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Make car drivers wear helmets, too

Star-Bulletin columnist Rob Perez's contention that motorcyclists should be required by law to wear helmets ("Helmetless bikers ought to be illegal," Raising Cane, Aug. 4) is blatant and unfair discrimination against two-wheelers.

If you are going to require helmets, require them for everyone. All of the arguments for requiring helmets for motorcyclists apply to other road users as well. Head injuries often are the cause of death in car accidents, so a mandatory helmet law applying to all motor vehicle users certainly would save many more lives than one targeted only at motorcyclists.

John Wendell

Wearing a helmet doesn't save lives

Rob Perez's column about requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets is spin-doctoring at its worst.

He tries to make his readers believe that because helmetless motorcyclists are killed, they are responsible for their deaths or injuries and the associated cost to taxpayers. His statistics fail to show who or what causes accidents or why they occur.

Most accidents and deaths occur as a result of excessive speed and alcohol or both, not the failure to wear helmets. If Perez is so concerned about how much he is paying in tax dollars for uninsured accident victims' medical expenses, he should educate automobile drivers. Tell them to stop talking on the phone, putting on make-up or shaving while driving, and to use their turn signals, rear-view and side mirrors before making lane changes so they won't hit me.

I see driver negligence every morning when I ride my motorcycle from Makakilo to Kaneohe. I often have to speed up to avoid being overrun by tailgaters.

Most bikers ride responsibly. That means riding sober and within the posted speed limits or following the flow of traffic. Some of us choose to wear helmets, others choose not to. Regardless, we are more alert on the roads than most car drivers seem to be.

Ed Josiah
Harley Owners Group, Honolulu

Fuel-efficient cars answer to high costs

I agree with Michael Nomura's assessment on driving fuel efficient vehicles ("Fuel-efficiency cures high gas prices," Letters, Star-Bulletin, Aug. 2).

I'd like to add that we still pay the lowest gasoline price in the industrialized world. During the oil embargo of 1973, people bought smaller, more efficient cars and gas prices dramatically dropped, which forced Detroit to build more small, economical vehicles.

The cost of gas will only continue to escalate as long as we continue to buy gas-guzzlers. The way to bring prices down is to buy a vehicle like a Geo Metro, as Nomura indicates. Toyota now makes a car that can get 47 miles on a gallon of gas (city driving), but I don't see people rushing to buy one.

Bob Akamine

'Nationwide' coverage doesn't include Hawaii

As we all know, the Americas Cup is the most prestigious and well-known sailing competition in the world.

It was captured by New Zealand in 1995, which has since successfully defended it. The next defense is scheduled for February 2003. The ultimate challenger will be determined by a three-month series of round-robin match races beginning Oct. 1, known as the Louis Vuitton Series.

The challengers are made up of teams from Sweden, France, Switzerland, Great Britain, Italy and the United States. The Louis Vuitton Series promises to be every bit as exciting and suspenseful as the final challenge itself, and will have live nationwide television coverage provided by the Outdoor Life Network.

But guess what? Nationwide does not include Hawaii. Can you believe that?

Mike Kennedy

Help the elderly live by taking care of them

Instead of the state of Hawaii encouraging assisted dying, as Roland Halpern insists (Letters, Star-Bulletin, Aug. 4), why don't we encourage assisted living?

Many of these elderly whom Halpern refers to as being depressed or in failing health could be consoled compassionately if other people, such as their own families, would take the time to talk and be with them. Families would be spared the violence of suicide if only they would provide encouragement to live, instead of incentive to die.

Offering assisted dying is akin to saying to our elderly, "Your life is no longer worth living, do us a favor and go away."

I know that is not what our creator had in mind when he said, "Not one sparrow will fall to the ground without His knowledge; you are worth more than many sparrows." The sanctity of life should not and cannot be compromised.

James Roller

Gore will be candidate by doing nothing

I'm really underwhelmed by the degree of Gore-bashing that's been going on. Al Gore was robbed of the last election not only by a Florida electoral process that was rigged by experts, but also by the sexual shenanigans of his boss. His loss had nothing to do with his own abilities. By 2004, I think the country will have figured that out.

This latest challenge, by Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, is a clinker. President Bush has, in fact, been doing a mediocre job with the war on terror, but you can't say that in public if you're fomenting an internal Democratic Party squabble with Gore.

Gore has spent his adult life surviving the brutal and perpetual infighting of the Democratic Party. He is absolutely not a quitter, and he is essentially in the position of Bill Clinton in the dreary winter of 1994: By doing nothing, he'll wind up owning the political center. And "nothing" does include staying off the incumbent president's back about what he still has the best instincts for: fighting international terror.

Mike Pettingill

How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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