Helmets Part 1,489,348 - To Wear Or Not To Wear

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knoxie   10 MW

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Good reason to wear a cycle helmet!

Post by knoxie » Mar 23 2007 10:52am

saw this on the news last night and had previously seen an article where a young woman had been pushed off her bike at only 5 mph banged her head and suffered massive brain damage, I ride mostly with a full face helmet these days, you can never be to safe, I don't care how I look, I wouldn't look too great as a corpse either!

The helmet the policeman was holding wasn't his actual helmet, apparently that was a right mess, still goes to show how important a helmet is.

Cheers

P

here's the video

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?doc ... 2969887193

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Post by NickF23 » Mar 23 2007 1:45pm

Knoxie,

Whats it like riding with a full face helmet? do you use a motorcyle helmet? can you hear much through it? does it get hot if your pedaling hard?

I sometimes wonder if higher speed electric bike's are ever made legal over here that some kind of mandatory helmit might be part of the legislation.

Does anyone else where a full face helmit?

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Post by knightmb » Mar 23 2007 1:55pm

Good video, I passed it around to my bike club as another reason to wear your helmet. 8)

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Post by Ypedal » Mar 23 2007 1:57pm

I'm switching over this year to a full face..

The Giro is nice..

On my 48v Giant, a regular helmet is fine.. but with my plans to tweak my norco with knobies and 90v of lipo on a 40 amp controller.. the full face may be needed in more ways than one.
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Post by knoxie » Mar 23 2007 3:41pm

Hi Folks

Yes I wear a downhill racing mtb helmet, it doesnt get too hot however I may have to get a light weight Giro in the summer, I wont compromise on my safety, the bike can do 35mph it would be lunacy IMHO to not wear a helmet.

When I crashed at xmas my head hit down hard and slid along the road, I was totally protected by the very tough helmet I was wearing, I hate to think what would have happened had I not had been wearing it, I would prefer it if they made it the law, it would save so may more lives.

Cheers

Knoxie

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Post by Reid Welch » Mar 23 2007 4:05pm

So right, Paul.

Florida, which has been Republican controlled for some years now,
did away with helmet laws.

Why, my brother only survived a 1970 crash because of a helmet.
But, the powerful biking lobby here (mostly the affluent Sunday saddlebag drivers)
pushed and got the decades-old mandatory helmet law rescinded a few years ago.

Now, in this city of truly terrible and unlicensed and uninsured drivers,
most of the jockeys on pimped up Harleys and, especially, the poorer people: the scooter drivers who only two-wheel---don't wear helmets.

The carnage doesn't matter. The dead and the vegetative do not complain.
And the others, who don't ride two wheels, do not really care.



I try always to wear a Bell Faction helmet--but must confess that 10% of the time I do not put it on.

Am always aware that it doesn't even require a fall to lose one's life.
Striking a branch can do it too. Full face is really the way to go.
Thank you again Paul for posting vital reminders.

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Post by xyster » Mar 23 2007 4:24pm

I ride with a helmet even though it isn't the law here to do so. If competent adults in full command of their faculties wish to take needless risks, sometimes leading to their death or incapacitation, that should be their right, so long as it doesn't directly, significantly and negatively pose a risk to anybody else. Social darwinism will weed out the idiots if we let it, and we'll all be the better and happier for it.
As Reid noted, 10% of the time he rides without a helmet. So do I in certain very circumscribed situations where I feel the danger is not much greater than walking without a helmet.

<a href="http://money.cnn.com/2003/10/13/pf/dangerousjobs/"><img src="http://money.cnn.com/2003/10/13/pf/dang ... erous2.gif" align="right"></a>

By the logic of helmet law advocates, these risky professions should be outlawed too, as the per-year risk is likely just as much if not more than riding a bike without a helmet; not to mention risky recreational activities like mountain climbing and horse riding. Sad to see so much support for big brother from smart, well meaning people.
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Post by knoxie » Mar 23 2007 5:18pm

Xyster, Reid

Well thought out and rounded replies as only one can expect from you guys! nice one.

Yes I have seen people fall and hit their head and never regain consciousness, its not nice, you can fall off your feet, hit your head and its game over.

My bike is such an amazing part of my life, however it could take my life also I know that sounds a little pretentious but its true, its a fierce machine and uncontrolled it is scary, this is the reason I put in the limiters and emergency stops.

I want to live a long life, the coming spring and the beauty of the world and my green home of England makes me determined to stay her for the long hall.

I love speed but I also like to be safe as well, I take risks we all do, thats part of living and its the falls and the spills that make you safer, if you never fall off or have an accident, you never learn, the least you can do is to protect your head, you can break your legs arms fingers very badly, apply similar damage to your head and you will mostly not make a full recovery.

The darwin point is very well made xyster, I just dont want any of my fellow e-bikers or bikers! to become part of that statistic, I was concerned that Steve Head doesn't wear a helmet either, we had our little showdown last year and no helmet, it is of course his choice, but I would be mortified if he ever got badly hurt and would have been save by a 20 dollar piece of foam and plastic, it is quite literally a no brainer to wear one.

Thanks guys, stay safe and forward the link of the video to your cycling buddies, a good timely reminder

Cheers

Knoxie

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Post by Mathurin » Mar 23 2007 5:21pm

Also remember to always wear a helmet while driving a car - the risk of brain injury is greater still then when riding a bike.


Let's not forget helmets while walking around, too! After all, your head is nearly two meters off the ground! Did you ever try dropping a melon from that height?


Image


Yeah but I use a bike helmet anyways...
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Post by v_tach » Mar 23 2007 5:26pm

xyster wrote:If competent adults in full command of their faculties wish to take needless risks, sometimes leading to their death or incapacitation, that should be their right, so long as it doesn't directly, significantly and negatively pose a risk to anybody else.
...or create a burden upon their families and/or the health care system. Getting killed isn't the concern. Its the costs associated with head injury survivors. Treatment, rehab, then what if they never recover enough to take care of themselves...

Head injuries are terribly devastating not only to the injured but to their families and friends as well.

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Post by v_tach » Mar 23 2007 5:34pm

Mathurin wrote:Also remember to always wear a helmet while driving a car - the risk of brain injury is greater still then when riding a bike.
Really? I'd be interested in knowing where that statistic originates.

I'm a professional firefighter/paramedic. I respond to a lot of car accidents and have seen a few head injuries as a result of them. Mostly from not wearing another simple safety device, the seatbelt.

I haven't responded to a lot of bicycle related injuries but proportional to the car accidents, it seems I've seen a lot more head injuries from the bicycle accidents as compared to the automobile accidents. The worse part, most of the bicycle related head injuries were with children.

Adults shouldn't have to be made to wear a helmet, I agree in principal. I've just never heard a reasonable argument why anyone wouldn't wear one.

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Post by Mathurin » Mar 23 2007 5:45pm

Well fair enough, gonna try & track it down.
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Post by knoxie » Mar 23 2007 6:26pm

Indeed

I saw someone get punched, they fell hit their head (not hard) on the road and they never regained conciousness, its a serious thing indeed and also the point made earlier about being a disabled strain on your family if you aren't killed, a simple piece of foam could easily be the difference between that and just jumping straight back up off the road (as I did just before xmas ) smiling, with a bruised arm and aching neck and cycling off, had I not been wearing a helmet there is a very good chance I would not be typing this and at the worst may have been typing this with my head.

Like you said, I dont see any reason for not wearing a helmet, if someone can give me a good reason then id really like to hear it and if they are sure of their reason not to, I would challenge that person to sit in a seat and drive head first in to a wall at just 5 miles an hour no hands to stop you just your head, i will wear my full face helmet they can go without, erm give me a good reason not to wear one?

Cheers

Knoxie

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Post by xyster » Mar 23 2007 7:36pm

Good discussion...
knoxie wrote: I saw someone get punched, they fell hit their head (not hard) on the road and they never regained conciousness,
I tried to find the original story but couldn't:

A couple winters ago here in Portland, Oregon, a firefighter was walking with a couple of her friends, also firefighters, on the ice outside of a restaurant. She slipped, bonking her head on the curb. Despite her friends immediately rendering aid, and despite full and timely care at a nearby ER, she died. As I recall, she was about 30 years old, and in good physical condition. A tragic, unlikely accident that arguably would have been prevented had she worn a helmet. Certainly it didn't sound as though she had acted in any kind of fool-hardy way. There's only so much we can ever reasonably do...
v_tach wrote:Getting killed isn't the concern. Its the costs associated with head injury survivors. Treatment, rehab, then what if they never recover enough to take care of themselves...
I agree helmets should generally be worn while riding bicycles as bike accidents aren't exactly rare occurrences, and also can be the consequence of factors out of the rider's control (especially with ebikes, right knoxie :D?). However, if we go too far towards a nanny-state, people will tend to lose their already often weak ability to think for themselves and assess risks intelligently. Such a loss will cost the public $$$ too, and much more needless pain and suffering.

I usually don't wear my helmet when riding slow around my very safe neighborhood where kids play in the streets and ride their bikes. I wear it everywhere else. I don't think it fool-hardy on my part, and I certainly don't think I deserve a ticket for that choice. I trust the kids' parents will make their own sensible risk assessments whether or not they see me wearing a helmet or not. Of course some won't. But a law isn't going to change that. Public awareness is often the more effective persuasion mechanism.
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Post by Geebee » Mar 23 2007 7:52pm

The best helmet cartoon I saw was a Hagar the horrible one (the viking comic strip), where they were discussing the pros and cons of helmets, Hagar had a helmet and club the other guy only had a club, guess who won the argument?
If I can dig it up I will post it.

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Post by Reid Welch » Mar 23 2007 9:33pm

How about this logic: automobiles nowadays are mandated to be equipped with lap and shoulder belts and air bags and more.

And these save lives--save society from the burden of long-term maintenance of damaged hulks.

Now, bikes and motorbikes have no safety equipment.
The least the riders can do is to wear a helmet.
Helmets are not fun to use, they are not sexy nor cool in summer,
and full face helmets do retract even more freedom from the rider.

But those who crash lidless and live, often become full time long time burdens for their family and for the state, which ends up paying.

I don't want to pay for some freedom lover's right to be a vegetable.
But I will, I do, I must because we no longer have helmet laws here.

For sure, if, wayyy back in 1970, if Florida had no helmet law,
well, I would have no brother today.

To me, it's a no-brainer. Automobilists here are required to wear a safety belt. Toddlers up to six year olds are required to be strapped into child safety seats.

But, not bikers. Mom can put her infant twins into a Burley baby buggy and go ride the right gutter of US1 for all the law cares.

Not that I've seen such foolery, I haven't. But it's legal, and if the babies don't die, then we taxpayers must pay for their support for life.

Can't be any other way--but there could be less loss and less unspeakable horror if municipalities, at least, could mandate helmets to be worn by all who are not contained by inertial restraints and crumple zones of enclosed vehicles.

vtach is right. I wouldn't force helmets on the stupid and the stubborn were in not for the fact that money counts here in FL, more than mere lives.

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Post by Reid Welch » Mar 23 2007 9:43pm

Mathurin wrote: ...Let's not forget helmets while walking around, too! After all, your head is nearly two meters off the ground! Did you ever try dropping a melon from that height?...
If great grandmother is tottery, and she is, she is advised to preserve her independent life at home by wearing a foam lined helmet, hip and knee paddings.

If a supervising person can ensure that granny will comply, she is, by call of statistics, much safer.

Most, nearly half, of the old people I've known, began their descent to death with a simple trip, slip or loss of balance. In the home, most usually.
So, it's not a bad idea. Some old folks who are realistic, do wear padding,
and don't have hard, bare stone floorings. Melons overipe split too easily.

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Post by xyster » Mar 23 2007 10:26pm

I wouldn't force helmets on the stupid and the stubborn were in not for the fact that money counts here in FL, more than mere lives.
Hey Reid, should The State mandate condoms or other physical prophylaxis be worn before consenting, competent adults engage in sexual activity The State deems to be more risky?

And if such a law were enacted, what kind of effect do you think it'd have on the rates of STD transmission, and the associated costs to society?
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Post by Reid Welch » Mar 23 2007 11:05pm

It is law in Florida, that HIV positive people or anyone with an STD
who knowingly engages in unprotected sex without disclosure to the partner, has committed a punishable crime.
I agree with that.

The slippery slope of legislation is inevitably a pitfall too
but less dangerous than the absence of social protections.
Total libertarianism leads, pretty surely, to a social chasm because
not all people are self-governable.

I will not engage in further debate in defense for reasonable and evenly applied laws
ie: auto riders must employ restraints, bikers should at least restrain their brain contents.
Helmet laws are reasonable in my book.


Or would you rather return Detroit (so to speak) that glorious era of hard
projecting knobs on unpadded metal dashboards
and doors that pop open and X-chassis
and engines that drive up into the front bench seat.

I recall my first auto accident. No, it was my second one.
I must've been about four.
Grandmother ferrying me to her home for the weekend.
Happy day. Slow driver, thank luck.
As she turned onto shady Columbus Drive,
I, sitting free and breezy on the front bench seat of her '49 Chevy,
stood up and pushed the pretty chrome door latch button.
Leaning against that door was not required;
the sweeping turn, of course opened the door and I rolled out onto the road, unhurt.

And if not for governmental actions cars today would be no safer.
I used to drive a wooden framed auto with plate glass in the windshield.
Imagine the action of splintering ash upon the interior contents. Or going through 1/4" solid glass, untempered.

Appliances would still commonly electrocute people.
Buildings would collapse in storm winds, etc.

Laws to protect people from things that happen are good laws overall.
And one of these things that will happen, is that
we humans are apt to ride our bikes without head protection because we live to live,
we do not expect to become accident victims.
Really nice people go lidless--they don't deserve to die.
Death does not improve the species.

A helmet law is a level law for all.
It is not a discrimination and it is not really much of a forfeit of freedom for life.

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Post by v_tach » Mar 24 2007 12:21am

Florida's helmet law is insane. You don't have to wear one if you have a certain amount of insurance...

A person 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head, if such person is covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.

But seat belts are mandatory in automobiles. Go figure.

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Post by patrick_mahoney » Mar 24 2007 12:53am

My sister was riding her bicycle in town 11 years ago. She was in a bicycle lane going about 20mph just before sunset. A pickup truck waiting to make a left pulled right in front of her and crossed her path and she went into the side of the truck between the passenger side door and the wheel-well. She wasn't wearing a helmet. Aside from several other broken bones, she had quite a bit of internal bleeding in her brain, was in the hospital for almost a month, and to this day she can neither taste nor smell anything and has other signs of minor brain damage although she has mostly recovered. Had she been wearing a helmet her injuries would have been bad, but clearly they wouldn't have been as bad as they were.

There are plenty of good reasons to wear a helmet - particularly at the speeds that the people on this forum ride at.
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Post by Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh » Mar 24 2007 4:39am

I'm in favour of helmet use, but not in favour of a helmet law. It's preferable to use education & peer pressure to encourge their use. Don't see why the state needs to profit from it.

I'd like to know where this pressure to pass bicycle helmet laws everywhere is originating from. There are plenty of other things in society that result in injury or death that you would think have priority in being corrected. Bicycle related injury would be way down on the list of dangerous professions (if it were a profession).

When riding on a properly fitted bike your head is only an inch or two higher off the ground than normal. As for the speed, well then you should force joggers & olympic sprinters to wear helmets too.

The ultimate expression of this 'people are stupid therefore the state has a right to prevent them from becoming a burden to society' argument would be a big brother broccoli law forcing people to eat their veggies.

I've only used a full face helment once & on my first & only ride with it I was rear ended by a car doing 30 mph. By some miracle, the car was in the midst of changing lanes so the extreme right corner of the bumper forceably yanked the bike right out from under my legs as the car swept across behind me into the adjacent lane. I didn't know that at that instant & while I was hanging there in free space I remember anticipating the inevitable crunch of the windshield against by back, which never materialized. The car had otherwise missed me completely & fell backwards smacking bodily onto the pavement with the back of the helmet ending up with a half-dollar size chunk chipped off. Essentially the fall was no different if I had fallen from a standing height.

There's no doubt the helment protected my skull from having a piece chipped out of it. However I feel that the full helmet restricted my peripheral vision & hearing & otherwise deadened my awareness, altering my perception to the extent that it shut down my zen state that keeps me alive in traffic. I have no doubt that had I not been so cutoff from the environment I would have been able to sidestep the collision. So which is safer, wear a helmet & hope it will suffice, or avoid getting hit altogether in the first place?

As Dr. Hibbert sez:
'That which doesn't kill you, only leaves you weak as a kitten."
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Post by knoxie » Mar 24 2007 6:45am

Some Interesting points folks

In this country at least I still think they should make it the law, we are a tiny overpopulated little island in places, we pay some of the highest gas prices in the world and its going up and up, combine that with the spiralling cost of home ownership and the grid lock of traffic in towns and cities, more and more people are cycling as cars are not affordable or usable.

More cars + More cycles = more accidents, its inevitable, combine that with the general frustration of drivers sat in fumes their anger boiling over, they may make manoeuvres and sudden turns to avoid hold ups etc etc.

In London they have introduced congestion charging, they have a network of number plate recognition cameras all around the city, you enter it you have to play later! this has resulted in a huge increase in the number of cycles on the road.

I disagree that an open face helmet does anything to disrupt your awareness or peripheral vision, I wouldl only advocate the use of full face helmets on e-bikes or possible road cyclists? but try getting them to wear any sort of helmet! they are a stubborn lot.

A lot of the laws are there to protect you from yourself in many ways, we have had a motorcycle helmet law here for 40 years or so, it must have saved so many lives, my e-bike and some of my road racing buddies on normal bikes hit speeds over 50mph?

I really dont see why you should not at least wear a normal cycle helmet, I simply wont get on a bike unless I am wearing one, my little nephews and nieces are all the same, they see uncle pauls videos and think its cool to wear a helmet, far more children in my neighbourhood wear helmets than adults, I hope the message is getting through.

Great thread this one! keep em coming! we dont need a show us your helmet thread do we>> ha ha that sounded rude!

Knoxie

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Post by Reid Welch » Mar 24 2007 7:37am

Yes, show us your preferred helmets now. Why not?

I've settled on a Bell Faction in electric blue--identical color as my bike.
It's a super comfortable fit for me. Only two sizes, most adult males will want the Large, not the Medium size.


I look stupid in a helmet quite surely. I feel smarter for it.
It has a nasty scrape on its paint.
One night I was maneuvering under a roof eave.
It was dark, I was moving, and WHAM, my head hit the sharp corner of a low-hanging metal awning.


The Faction appears to be a better protector than roadie helmets.
It's available everywhere.

It's easy to put on because it feels good.
Mathurin may well say that this lid sorely needs Hello Kitty stickers.
That's an idea.

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Post by xyster » Mar 24 2007 8:02am

Reid wrote:Total libertarianism leads, pretty surely, to a social chasm because not all people are self-governable.
Well said, Reid.

This fact royally sucks for those of us who become effectively self-governing by nature and/or upbringing; and feeling those self-governing tendencies welling within, tend towards the libertarian corner of the political spectrum, in opposition to the frustration of our external freedoms becoming fewer by the year.
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