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Passage Reading and English Comprehension

This November, I encourage the people of Arkansas to vote NO on a referendum to repeal the state’s motorcycle helmet law. The state’s current helmet law saves hundreds of lives per year, and it is senseless that people should be injured or killed merely because they are too vain to wear a helmet. Furthermore, helmet laws help to reduce public expenditures on health care and have even been shown to deter motorcycle theft. For these reasons, the citizens of Arkansas must oppose this referendum.

One hardly needs to appeal to statistics to show that helmets protect motorcyclists against injury or death. For those who are skeptical, however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) calculates that in an accident helmets reduce the likelihood of fatal injury by 29%. After California passed its helmet law in 1992, that state saw motorcycle-related fatalities decrease by 37% in a single year. These statistics are impossible to ignore. If motorcyclists wish to protect themselves against injury and death, they should wear a helmet whenever they ride.

Many opponents of the helmet law agree that helmets save motorcyclists’ lives, but insist that the decision to wear a helmet should be left to the individual rider. Perhaps this argument would be valid if motorcyclists were the only ones negatively affected by their decision, but this is not the case. A 2002 study by the NHTSA concluded that only about half of all injured motorcyclists were properly insured, which means many of these riders likely relied on public funds to subsidize their healthcare costs. If the citizens of Arkansas choose to repeal the helmet law, we can expect these costs to rise significantly, and at a time when our state is in a financial crisis.

Helmet laws can also help reduce motorcycle theft. Few thieves think to bring a helmet with them when they steal a motorcycle, which makes them much easier for police to spot. In addition to making it easier to apprehend motorcycle thieves and recover stolen bikes, evidence shows that helmet laws can deter motorcycle theft from happening in the first place. After Texas enacted a statewide helmet law, cities there saw rates of motorcycle theft drop by up to 44%. A drop in the rates of motorcycle theft directly reduces law enforcement expenses related to this crime, which is another benefit to all citizens.

Opponents of the helmet law offer two main arguments. First, the law’s detractors argue that properly educating riders is the best way to avoid accidents. I agree entirely; all motorcycle riders should be properly educated and should ride their bikes responsibly. Some accidents, however, are unavoidable, and as I have argued, helmets significantly reduce health care expenditures associated with all accidents. Second, opponents argue that helmet laws infringe on their personal freedom. Again, I agree that the government should avoid constraining individual choice whenever possible, but as I have shown, the decision to wear a helmet does not affect only the rider, so this issue is not a simple matter of individual liberty. The government must not allow a few individuals to make society bear the burden of their irresponsible choices.

In a perfect world, helmet laws would not be necessary because all riders would wear them voluntarily. However, we do not live in a perfect world. Therefore we must require motorcyclists to make this socially responsible decision. As I have argued, helmet laws not only benefit motorcyclists, but all citizens. Please join me this November in voting NO on the referendum to repeal the state helmet law

1433. As used in paragraph 2, which is the best antonym for skeptical?

(a) doubtful
(b) trustworthy
(c) sympathetic
(d) gullible

1434. Which of the following statements, if true, would provide the strongest evidence against the author’s claims in this passage?

(a) Studies show that over 80% of motorcyclists wear a helmet even when not required to do so by law
(b) After enacting its helmet law, Wisconsin saw no significant decrease in healthcare costs related to motorcycle injuries
(c) Automobiles are a much more common target for theft than motorcycles
(d) Only about 15% of motorcycle accidents can be attributed to negligence on the part of the motorcyclist

1435. The main purpose of paragraph 5 is to

(a) expose the logical flaws in potential counterarguments
(b) assert that the helmet law does not encroach upon personal freedom
(c) emphasize the importance of rider education in preventing motorcycle accidents
(d) prove that the author shares common ground with opponents of the law

1436. The tone of the author can best be described as

(a) fiery
(b) rigid
(c) coercive
(d) firm

1437. Which of the following statements can be described as one of the author’s unstated assumptions?

(a) Motorcyclists should be properly educated and should ride responsibly
(b) Helmets help to prevent injury in only the most serious motorcycle accidents
(c) Motorcycle theft is a major problem in Arkansas
(d) Individuals should be responsible for the costs of their own medical care if they bear some responsibility for their injuries

TOTAL

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1. Passage Reading 2. Verbal Logic 3. Non Verbal Logic 4. Numerical Logic

5. Data Interpretation 6. Reasoning 7. Analytical Ability 8. Basic Numeracy

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