August 26th, 2012| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


Last year, a biker riding without a helmet hit his brakes for some reason, lost control of his vehicle, went over the handlebars, hit his head on the pavement, and was taken to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, NY, where he was pronounced dead.

Philip A. Contos, 55, of Parish, north of Syracuse, would have survived, State Troopers said, if he had been wearing a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet.

The irony of it all was that Contos was maneuvering a 1983 Harley-Davidson, along with 500 other bikers, in a helmet-protest ride organized by the Onondaga County chapter of American Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE)! The organization encourages the voluntary use of helmets but opposes mandatory helmet laws.

Onondaga ABATE has held this 30-mile ride from Syracuse to Lake Como annually for over a decade on the July 4th weekend. Those taking part in the helmet-protest ride were told that it was up to them to decide whether to wear helmets or not. Some did. Others didn’t. Contos didn’t.

“He was one of the public who wanted to join in support of helmet freedom,” said Thomas Alton, state president of ABATE. Apparently Contos wasn’t a member of the organization, but had 30 years of motorcycling experience. “I don’t believe we’ve ever had a fatality on any group run of any kind,” Alton declared.

New York is one of the 19 states in the union (plus D.C.) that require all motorcyclists to wear helmets.

(For ye olde state of Texas, as long as you are 21 and have medical insurance, they don’t care whether you wear headgear or not. Full disclosure: your humble blogger has a motorcycle license and does wear a helmet whenever he is on the road operating said vehicle.)

The use of DOT-compliant helmets has dropped over 10% from 2009 to 2010. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data show that motorcycle fatalities annually are around 4,000, and that 42% of fatally injured bikers were not wearing helmets. At least half of these would have survived if they had been.

I am sorry for Mr. Contos and his bereaved loved ones, and I am sympathetic with those who protest the hyper-regulatory instincts of government.

But one has to confess that most laws are in effect for the protection of society and the individual. And the authorities that promulgate these civic laws are empowered by God.

Nothing wrong with biblical law, either.

So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
For we know that the Law is spiritual ….
… the Law is good.
Romans 7:12, 14, 16

God does make demands of his children; maintenance of relationship involves responsibility.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
John 14:15

What the Bible is against, though, is self-righteous legalism: the (vain) attempt to keep God’s law by one’s own resources for one’s own glory.

But law itself, God endorses.

“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law ….
Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments,
and teaches others to do the same,
shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;
but whoever keeps and teaches them,
he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:18–19

Again, here’s Jesus:

“He who has My commandments and keeps them
is the one who loves Me;
and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father,
and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
John 14:21

That’s quite a promise!

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