hey it is your brain, use it like you need it.
That brings up a good point – in the UK if your tyres have less than 1.6mm of tread left and you crash as a result, generally speaking most insurers will not cover any damages… not specific to our helmet law of course—for that there is a suitably stiff fine + a note on your licence (no points though) + possible impoundment of the bike since the old bill would consider you unfit to ride if you were stopped without wearing one…
Why stop there? Let’s legislate safety equipment for every sport. How about a complete ban on dangerous sports? Full face helmets for road cylists, mandatory armor for mountain bikers, and helicopter skiing has got to go.
Don’t think that’s the point to ban, but to minimize risk. I really don’t care what others do as long as it does not affect me in the end. We all make good and bad decisions. It takes on mistake on a motorcycle, just one and it could lights out. Why not at least give yourself a chance by ATGATT?
Who is in charge of minimizing my risk, me or the government? They could just ban motorcycles altogether and get rid of the risk entirely.
With respect, can’t really see the parallel of comparing sports/leisure activities (extreme or otherwise) with laws for users of public highways… I do, however, strongly agree with helmet legislation for powered two-wheelers, having been traumatised at a young age by witnessing a scooter user in Greece lying on the road with what looked like a mixture of hamburger and mushroom soup oozing from his cracked skull… as for cyclists – not going there, it’s too much of a contentious issue for me to debate!
I am suprised that we don’t hear from the insurance companies- as someone above raised the point, if you are in a crash and did not have a helmet on, maybe your health insurance should not cover the expense (and they make you sign a DNR).
I was in a horrible wreck when I was 16 and the helmet absolutely saved my life. I will always wear a full face helmet but I also believe that common sense / Darwinism should win out, not legislation. I also think drugs should be legalized, just one more way people should be allowed to kill themselves; and NO I am not a drug user either. It is a senseless waste of time, energy and money whether we are talking about motorcycle traffic stops or the “war” on drugs. In conclusion, PLEASE WEAR A SAFE HELMET. I have no remorse for those that ruin their lives because they make bad decisions. It is like russian roulette… sooner or later odds are good that someone will not see you and just run into you, regardless of your level of expertise and time in the saddle.
It’s not even just about crashing. What about flying debris? Bugs? Anything that hits you at the velocity it can when riding could easily knock you off your bike or distract you just enough. I agree let people choose to increase their own risks. It is only a matter of time.
I use an open face helmet in the city as to me it’s a case of weighing extra protection with extra peripheral vision, but full face always when intending to travel on 40+ mph roads… I’ve had a wasp hit me at 30 mph and go down the neck of my jacket/shirt and repeatedly sting me… can’t imagine what that would have been like at 70+!
I’ve been riding since 1965, and now even at 65 years of age I am still riding strong and at times long distances. Coast to Coast and North to South in the USA, Cozumel, England, Ireland and in the US including Alaska, via British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon and also the Arctic Circle via the Dalton Highway. From this I have observed that you can give someone a motorcycle but it is their emotional development, there level of ability coupled with their sobriety that contributes more to their safety than just how long they have been riding. My take is that perhaps these should be the requirements to ride without a Helmet.: Minimum of 25 years of age, 5 years AND 10,000 documented miles of the type of riding they want to do without a helmet. There probably should be an upper age limit, so at 65, I’m hoping they won’t make it less than 70 !
Safety should never be in discuss. I don’t want that my taxes are used to cure some idiots, that are playing with fire, and they Know thta they are playing with fire. It’s proved that helmets safe lifes, and it can affect other people.
It’s mandatory to use seat belts, at least, here in Europe, because it safes lifes, and safes taxes money in the hospitals too. If the cars users evolved why not the bikers?
I wouldn’t live with my self, after a crash, if i saved money it security gear, bikers are in more risk than car users, but if we fall, at least we have to know that we have done what we can to protect ourselfs, and our families. Now, “I don’t want to use a security helmet, because it ruins my hair ?!?”. Come on, grow up!
I agree and again I am still unsure how wearing gear is a violation of ones rights? Just wear the gear!
Maybe what would help to understand the thought process, specifically since you mention you do not understanding why people would like to ride without a helmet, is to find a closed road course, say with some twisting and turning, and even a little up and down pavement and then either ride at 25 MPH or perhaps pedal a bicycle around the coarse once or twice. Now try it with a helmet and see if there is any difference in the experience. If not, well I guess you are one of those who probably should continue to wear the safety stuff. I have no problem with those that choose to or wish to wear the safety stuff, on occasion I wear the safety stuff too. There is a difference between a full face and 1/2 helmet and no helmet. When and where you choose to use the safety equipment should be up to the riders. One thing I have learned in the past 65 years, You can legislate common sense nor morality. Ride Safe…
not sure I agree as we legislate safety laws all the time…example seat belts. How is this different?
I really hate to be correcting myself – BUT – ON THE ABOVE Revisited – I resubmit my closing comment to read: “You can legislate neither common sense nor morality. The missed comment to my perspective is that if you are riding in the ADV mindset, which I have done in the past, then there is no question that one should be wearing not only a full face helmet but other appropriate protective gear as well. My question, after reviewing all the “Statistics” submitted is just this: How many of the deaths of motorcycle riders reported where caused by someone who was driving something that had four wheels ? How many were motorcycle to motorcycle and how many were just a motorcycle and some object such as a tree, a bridge, a parked car etc? One can not address the issue of sudden death without identifying all the underlying circumstances. Just a thought… Ride Safe… However you choose to prepare….
In a perfect world you wouldn’t fall off your bike, but you can, and implies other people and other people tax money, that could and should be used to other health reasons greater than a guy that likes to feel the wind in his face.
I know the feeling is diferent, tell me one thing, when you ride without a helmet in a curvy road havig fun, do you use glasses of any kind?
The eyes must feel the wind too (and the bugs, stones, etc).
The head it’s the most important organ of your body, we should protect it, i also think gloves and jacket should be used too. Who doesn’t think that way, should get in a bycicle in an asphalt road and throw into the ground at about, 5-10 mph? See what happens, then think that the bike weights just a little mote than a any motorcycle, that can fall into you, and th speed it’s justa a little faster.
Don’t use an helmet when just cruising, because in that situations, nothing happens, and nobody will go to your house and say to your grandchildren that their grandpather got hurt because he liked to feel the wind.
I’m sorry, but if you have 65 years old i think that you must see a bigger picture than just the feeling.
I’m sure this is a bit less than timely, but I have just returned from three weeks in Hawaii while my buddies were dealing with snow in Michigan. I share a couple of thoughts for clarity on my position none of which are not intended to be argumentative. First I have heard the multiple comments or personal positions about using “Public Funds” for treatment of someone injured due to failure to wear a helmet. Perhaps in countries, or a Provence that has some form of socialized medical coverage that would apply, and I fully agree that using governmental funds (that is funds belonging to “The People”) to treat injuries that could at least have been mitigated (reduced) in most cases had the rider been wearing a DOT approved helmet or other self inflicted injuries is unfair to those who are still waiting in line for health care treatments. In my case however since I carry rather expensive personal health care and hospitalization insurance WHICH I PAY FOR DIRECTLY OUT OF MY POCKET) so the use of funds from a socialized medical program is a mute point. On the other hand, and again just my own pie in the sky kind of personal perspective and attitude: A generation or more from now my Grand Children or maybe even my Great Grand Children will remember Not what kind of house I lived in, Not how much money I made, Not if I was this or that kind of political party member, but rather, they will remember how many years I had the same life partner, the same faith and Oh yea, that I rode a motorcycle all over the world. I agree wholeheartedly with you that those of stable mental ability and reasonable intellect should (pick here whatever applies to the activity chosen;-) wear a motorcycle helmet, a safety belt, a bicycle helmet, a skate board helmet, a Roller Blade Helmet, pads appropriate to the chosen sport, have any car retrofitted with air bags and seat belts, consume 0% alcohol for 24 hours before driving, riding, operating or piloting any motor vehicle and inhale only the particulate matter (smoke) that drifts up from a good BBQ grill. I guess that about covers the whole of things. Perhaps it is actually an oxymoron for one to say that “The reason I choose to ride at times without a helmet”, regardless of what “reason” I use, implies in an of itself that the statement can not contain any valid reasoning anyway… other than perhaps a subliminal death wish…… Interesting thought … Ride safe….
nice reply…hope you had a great trip!
Stunning trip – 17 days, family, grands, fab food and great times. A few Long Boards (Beer) and a few more than required Mai Ti’s also let a day or two rather casual. Turkey dinner was unbelievable, cooked IMU style, wrapped in banana leaves that imparted a fabulous new flavor. Aroma of the sandwiches on the flight home brought two offers to trade for airline food, yea right ! Thanks, we had a great time and i only burnt the tip of my nose. Best wishes for the upcoming holiday period.