The Michigan Daily
th itrigan Baflu
Vol. XCV, No. 8-S
95 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by Students at
The University of Michigan
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board
SINCE SEPTEMBER of 1969, Michigan has had a
mandatory helmet law, and some people want it
repealed. On May 12 at Kennedy Square, about 150 motor-
cyclists gathered to protest what they believe to be an un-
fair, over-protective law. Their slogan, "Let those who
ride decide," is representative of their view that gover-
nment enforcement of helmet wearing infringes on their
freedom of choice. They advocate a tougher state licensing
policy and improved motorcycle education.
Certainly, accidents can be curbed through better
education and stricter licensing standards, but inevitably,
motorcycle accidents are not always caused by the motor-
cyclist. The number of fatalities incurred in motorcycle
accidents is greater than the number of motorcycle ac-
cidents. Motorcycles are the only motor vehicle for which
this statistic is true. For example, of 4,878 accidents in-
volving motorcycles in 1980, there were 4,960 fatalities.
Clearly, wearing a helmet is in the best interest of the
But there is a serious concern among motorcycle riders
and others, that the government's imposition of a man-
datory helmet law is both an infringement on personal
rights, and a breach of government power. Opponents of
the helmet law don't want the government deciding what is
best for the people. Personal safety, they insist, is an in-
dividual's concern, not the states'.
Government, however, does have a responsibility to the
people. Operating a motorcycle is not a right, it is a
privilege. Government enforces test standards, road
regulations and safety inspections which are all designed
to protect the individual and the state. These rules;
have evolved from a combination of research and common
sense which demonstrates the necessity of certain policies.
According to 1980 statistics, injury and death attributed
to traffic accidents accounted for roughly $14.2 billion of
lost production to society. In that same year, $18.7 billion
was spent on government programs for survivors of fatal
accident victims, administrative costs of public assistance
programs, legal and court fees, emergency services, and
All traffic laws limit personal freedom to some extent
and the mandatory helmet law is no exception. But such an
infringement on individual choice is a small sacrifice and
part of a larger responsibility to society.
The Michigan Daily encourages input from
our readers. Letters should be typed, triple
spaced, and sent to the Daily Opinion Page, 420
Maynard, Ann Arbor, Michilan 48109.
Thursday, May 30, 1985
Spring time illusions
By Karen Klein
I spent the first four days between graduation and
spring term drinking beer, uncorking champagne, ex-
I want to know what happened to spring term. May is cnanging audresses, anu moving irom an aparment ino
melting away with Memorial Day and it's nearly midter- the sun room of a big old four story house.
ms. So where did spring term go?
"The people who lived here before kept their stereo and
It's not supposed to disappear this way, like winter term albums in this room, and some plants," my best friend
and fall before that. Spring term is supposed to be filled explained, "It's kind of small."
with lazy days and careless nights. Long, empty expanses
of time to be filled with items from the LIST. "Oh," I said, "I won't be in it much anyway."
The LIST is a computer printout of all the shelved plans "It doesn't have a closet and there's no space to put a
and possibilities from fall and winter which I compiled bed'"she said.
on a cold snowy night in February at the UNYN computer "No problem," I said, "The carpet's thick." I built
center. Actually, it was 3 a.m. in the midst of MP3, the shelves under the windows and stuffed my underwear into
third computer program for my 283 class. I was strong the bathroom cabinet. I tacked my list to the bulletin
numbly at the green glow of the Ontel screen when I made board on the wall and went to U Cellar for my required
the decision to stay in Ann Arbor for spring term. My reading and Voltaire.
reasoning was based on the premise that all of my time Iwas very organized. I wrote a few letters and read the
was being consumed by this computer class and first chapters of Candide. I went running in the Arb, hit
therefore, I couldn't pursue my many interests or enjoy Rick's for Happy Hour, saw 'Singin' in the Rain' with a
my other classes. I didn't have the time. date, and signed up for a photography class at the Y.
But in spring, with the warm weather, casual attitude, I think I lost the list in the small hours between a large
lenient classes, and only six credits, time would abound in g e yyrtygandkae km.Itsyhard to say
tantalizing possibility, like the ice cream under glass at looked through the stack of notebooks and folder on the
Lovn; pooful mypririt lit te oly ric ta tothebookshelf and even the pile of laundry in the corner but I
Loving Spoonful, my priority list the only price tag to the couldn't find it. Then one morning, after a particularly
teasing sweetness of spring, late night, I slept through a class. The first slept through
I created a Spring-list file and inserted the following: spring class. And then one night, my housemates decided
to-barbecue and set up a volley ball net in the back yard.
1. Running through the Arb before breakfast. The net didn't come down, and the barbecues lasted longer
2. Reading Voltaire in French. each evening.
3. Playing pool in the Union. And suddenly, as I slept later, the days grew shorter,
4. Writing letters to friends from high school, freshman and problem sets become more complicated, and
year, camp, and my grandparents. someone stole my bicycle, and I found out that Kerrytown
5. Stopping at the archeology museum near the LSA was closed on Sundays and Fuller Pool didn't open till
building, and the planetarium on the top of the Exhibit Memorial Day.
6. Comparing happy hours around town. Recently, while strolling through the Diag, with Can-
7. Swimming at Fuller pool. dide in hand, I bumped into an old friend from freshman
8. Browsing through Kerrytown. year.
9. Taping my records.
10. Bike riding to all lakes and parks within 20 miles of We sat down to exchange stories and a Michigan Alumnus
Ann Arbor. photographer asked if he could take our picture. "The sun
11. Going to old movies. is just right," he said, "And you look so happy to see each
12. Camping out up north. other." We smiled at that and stayed on to watch the sun
13. Reading the Wall Street Journal. set. It occurred to me then, that the list was only a general
14. Taking up photography. guide. like supplementary reading, that could stretch
15. Falling in love. beyond the bounds of spring term.
16. Beating my roommate at tennis.
17. Hanging out with my friends. Memorial Day is over, and with it, the illusion of
18. Writinga novel. limitless time. Still, the unique flavor of spring is in the
Breathless, I hurried home to share the list's potential air, the pool is open, breezes are balmy, and the meod is
Brth essoo rr.He wasmskeptical. easy. There's time for long bike rides and Voltaire, even if
withmy oommte.I never beat my roommate at tennis.
"No way are you gonna do all that," he said.
"If I play every day, my game will improve," I said.
"If ..." he said knowingly, then added, "What ar-
cheology museum near the LSA building?" Klein is the spring Daily Opinion Editor.
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