North Carolina House Bill 109 will be voted on soon, and if it passes, the current helmet law making helmets mandatory will be repealed.
The proposal was approved by the House Transportation Committee in a divided voice vote, and would allow motorcycle riders older than 21 to have the option to wear or not wear a helmet.
In addition to the age restriction, motorcycle riders are also required to complete a motorcycle safety course, have had a motorcycle license or endorsement for at least one year, and have enough insurance to cover the first $10,000 in medical bills that may result from a crash. However, the only penalty for not having the required insurance is a $25.50 ticket.
Helmet Law Opposition
Rep. John Torbett of Gaston is the primary sponsor of the bill and rides a motorcycle. He admits that when he rides into South Carolina he removes his helmet, as South Carolina the helmet law allows the option to those over 21. He also stated that the fatality difference among those States where motorcycle riders have the option of wearing a helmet “miniscule”.
Helmet Law Supporter
On the other side of the debate is Clay County Fire Chief Brandon Bailey, who believes that helmets do make a difference in the outcome of a crash. Chief Bailey also works for the county’s Emergency Medical Services and said. “I have seen people walk away from a motorcycle wreck with helmets that are cracked and broken. Had there not been a helmet worn, they likely would not have been so fortunate. “ He goes on to say “I understand helmets may not be comfortable or stylish, but how comfortable is death or a permanent injury that could have been prevented?”
The motorcycle helmet law has been a large topic of discussion and debate throughout many States in the past year. One example is the State of Michigan, who repealed the mandatory helmet law in 2012 and now the lawmakers there are getting requests to reinstate the law from members of Michigan insurance and medical industries.