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Actor Continues To Oppose Mandatory Helmet Law Despite Crash

March 1, 1989

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) _ Actor Gary Busey, an outspoken opponent of mandatory motorcycle helmet laws, said Wednesday that his near-fatal crash had not changed his mind.

″I could be a vegetable″ if he had worn a helmet, Busey said during a news conference, his first public appearance since the Dec. 4 accident. He conceded that helmets should be mandatory for riders ages 16 to 21.

But Busey, 44, said he will continue to oppose laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets. Claiming his position was ″pro-choice,″ Busey argued that helmets impair motorcyclists’ peripheral vision, hearing and neck movement.

He said his brain surgeons told him a helmet would not have lessened his injuries. He had a visible scar from his right ear to the top of his head.

″I could have been more seriously injured″ with a helmet, Busey said. ″I could have broken my neck.″

Busey said he was suffering some ″post-traumatic amnesia,″ but that ″I feel real good to be here. ... It’s good to be alive.″ He described his recovery as nearly 100 percent complete.

He blamed his accident, in which his head struck a curb, on a combination of excessive speed and an oil puddle.

″If I had been going 25 (mph), I would have seen the oil,″ he said.

Busey said he is eager to return to work on the film ″Howling at the Moon,″ put on hold when he was injured.

Busey underwent surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, then was transferred to Daniel Freeman Hospital for rehabilitation.

Busey gained fame from his performance in the title role in ″The Buddy Holly Story″ in 1978. His other credits include ″Lethal Weapon,″ ″A Star is Born,″ ″Carny″ and ″The Bear.″

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