As state law enforcement tries to reduce the number of vehicular fatalities, new legislation has passed a House Finance subcommittee that would make helmets optional for Tennessee motorcyclists.
This is not the first time this bill has turned up in the states legislature. Tennessee is one of 19 states that have primary helmet laws; the proposed legislation would permit motorcyclists over the age of 21 to ride helmetless.
Besides the age restriction, riders must also have private health coverage, not including Tenncare.
However, the reason for allowing motorcyclists to ride without helmets is in question. A perk cited by supporters of doing away with the Tennessee motorcycle helmet law is that motorcycle registrations rise after helmet laws are repealed.
A tourism boost that could benefit Tennessee's economy is also suggested as a reason to remove helmet restrictions. Yet, there is a caveat to the economic boost theory. If riders sustain traumatic brain injuries, they may be eligible for state Tenncare. Then, the state would pay the cost. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69 percent.
Opponents, such as the Tennessee Highway Patrol, contest the bill and remind citizens about the importance of highway safety for all motor vehicle drivers. According to the state patrol, the reality is that people will die and the number of fatalities is the only unknown factor.
Motorcycle collisions and accidents also affect state hospitals and trauma centers, along with increased medical costs.
Riding, like driving, is a privilege. That privilege may be subjected to state regulation just like set speed limits and driver's license requirements.
With more than 167,000 motorcycles registered in Tennessee, the debate about whether motorcyclists should or should not wear helmets is a serious one.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident because of another drivers negligence, contact a personal injury lawyer from the law office of Greg Coleman Law immediately. Our experienced Knoxville motorcycle accident attorneys can help you determine your legal options.
Call (865) 247-0080 for a free case evaluation.