'Tis spring, when many people's fancies turn to thoughts of helmet laws. With the unfortunate death of Natasha Richardson, the discussion of whether to wear a helmet while participating in various activities springs forth once again ("Richardson's Accidental Death Rekindles Debate Over Helmets," March 20).
I am an expert in several things. I have been riding one type of motorcycle or another for 43 years. And I think I've seen it all -- people who push the top numbers of a bullet bike wearing nothing but a bandana and people who wear more body armor than Prince Valiant. Another part of my expertise is that as a physician assistant, I served as a first assistant in neurosurgery for 22 years.
That said, I am both pro-life and pro-choice when it comes to headgear. In many cases, helmets do save lives. But as I have seen in the operating room, if a biker or skier or 4-x-4 rider decides to head-butt a tree or telephone pole or other stationary object faster than 15 or 20 miles an hour, the helmet matters very little.
And before the government messes any more with our freedom, we need to allow these enthusiasts a choice in whether to attend the First Church of Wind in Our Hair or the Congregational Helmet Warriors.
I like to think that those who leave the helmet attached to the sissy bar on the back of the motorcycle or in the backpack at the ski lodge know what they are doing. And hopefully, they will exercise great care while out there having fun. It's their choice. And it's their life.