Minnesota needs universal helmet laws to combat a sharp increase in road deaths.

I often think about what I’d like written on the top of my tombstone. “Defender of Justice” or “Protector of Environment” would be good ones, but I’d even take “Chronic Nintendo 64 Player.”

In light of a recent bicycling accident I had on the streets of Minneapolis, it could have read, “He forgot his helmet and didn’t think nine minutes was worth going back to get it.”
 
Although my near-accident was on a bicycle, I can’t help but look out and wonder at my two-wheeled brethren who ride motorcycles without proper head protection.
 
Whenever I see their noggins cruising along hard and cruel pavement at 40 mph, I ask with a dumbfounded and perplexed look, “Dude, where’s your helmet?”  
 
The Department of Public Safety released a report last week saying that motorcycle deaths are 50 percent higher than they were last year.  Of the 24 people killed in motorcycle accidents this year, 14 of the riders were not wearing helmets.   
 
A helmet might not protect a motorcyclist from a collision with a car, but 11 of the 24 deaths this year occurred when a motorcycle was not able to handle a turn correctly. Those kinds of accidents are precisely the kind of protection helmets are engineered for. 
 
Minnesota, a state that prides itself on progressive legislation, has failed to protect its reputation in regards to two-wheeled safety precautions. More conservative states like West Virginia, Georgia and Louisiana are part of 19 other states that have universal helmet requirements for all motorcycle riders. Minnesota should follow suit and strap on similar legislation to the heads of its constituents.