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Restore liberty: repeal over-burdensome helmet law

By   /   April 11, 2014  /   Comments Off

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“Any people that would give up liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Ben Franklin


l1192836941880These words from one of our great country’s founders serve as a reminder that personal freedom is at the core of our identity as Americans and Californians. In an age when government has become far-reaching and overly-burdensome, it is imperative that we take action to halt nanny government policies that make no sense.  That is why I have introduced AB 1835, a common sense bill that would restore a bit of personal accountability and freedom to individuals.


AB 1835 would allow adult users of Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs) to decide for themselves whether and when the use of a helmet is appropriate.  Current law prohibits the use of ROVs without a helmet, under a vehicle code that inaccurately categorizes and describes them as similar to motorcycles, sand buggies and ATVs.  However, ROVs are small vehicles that come with low centers of gravity, shoulder harnesses, anti-roll bars and seat bells – all of which provide adequate safety for an adult user.  ROVs are used daily by recreational users for outdoor enjoyment and by farmers and builders to haul materials like lumber and hay bales.


Given the safe design of ROVs and the nature of their use, it is unnecessary to require adults to use helmets when driving or riding in these vehicles.  In fact, helmets add to the risk of heat exhaustion when ridden on farms or recreational trails in summer months.  Furthermore, golf carts are comparable to ROVs and do not require helmets.  The fact of the matter is people should be allowed to determine for themselves when a helmet is suitable for their driving style and conditions– not the State.


While I agree that it is appropriate for government to protect users of ROVs by ensuring certain safety standards are met in the design of the vehicle – the same that is done with a golf cart or car – it is grossly inappropriate for government to legislate on personal freedoms in the false name of safety.


Critics of our proposal turn the concept of self-determination and freedom upside down.  They claim that we need government to protect us from ourselves.  I think that is complete nonsense.


AB 1835 simply returns decision-making power to the individual, and ultimately makes them responsible for their own decisions.


Please join me in this effort by supporting AB1835, a commonsense reform bill.  To submit a letter of support, please email Gonzo.Villegas@asm.ca.gov or fax (916) 319-2112.

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