On Sept. 1, 1963, Maryland enacted a mandatory motorcycle helmet use law. This law was amended on May 29, 1979, to affect only persons under the age of 18. A bill to reinstate the original law has been introduced in the Maryland legislature every year since then and has failed to pass. It is not a radical law -- 23 states already have one.
Head injured motorcycle riders have less than a 55 percent chance of ever returning to work. So the taxpayer supports the patient and frequently the patient's family, all because the rider did not wear a helmet.
Many people wonder how this failure to reinstate the helmet law could happen: police and fire department teams who are the first on the scene and frequently remove damaged, unhelmeted heads from the pavement; the ambulance and helicopter crews who race against time to the life-sustaining treatment of shock trauma centers; doctors and nurses of the centers who mobilize all their skills in hope of restoring functions to the victims; postmortem examiners who are called in when all efforts have been to no avail; and most important of all, the families and loved ones of the victims.
As a volunteer director of the Maryland Head Injury Foundation and the father of a head-injured son, I know families are in shock starting with the first knock on the door by the police and remain that way for days, weeks, months or frequently years -- watching, waiting and hoping for the damage that could have been prevented to be repaired.
A motorcycle helmet law could prevent many of these injuries.
JOHN HAMILTON Baltimore