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Be Safe, Kids: Helmet-less Motorcyclist Dies During Anti-Helmet Protest

Over the holiday weekend, Philip A. Contos set out to protest motorcycle helmet laws with a group of anti-helmet crusaders. Instead, he became a poster child for why helmets are needed.

CNN reports:

Contos hit his brakes, began fishtailing and lost control of his 1983 Harley Davidson. He shot over the handlebars, hit his head on the pavement and was taken to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, New York, where he was pronounced dead.

State police say evidence at the scene plus information from the attending medical expert indicated Contos would have survived had he been wearing a helmet as required by state law.

Hopefully Contos' untimely death will help reverse this disturbing trend:

Motorcycle helmet use dropped from 67% in 2009 to 54% in 2010, according to a press release issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association....

Annual motorcycle deaths have more than doubled since the late 1990s with 5,290 in 2008, based on a report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

There's nothing funny about someone dying, of course, but it is ironic -- kind of like when the inventor of the Segway died while riding one of his creations. The moral of the story: don't ride a motorcycle without a helmet, no matter how pro-"personal responsibility" you are. (And for the love of god, don't ride a Segway on the edge of a cliff.)

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at July 5, 2011, 4:23am

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