Ask Amy: Motorcycling mama refuses to wear helmet

2014-08-01T00:00:00Z Ask Amy: Motorcycling mama refuses to wear helmetBy Amy Dickinson Tribune Content Agency Arizona Daily Star
August 01, 2014 12:00 am  • 

DEAR AMY: How can I persuade my motorcycle-riding mom to wear a helmet?

She wears an armored leather jacket and other protective gear, but she says that a helmet is too inconvenient and takes away from the joy of riding.

She said that if anything happens to her, I’ll be well provided for. Even if that’s true, I want my mom around for a long time. Could you give me an answer that I could show her? — Terrified

DEAR TERRIFIED: Worse, perhaps, even than dying from a motorcycle accident would be the prospect of your mother surviving a motorcycle crash with a traumatic brain injury.

No amount of providing for your family in advance could possibly prepare family members for the years of devastation (not to mention expense, etc.) in caring for a family member with a traumatic brain injury.

I checked statistics compiled from more than 100,000 motorcycle crashes published in 2009 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pubs/811208.pdf). Share this chilling report with your mom. As motorcycle helmet laws change and are relaxed from state to state, statistics show that deaths and injuries from crashes rise proportionally.

From another NHTSA report titled “Motorcycle Safety Program”:

“While 20 percent of passenger vehicle crashes result in injury or death, an astounding 80 percent of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death.”

Motorcycle crashes and fatalities are rising each year, with the most dramatic increase in the over-40 age group. Helmet use is directly related to fatalities and brain injuries requiring long-term medical care.

I hope your mother has bought not only life insurance but also long-term-care insurance.

DEAR AMY: We have a 21-year-old son who will be a junior in college. We have decided to rent an off-campus apartment for him to share with another student this year.

Since we are paying the rent, we want him to be responsible for the security deposit. He is not happy about this and believes that, since we paid for his dormitory, we should also pay all costs for the apartment.

He is working part time this summer and is making a nice salary. The security deposit is $1,000.

Amy, we love our son very much, but he is a slob. His dorm room was never cleaned. He had dirty dishes everywhere, clothes on the floor and never swept or vacuumed.

He does a minimal amount of cleaning when he’s home and only when we insist. My husband and I think he needs to have a stake in the apartment, or he will treat it the way he does his room.

We don’t want to pay rent and then lose the security deposit because of his neglect.

Maybe if he realizes his money is in jeopardy he will be more apt to respect his surroundings. What are your feelings on this? — Parents Looking to Share the Load

DEAR PARENTS: I think you’re spot-on.

Explain to your slob son that you are, in fact, paying all of his housing costs (lucky him). His $1,000 security deposit will be held and then returned to him in full when he leaves the apartment in an acceptable condition.

When he leaves his apartment clean and undamaged and receives his money back, he will have those funds to invest in his next apartment. It’s a beautiful system — and also a great way for your son to get a clue.

DEAR AMY: This is for “Granny,” who lived across the country from her young grandson and was looking for a way to connect with him.

Our son and daughter-in-law live 900 miles away, but they FaceTime us almost every evening. Nothing warms the heart more than when our grandson hears our voices and he crawls over to their iPad and smiles.

This has truly made their living 900 miles away tolerable. We are blessed that our son and daughter-in-law have made the commitment to keep us connected with our grandson. — Happy Gran

DEAR HAPPY: Technology has enabled far-flung family members and friends to enjoy one another in unique and wonderful ways. I should have suggested this regular “FaceTime” to “Granny,” and I hope she and her family adopt your great suggestion.

Contact Amy Dickinson by email: askamy@tribune.com

Follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook. Amy Dickinson’s memoir, “The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town That Raised Them” (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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