Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®: Various States Try to Repeal Motorcycle Helmet Laws
If one word could describe the history of motorcycle laws in the United States, it might be ‘dynamic’. In 1967, to increase motorcycle helmet use, the federal government required the states to enact helmet use laws in order to qualify for certain federal safety programs and highway construction funds. It was obvious by the early 1970s that the incentives had worked and almost all states had universal motorcycle helmet laws.
However, by 1968 a pattern of repeal, reenactment and amendment of motorcycle helmet laws had begun. And in 1976, states successfully lobbied Congress to prohibit the Department of Transportation from assessing financial penalties on states without helmet laws.
Current Motorcycle Helmet Laws – Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®
Most states have some type of motorcycle helmet use law in place. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have laws in place mandating the use of helmets for all motorcyclists while twenty-eight states require only some motorcyclists to wear a helmet. Currently there are only three states that have no restrictions governing helmet use: Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire.
Possible Helmet Law Changes for 2013
Some states are looking to make changes to their current helmet laws, so before you hit the open road this season, it is important to determine what the helmet laws are in your state.
Nevada: A bill has been introduced to the Nevada State Senate that would repeal the motorcycle helmet law for riders over twenty-one who have at least one year of experience and have passed a safety course.
Tennessee: The Motorcyclist Liberty Restoration Act, currently being examined in both the Tennessee House and Senate, would allow riders over twenty-one to ride without a helmet.
Washington: Washington State Senate Bill 5143 would repeal the helmet law for riders over the age of eighteen, saying that wearing a helmet should be a rider’s choice.
Nebraska: Nebraska’s LB393 would allow riders over twenty-one to ride without a helmet, but would require all motorcyclists to wear eye protection.
North Carolina: North Carolina is attempting to make changes to the law that would allow riders over age eighteen, with at least twelve months of experience, to ride without a helmet; however, riders who choose to not wear a helmet would have to carry $10,000 in medical coverage.
Missouri: Missouri lawmakers are pushing to repeal their motorcycle helmet law during August when hundreds of thousands of riders are making their way to Sturgis, South Dakota for the motorcycle rally. Lawmakers in Missouri claim thousands of motorcycle riders avoid Missouri due to their helmet laws.
An attempt in January to repeal Virginia’s motorcycle helmet law was unsuccessful, but if attempts in these other states are successful this year, they will join the thirty-one other states which currently make helmets optional for many of their riders.
Know Before You Ride
If you are going to be traveling through numerous states this year on your way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally or another type of fun summer excursion, it is important to know what the motorcycle helmet laws are in all of the states you will be riding through. If a state requires motorcyclists to wear a helmet, then it is important to abide by those laws.
At Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®, we have been championing motorcyclists’ rights for over 35 years and we fight aggressively for injured motorcyclists and their families. Call us today to learn more about our law firm or BAM, our free roadside and legal assistance program. We Ride—We Care—We Win!
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