Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Motorcyclist dies in anti-helmet protest crash

A motorcyclist died after crashing during a rally against mandatory helmet laws in America. Police said he would have been saved had he been wearing a helmet.
Motorcyclist dies in anti-helmet protest crash
Philip Contos from New York was riding a 1983 Harley Davidson at a protest organised by American Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE), a group that opposes mandatory helmet laws.
Mr Contos, 55 years old, lost control of his bike at the protest in Onondaga, New York, and was sent over the handlebars. He hit his head on the pavement and was pronounced dead in hospital.
ABATE, which has chapters across America, has held the ride annually for the last 11 years. Mr Contos was not part of the group, but had joined the rally to support its cause against New York helmet law.
New York is one of 20 US states that makes wearing a crash helmet mandatory. ABATE says it supports 'helmet freedom' in which it encourages the voluntary use of them but opposes their legal necessity.
It's reported that some states have overturned mandatory helmet laws because of lobbying by motorcyclists. Around 550 bikers had turned up to the Onondaga rally.
The group also lobbies for a motorcycle awareness section to be added to the US driving permit exam - this is its main cause, said a group spokesperson.
Thomas Alton of ABATE said: "I don't believe we've ever had a fatality on any group run of any kind. An officer of my group said there may have been equipment difficulties for the rider."
"Apparently he was riding a motorcycle that wasn't his usual one. Some vehicles have different quirks."

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