Does society have to pay because you choose to take risks and hurt yourself?

12 Oct

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD BLACK FART: Moi lives in the Republic of Seattle where the city muckety mucks admire Europe not only for its socialist leaning governments, but the high number of folks who ride bikes. They are trying to banish cars from the city by making it so expensive to drive, you give up. Not that transit in Seattle is as good as in Europe. Parking is so expensive, one might as well get a Fiat or Mini, rent an apartment and take the car up on the elevator.

Although, the Republic of King County which includes Seattle makes the following comment:

Bicycling is a marvelous way to get around. Bicycling reduces traffic jams, protects the environment, and is a great source of physical activity. Unfortunately, bicycling is not risk-free. In fact, from 2008 to 2012, each year an average of 3 bicyclists died in King County each year and 45 were severely injured in collisions with motor vehicles.
…Washington Traffic Safety Commission, July 2013

To stay safe, follow Washington’s bicycling laws and always wear a helmet! Visit the Washington state Department of Transportation’s Bicycle Laws page to learn more about bicyclist responsibilities and state laws. For safety tips, check out the King County Department of Transportation’s bicycle safety page.
Bike helmets

Wear a helmet! It’s the law!

In July 2003, the King County Board of Health extended the King County bike helmet regulation (PDF) to include Seattle. The new rule went into effect in August 2003 and requires that all bicyclists (regardless of age) must wear a helmet.

Bicyclists throughout the county can be cited for not wearing helmets. Avoid fines, fees, and injuries by wearing a bike helmet!

Moi walks and rides the bus all over the Republic of Seattle and she observes many cyclists do not wear helmets despite the law.

Science Daily reported in Helmeted bicycle riders have significantly reduced severity of injury after an accident:

Helmeted bicycle riders have a 58 percent reduced odds of severe traumatic brain injury after an accident compared to their non-helmeted counterparts, according to researchers from the University of Arizona, Tucson….

Helmet related statistics can be found here:

A Canadian study, Societal cost of traumatic brain injury: A comparison of cost-of-injuries related to biking with and without helmet use found:

Results: The median costs of hospitalization were significantly higher (p = 0.037) in the no helmet group ($7246.67 vs. $4328.17). No differences in costs were found for inpatient rehabilitation (p = 0.525), outpatient rehabilitation (p = 0.192), loss of productivity (p = 0.108) or death (p  = 1.000). Overall, the differences in total societal costs between the helmet and no helmet group were not significantly different (p =  0.065). However, the median total costs for patients with isolated TBI in the non-helmet group ($22 232.82) was significantly higher (p = 0.045) compared to the helmet group ($13 920.15).
Conclusion: Cyclists sustaining TBIs who did not wear helmets in this study were found to cost society nearly double that of helmeted cyclists….

This leads to the original question which is should society pay for risks that an individual freely decides to take.

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