Monday, April 4, 2011

Two-wheeled organ donors

Motorcycles scare me, or at least the thought of riding one in this day and age does.

Back in my (much) younger days, I had no problem going out with my best friend, who had several motorcycles of the off-road variety, and zooming up and down hills and through hairpin curves. I always had a blast.

What scares the crap out of me today about motorcycles is the thought of riding one in the city where people drive like a bat out of hell with a smart phone in one hand and a laptop computer in the other. At least if you’re in a car and one of these idiots smashes into you, your chances of escaping with only minor injuries are pretty good.

Not so if you are on a two-wheeled death machine.

Which is why I don’t understand motorcycle riders who refuse to wear helmets. If I had no choice but to ride a motorcycle back and forth to work, I'd be looking for a suit of armor to wear that also had airbags around all the major organs.

My hometown newspaper here in Texas had a front page story about a guy who lost his leg in a motorcycle riding accident. Amputated, as in they cut that sucker off because there was no patching it back together. His buddy, also riding a motorcycle, lost his life. Neither of them were wearing a helmet. And yet the surviving motorcyclist still refuses to wear one.

His friend is dead, and he loses one-fourth of his major appendages but he still says that he'll refuse to wear a helmet on his next motorcycle outing. He even said this from his hospital bed shortly after his leg had been whacked off in order to save his life.

How stupid-assed is that? This guy should run for Congress or maybe become a community organizer.

The newspaper story goes on to cite statistics showing that the year before the mandatory Texas helmet law was repealed, there were 113 deaths on Texas roads related to motorcycle accidents. In 2000, several years after the helmet law was repealed, there were 204 motorcycle related deaths. That's over an 80% increase.

For the record, let me state that I am strongly in favor of less laws, not more. I also think that we, as Americans, should be allowed a certain amount of latitude to do with ourselves as we see fit. And if you want to preach to me about your freedom to zoom helmet-less while racing F-16s down the highway on your motorcycle, that’s fine by me.

If this is what you want, I say we give it to you. Let’s repeal all local and state laws regarding seat belt use and the wearing of helmets as they pertain to adults.

But on two conditions.

The first condition is that you can never go to the front of the line at the doctor’s office or at an emergency room because you by-God refused to wear your helmet or your seat belt. For instance, it’s Saturday night and you and your motorcycle just tangled with a herd of 18-wheelers while not wearing your helmet and consequently, you have a gash the size of the Mississippi River on the top of your skull and you’re convulsing worse than a Brittney Spears video.

Think you’re going to get preferential treatment at the emergency room? No effing way. You wait like everyone else.

Which brings us nicely to the second condition. When you expire, as most people who tangle un-helmeted with a herd of 18-wheelers normally do, provided there’s anything left of you, or more importantly your organs, you just became an organ donor. Every organ that is useful, excluding your brain, of course, will be harvested and sent where they’re needed the most. There are organ-recipient waiting lists a mile long for people who have done nothing reckless or foolish to find themselves in the condition that they’re in.

See how easily this can all work out? If you don’t want to wear a helmet or your seat belts, no problem. By not doing so, you readily identify yourself to the authorities as a voluntary organ donor in the event of your grisly demise. Hell, we even save you the hassle of signing up to be an organ donor or having to carry around an organ donor card.

How much more free can one get?

I think what we have here is a potential win-win situation.

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