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Born to Be WildThe Rise of the American Motorcyclist$
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Randy D. McBee

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469622729

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469622729.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

The Value of a Slow Break-in Cannot Be Overemphasized

The Value of a Slow Break-in Cannot Be Overemphasized

The Highway Safety Act of 1966 and the End of the Golden Age of Motorcycling

(p.127) 4 The Value of a Slow Break-in Cannot Be Overemphasized
Born to Be Wild

Randy D. McBee

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the arguments in support of helmets and the emergence of a motorcycle rights movement to oppose them. While helmet advocates struggled to establish an ideological focus during these early years, divisions among riders based on class were particularly conspicuous and responsible for the establishment of helmet regulation and the conflict that undermined effective resistance to it. Support for helmets was never simply about the loss of life but the loss of middle-class life, and opposition to helmets was never simply about freedom or individual rights. While motorcyclists began organizing “freedom of the road” demonstrations at state capitals across the country, they also consistently blamed these middle-class riders for the rise in the number of accidents and fatalities and for the enactment of helmet laws and other forms of regulation.

Keywords:   helmet laws, helmet regulation, freedom of the road, middle-class riders, motorcycle rights movement, class divide

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