It's been a busy week here. So, if you got a breathless email from the American Motorcyclists Association on Wednesday, proudly highlighting the AMA's ongoing lobbying effort to prevent the use of crash helmets, you might have thought, "Gardiner's going to go all ape shit over this." Then, after a few days passed, concluded that I am beyond caring what the AMA's lobbyists do, in Washington.
To recap: Earlier this year, a Congressional committee drafted a new law that would, in part, have expanded the remit of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by allowing NHTSA to lobby state governments to encourage helmet use by motorcyclists. But, on Tuesday night, that particular house resolution was passed with a change to wording that to maintain a long-standing gag order on NHTSA; it's legally prevented from any activities that would encourage state governments to mandate the use of crash helmets. You can read a complete synopsis of the situation here.
To be clear: NHTSA--the National Highway Traffic SAFETY Administration--is barred from telling state governments that motorcyclists should wear crash helmets.
I repeat, to be extra-clear: An organization nominally created for the express purpose of improving traffic safety and promoting research and best practices in traffic safety is legally gagged, when it comes to the single most important thing motorcyclists can do, in order to improve their safety. Crash helmets? No, NHTSA can't talk about 'em.
That's a situation Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations, applauds.
"We are happy that the House members accepted the language in the amendment," said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. "Lifting the ban on NHSTA lobbying would have given Washington bureaucrats free rein to spend taxpayer money to lobby states and legislators to create laws that infringe on our rights as motorcyclists."
Elsewhere in the official AMA Press Release dated June 11, the AMA clearly describes "mandatory motorcycle helmet laws" as "unnecessary regulations" on motorcyclists.
What the fuck, eh? Let's be clear: by far the greatest single effort by the AMA as it currently exists is: Let's make sure that no states pass helmet laws; let's fight the existing helmet laws.
I'll bet the AMA's shitty lobbyists went fawning to the NRA's big swinging dick lobbyists Tuesday night and said, "You know the way you guys prevented the Center for Disease Control and the Surgeon General from characterizing epidemic gun violence as a public health issue -- something it so totally is? Well, we did that too! We prevented NHTSA from saying that open head wounds are bad for motorcyclists. So, um, is that chair free? Can we sit with you?"
Fuck off, AMA, just fuck right off.