My First Memorandum
M e m o r a n d u m
TO: Law Firm of Dewey, Earn, and Howe
FROM: Willy Understand; Christopher Collins
RE: The Constitutionality of Helmet Laws
DATE: March 11, 2023
Is it an appropriate role of government (federal OR state) to have a mandatory law requiring people to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle?
It is not an appropriate role of the government to have a mandatory law requiring people to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle.
Statement of Facts
State law requires motorcyclists to wear a helmet.
“Is it foolish to ride a motorcycle without a helmet? I think so. But I think it’s foolish to ride a motorcycle without a full suit of armor” (Vance, L. M. 2010). It is not an appropriate role of the government to have a mandatory law requiring people to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. The law of the land is supposed to protect American citizens from harm from others; that’s why we have the Constitution. If having to wear a helmet ever became law, I would invoke my First Amendment right of redressing grievances and have the law repealed. “Motorcycle helmets reduce the severity of injuries” (1996). However, in the event of an accident, only the motorcyclist is affected. Operating a motorcycle without a helmet is constitutional as this “crime” is not causing harm to others.
Some may argue: “Other road users, governmental institutions, law enforcement agencies, emergency responders, healthcare workers, legal representatives, insurance users, and their extended families can also suffer from the results for years afterward” (NHTSA, 2019). Regardless of if a motorcyclist was wearing a helmet or not, public services must still show up at the scene of the crime which will still cost taxpayers. The only person who is really affected by the victimless crime is the “perpetrator.” But what about the families? Aren’t they affected by the loss or severe injuries of a loved one? Since when did the legislative branch become the feelings police? Aren’t spouses who commit adultery also affecting their families in a negative way? Shouldn’t adultery be illegal? But what if the spouse doesn’t get caught committing adultery? Regardless, the possibility of being caught is there-just like the possibility of an individual crashing their motorcycle is there so the helmet law is in place- and the adulterer would still be committing a crime.
American citizens should have the choice of whether or not to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle. “What about eating and drinking while driving? What about women applying makeup while driving?” (Vance 2010)? All the above are even more dangerous than operating a motorcycle without a helmet yet none of these are illegal. It seems the government is very selective in what they decide is the law.