Fair enough, WAID, though I respectfully disagree.
As has already been mentioned here; not wearing your seatbelt doesn't just put you at risk, it also puts other people at risk. Then there's the suffering and cost to other people in dealing with you after you crash without a seatbelt.
You're not going to kill other people by not wearing a helmet while mountain-biking. You can kill other people by not wearing a seatbelt and there's no benefit to not wearing a seatbelt outside legal exemptions. It's a clear example of the courts knowing better than someone who doesn't want to wear a seatbelt just because they don't fancy it.
Plus, the whole premise of law and policing is that the courts "know better than you". If having laws is evidence of a "nanny state", then so be it. I may not agree with every single law on a personal (if not professional) level, but "sticking my oar in" is my job.
I'm being slightly polemic but not solely. I did also say, at no risk to anyone other than themselves which covers off the rear passenger point. I don't buy into the whole, it isn't very nice for those who have to come and clear up later, we did sign up for the role (or any emergency service) knowing that gruesome was in the job description.
The courts and the law can protect me from others but I question how much it should protect me from myself.
When mountain climbers start injuring themselves sufficiently frequently as to be a major burden on the emergency services - and enough of them stop wearing safety equipment - then perhaps the state would step in and legislate.
So it's only the burden in terms of cost that's the issue? I would say the state at that point shouldn't interfere, if they're just worried about saving money.
Some more reasons for mandatory seat belt wearing:
- It doesn't matter how good a driver you are, or how safe your car is. Other people, and people in lorries, can drive into you.
- People used to view a passenger belting up as an afront to their driving - people didn't want to be rude so didn't belt up - mandatory seatbelts remove that social stigma
Same applies for the first point, if you want to protect yourself then you can and with regards to the latter, Having asked some older people nearby nobody has heard of that as a notion. So perhaps that's just something where you're from?