Column: Michael Weeks On Dark Helmet Visors

September 17, 2015

[Opinion column written by MP Michael Weeks]

Whenever there is a spike in violent crimes, where helmets with tinted visors are utilized, the debate calling for the ban of tinted visors raises its head. As far back as May of 2011, the then Minister of National Security – Wayne Perinchief, in response to a spike in violent crimes and the use of helmets with tinted visors during these heinous acts, coupled with the public outcry that ensued, promised to bring legislation to address this dire issue and to outlaw the use of tinted visors once and for all.

Mr Perinchief speaking about banning dark visors in 2011:

Early in 2015, the PLP Caucus had a robust debate discussing the outlawing of tinted visors for the reasons aforementioned – the spike in violent crime and the use of these tinted visors as a veil of protection by those committing such crimes. The recent debate regarding tinted visors is not new.

This writer, in conjunction with Shadow Minister of Transport – Lawrence Scott JP, MP, tabled a Take Note Motion due to be debated in the last Parliamentary Session of the House of Assembly.

Notwithstanding, other matters such as the building of a new Airport, the Americas Cup and the like, took precedence, delaying the debate. However, we fully intend to retable the motion in the upcoming session of the House of Assembly beginning in November of 2015.

The Progressive Labor Party recognizes that there is a minority committing these crimes. However, we made a conscious decision to take the stance of having these accessories to crime – the tinted visors, outlawed and ultimately banned in the interest of public safety.

My friends, this very important matter, and one which we cannot make a political issue, is of national importance. For those who want to make it a political issue, to say why didn’t the PLP do it? Well, just a reminder, before the last election, this vital issue was on the radar of the then Government.

Notwithstanding, we cannot discuss such a vital topic on a whim or just speak about it when it is convenient. Someone may ask, “how will this banning of visors be done?” And certainly, there are several options i.e. opportunities for a visor ‘buy back scheme’, businesses could be given assistance in returning their stock. So, this and other options could be discussed in the legislature.

I remain disturbed, that the Premier of this country in the Royal Gazette of Tuesday September 15th, was reported to have said, “ it is unfair to suddenly ban a vital piece of personal road safety equipment to address the criminal behavior of a small number of individuals”

News Bulletin Mr. Premier aka Minister of National Security, the public has been calling for the banning of tinted visors for quite some time.

The recent poll conducted by the daily, showed that 71% are in favor of the ban of the tined visors. That is nearly equivalent to three out of four persons.

The recent public debate regarding tinted visors is not new. Those of you in the minority regarding this issue, your voice too, has been heard. In my opinion the outcry against tinted visors is not about placing restrictions on law abiding motorists; rather it represents steps the public are willing to take to address recent spikes in violent crime; and perhaps, assist law enforcement in identifying the culprits.

What happens next is uncertain, but we all should prepare for change. Our criminal population thrive on a “business as usual” mentality. We should embrace and consider all avenues that may help us achieve a safe and secure community.

Globally, tinted visors are a concern for larger countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. In certain segments of these jurisdictions, tinted visors are illegal and could result in a traffic citation or fine.

Usually in these cases tinted visors constitute a public safety hazard, and are considered unsafe, particularly at night. When riding at night, visibility tends to be less than ideal. Thus the visor is removed or pushed up.

In other countries with busy urban areas like Malaysia, motor cycles are used in the same fashion we use them in Bermuda. These jurisdictions are also considering banning tinted visors because of their use in hiding the identity of those committing violent crime. Many of our business establishments already have policies in place that prohibit patrons from wearing helmets inside their premises.

When considering any changes in legislation or policy, the needs and safety of the people must come first before any economic or big business consideration. Therefore, when Parliament reconvenes, let’s, as a country, insist that this urgent matter be addressed.

Let’s tackle this post haste.

- Michael Weeks

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Comments (49)

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  1. stunned... says:

    for god sake, stop it. if you ban visors be prepared to ban kerchiefs, stockings, masks etc.

    the real problem is people stealing. find out why and if not possible put your energy into developing a deterrent that is highly effective and executable.

    • Regina says:

      But if we see a bike rider dressed in dark clothing wearing a bandana/kerchief/stocking/mask, that rider should be pulled over! (Call it profiling – I don’t give a rat’s azz – if somebody is wearing a bandana over their face, they ain’t going to church!)

      However, if we see a bike rider dressed in dark clothing wearing a pitch black visor (esp at night!), we can’t pull him over because he looks like everybody else.

      So are you saying we should start pulling over EVERY person wearing a dark visor? Maybe we should and then people will stop using them because they don’t want to randomly get pulled over. I’d get pulled over once and I’d give mine up. Who needs that hassle – not worth it.

      • Person who knows a little says:

        Thank you someone with sense. The point is to take the most used item of concealment out of the norm. There is no need to have the full face tinted visor. If you have a problem with the sun in you eyes the small top tinted visor works just fine.

      • stunned... says:

        in case i wasn’t clear – banning tinted visors is a stupid proposition. when you ban one item you need to look at other items that can be used with equal effect. hell, toilet paper could be used to conceal one’s identity. should we ban that too?

      • bermyguy says:

        so lets start banning black pants, t-shirts and sneakers. heck anything black lets ban it bikes as well n gloves. then it would only be light colors and then the desciption will be “they were wearing all white or all green”. then in five years time everything white and green will get banned. the issue isnt banning visors, its getting to the root of the problem a lack of jobs and higher education. a well educated and job filled society has no need to commit these tyoes of crimes.

    • umok says:

      I disagree with the PLP on this one. Premier Dunkley is right.

    • MAKE MY DAY says:

      Criminals wear these helmets for ONE reason only… Not to be identified!!

      NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!! IT IS WHAT IT IS!!

      • Time Shall Tell says:

        However 99.8% of people you see wearing them are not criminals.

        • @ “Time Shall Tell” and certain others. May I allow you, (if possible)to recall the countless years when we rode our bikes,(of all sizes) without the Law enforcing any helmet upon us…
          We had then statistically less road deaths, (all due to safer riding)yes, we had numerous experienced death on our roads on occasions due to various reasons but basically safer operators of these bikes.

          • Time Shall Tell says:

            Raymond, in those days you had a much smaller population, far less congested roads, far less owners of bikes, far less powerful motorbikes (for the most part except for the odd big bore twins). Are you’re suggesting the law of the land do away with helmets altogether? That would be a huge step backwards from a road safety perspective.

  2. Zevon says:

    Ban the bloody things. Should have done it years ago. It’s so obvious it’s ridiculous.

    • Moojun says:

      How about someone wearing a full face helmet and dark sunglasses? Should we ban those items next? Because that’s what the criminal element will simply switch to using.

      It’s a pointless amendment that will be impossible to enforce. Our legislature should concern themselves with more productive endeavours.

  3. kangoocar says:

    Even though I agree with mp weeks on this one, I will not fail to mention the fact that once AGAIN!!! The plp were going too, do something??? I actually would have given the plp a little respect on this one IF! They had actually written this opinion piece with nothing but the truth, so I will help them, once again!!! Mp weeks should have said, ” we the plp apologize for once again failing the Bermudian population and NOT acting on something we should have?? ” If we are ever elected again ( God help us?? ) we promise to spend less time traveling and occupying a certain table at Port O Call when on the rare occasion we are actually here??? We promise to actually do something for the good of ALL Bermuda!!! See, was that so hard????

    • hmmm says:

      Like most things, the PLP talked a good game, but when it came to any action, they futzed it up or did nothing.

  4. Coffee says:

    Ban helmets altogether , let’s go back to the seventies , helmets optional .

  5. Vulcan Trash Cleaner says:

    WHY dont you lot look at the real problem…your own kids!

    • Regina says:

      I agree, but these people AREN’T KIDS! Most are grown azz adults with kids of their own. It’s downright embarassing!

  6. judas says:

    Let’s ban guns too while we are at it! Oh wait….

  7. idk says:

    you are saying lets ban dark visors but when you think about are they the real problem. its not the helmet that the problem or the dark visors, its the people that are using them. like how needles r used to take blood samples, are you gonna ban needles because some people decide to do drugs with them, NO so why will you do it to visors.

  8. mj says:

    all stores ban head and helmut gear that hides full face.. We need visors sometimes the Sun in Bermuda is very near going west in evening and coming down in the am…The glare is tremendous! how about making sure all local men are employed and given sufficinet funds and education to survive in their island…hmm

    • Time Shall Tell says:

      Come on MJ, that makes too much sense now… You know better than that.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      On one sense I can see the logic from the pro-banners, however it is essentially a reactionary and futile notion, so let’s meet half way. Legislation banning the wearing of helmet in commercial and public premises and banning full face tinted visors but allowing the use of those that come with the flip down eye shades. We live in a sunny country and if I am driving west at the end of the day with the sun right in my face, even with my shades on, I am dangerously blinded. So I use the flip down shade on my helmet that only covers my eyes for additional shading. I also use a full face helmet and do not believe that a ban should be implemented on those as they are a good safety feature… I can attest to this as they have in the past helped kept me from needing major facial reconstruction, so I have continued to wear them in the hopes that I will not need such protection again, but feel better having it.

      • Zevon says:

        The suggestion is that full face helmets are still ok, as long as pnly the top 50% is tinted. So I think it addresses the issues most people have.

  9. chip says:

    helmets lol our country! u cant be that small minded all these bigger problem are we serious people trash etc jobs rent payments helmets thats it

  10. Cranberry says:

    Visors don’t cause crime – helmets do. Ban helmets altogether.

  11. Ban Everything! says:

    Let’s also ban masks, scarves, bandanas, and panty-hose! Oh, don’t forget sunglasses! Ban it all!

    Seriously, this is hilarious. PLP now want a nanny state?

  12. Jeremy Deacon says:

    The debate about tinted visors is starting to become a distraction to the real issues. If we put as much effort into solving the causes of crime as we are doing into tinted visors Bermuda would be a much safer place

    • hmmm says:

      Moral guidance, self worth are missing. If they existed then these crimes would not be happening.

      Raise your children, don’t erase them.

      • hmmm says:

        Oh, and just because they turn 18, your job as a parent doesn’t end.

  13. Anbu says:

    Dumbest suggestion i ever heard. Do these jack@$$es even live up west? Sun in your face on the way to and from work and theyre trying to take away the one thing that protects our eyes. Get a life plp. I take it i can come to mp weeks for my prescription sunglasses then right? Gov gonna cover that cost for me? Things arent cheap u know. Once again the general law abiding public have to suffer instead of the damn cops doing their jobs. Kick in doors u sissies. Criminals do not care about laws.

    • serengeti says:

      How exactly does having dark tint covering your mouth and chin do anything to ‘protect your eyes’?

      No, I didn’t think so.

      • Time Shall Tell says:

        Well serengeti when you’re riding the sun is just one factor, you also have the debris from the many diesel trucks, buses, taxies, etc. plus other small objects that strike you in the face (ever rode into a swarm of those tiny flies?). Also when it’s cold out the visor helps shield the face from the cold, from the heavy downpours of rain or the winds from blasting your face. Rather than having to carry around your helmet plus shades (you always misplace or damage you sunglasses anyway) you have an all in one solution in the tinted visor.

        • serengeti says:

          Well you might want to read again what people are actually suggesting. The discussion might make more sense to you.

          The suggestion is that the top half of a visor can be tinted, as long as the bottom half is clear. That way, the victims, and maybe the security cameras, has a chance to see the bottom half of the face.

          This is the way it’s done in many other places, for exactly the reasons it’s being suggested here.

          • Time Shall Tell says:

            So you plan to invent this new visor? There are dual visor helmets already on the market that come as you suggest but these are the more expensive helmets such as the Nolan. Many people only have the single visor helmets & thus will not have the option of a visor that is only tinted at the top (unless you’re under the impression people are putting car tint on their visors & to this I would inform you this is not the case).

          • B says:

            it’s Not the PLP that want a nanny state it’s 70% of the population.

            It’s not their fault though. The same people distrustful of the government are the same ones who want the government to enact legislation to ban visors in an effort to combat crime. And they’ve only been coaxed into believing it’s a solution by politicians who will use such legislation to say “hey, look at what we done, we’re tough on crime”.

            Like others have said…when does it end? how long before face masks that can be quickly donned and removed are banned? (ski masks, hoodies, balaclavas) how long does it take to put stockings on ones head? Oversized shades are all the fashion rage these days too…

            Even technology could render such legislation useless……case in point:

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=a4gV1gIrSd0&autoplay=1

            http://www.revzilla.com/common-tread/agv-releases-lcd-tinted-visors

            http://www.gizmag.com/uvex-variotronic-helmet-visor-automatically-adjusts-to-light/16459/

            Banning visors is simply applying a solution to a symptom (the symptom being crime) instead of focusing on or fixing the root problems, such as socioeconomic disparity, education disparity, lack of jobs, and affordable housing to name a few.

            Like it was mentioned earlier…how about we just ban all those crime-causing guns??? oh wait…..

        • Varied says:

          I have a semi-opaque visor myself, and that works fine. Will that be sufficient for those who would have the fully tinted ones right now?

  14. N / A says:

    Next, they’ll want to drain the ocean because people drown.

  15. Smarter441 says:

    If we do ban dark visors is there going to be a collection day for everyone to turn theirs in? Who is going to buy clear visors for everyone? What about the accidents that are going to be cause due to sun in people eyes and sun glasses don’t fit under all helmets.

    • Terry says:

      Garbage.
      Assinine comment

      Never mind. Your mind is so small you will need a smaller helmet.

    • ImJustSayin says:

      @smarter441 That is an excellent comment. Good open minded thinker.

  16. Huh says:

    Good all PLP…always “talking” about doing weird stuff. Tinted Helmets aren’t robbers, people are………

  17. Love says:

    Before dark visors, what you used to wear?! SHADES!

  18. ImJustSayin says:

    Why is this idiotic idea even being discuss? Why don’t they look at banning motorcycles because that seems to be how they’re getting away. (tongue in cheek ) Give me a break.

    • steve says:

      How about at the next PLP townhall meeting, an amnesty is offered and everyone can show up and turn in their visors without risk of long term imprisonment? Ridiculous.

  19. 235 says:

    Stupid suggestion. You think these criminals will stop using tinted visors because the rest of us are made to stop? They’re criminals!

  20. dream says:

    what did people do back in the day when there were NO helmets? I rest my case.