In today’s entry of Your Modern World, we find motorcyclists in Nigeria are using dried pumpkin shells as helmets in an attempt to comply with new helmet laws. Many of them are being arrested, yet they still refuse to comply with the law.
The first question a rational human being asks is “why not wear a helmet?” Good question. The first reason is because they’re afraid the helmets will be stolen. This is especially problematic for the motorcyclists who use their bikes as a taxi to get people through the insane Nigerian traffic; the drivers claim they get to the destination and the passenger runs off with the helmet, which costs $29US. That may not sound like a lot, but consider they only make about fifty cents a ride.
Okay, fair enough. What else?
I know some bikers who don’t wear helmets, and their arguments include: helmets restrict vision; helmets dampen hearing; helmets are uncomfortable; you don’t get to feel the wind in the face; forcing helmets on us hampers personal freedom.
Not a big deal in Nigeria. No, it’s their next concern that makes them a prime candidate for a Your Modern World entry:
Stories have also appeared in the local papers highlighting passengers’ fears that the helmets could be used by motorcyclists to cast spells on their clients, making it easy for them to be robbed.
“Some people can put juju inside the helmets and when they are worn the victim can either lose consciousness or be struck dumb,” passenger Kolawole Aremu told the Daily Trust newspaper.
Yes, you read that right: they’re afraid of magic!
I would kill to see ABATE present that argument to the state legislature.