Three more states considering less restrictive helmet laws

by Jeff on March 15, 2009

By Jeff Cobb
Motorcycle Safety News

With Missouri making definite strides toward allowing motorcyclists over 21 to ride without helmets, legislators in Nevada, Maryland and Nebraska are proposing to do the same.

If successful, they could join the 60 percent of American states that since 1975 have modified their formerly universal mandatory helmet laws.

Nevada’s Assembly Bill 300 (AB300) – if made law – would permit riders over 21 who have been licensed at least one year, and have passed a safety course to ride without a helmet. Nebraska’s Legislative Bill 200 (LB200) is aimed at exempting riders over 21, and those 16 to 20 could ride without helmets if they passed a safety course. And Maryland’s Senate Bill 766 (SB766) also would permit riders over 21 to ride un-helmeted who have two or more years experience and who have passed a safety course. All three states would exempt passengers over 21, and still require eye protection.

The Nebraska bill, introduced Jan. 12 by freshman state Sen. Charlie Janssen (R), appears deadlocked in committee, and may not make it to a floor vote, although Janssen predicted within five years similar legislation could pass.

The Maryland attempt was sponsored by Anne Arundel County Sen. John Astle (D), and other senators. It was first read Feb. 6, discussed in a hearing March 10, with no action taken, and opponents seem as outspoken as proponents for this bill.

Advocates remain hopeful for the Nevada bill. Introduced March 11, by Assemblyman Don Gustavson (R), and other sponsors, it has not yet been officially discussed in a committee hearing. But AB300 must compete for attention with 1,200 other bills in a (short) 120-day legislative session, so it also may be too soon to predict its potential.

In recent years a seemingly worsening American motorcycle safety record has received much attention, and perhaps one of the biggest points of contention has centered on the helmet issue.

An informal polling by Motorcycle Safety News of non-riders – who may be less savvy to riders’ concerns – found they expressed disbelief that states would soften helmet laws. Typically people see helmets as unquestionably helpful, and ask why a state would ever choose not to mandate them.

But things are much less black and white for some riders.

Whether helmets are of value or not, many riders see mandatory helmet laws as an infringement on their liberty.

An outspoken representative of this sentiment is John Bland, Nevada Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) representative, and president of Northern Nevada ABATE (A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education).

Bland, 55, owns and rides antique Harley Davidson, Indian, Honda and BSA motorcycles. He describes himself as “very conservative,” and a “self-made person.”

In his lifetime, he’s been entrusted with overseeing a $300 million construction project and buying the small historic town in which he now lives. He speaks of personal responsibility as an inalienable right, and as something the state need not overly concern itself with.

Echoing a sentiment held by the MRF, Bland said helmet laws are not unlike gun laws in that they are a trust put in the hands of citizens.

In fact, allowing Americans to make their own choices – including life or death decisions – is necessary to develop mature citizens, he said.

These freedoms make America special, he said, and he would not deprive anyone of them, least of all himself.

”To me, riding a motorcycle is one of the most enjoyable ways I have found [to partake] of the American dream of freedom and taking responsibility for my own actions,” Bland said.

He said, however, government officials are not often accustomed to people who are not looking for handouts or a nanny state to be established for their own good.

But to Bland, having legislators force him to wear a helmet is “like the government putting its strongholds around my head.”

A mandatory helmet law exceeds Bland’s view of where government responsibility stops, and where a citizen’s ought to begin.

Bland questioned the motives of safety agencies like the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA), and said he suspects it may be trying to justify its own existence by skewing data to paint a worse picture of motorcycle safety.

Other motorcycle rights advocates have expressed similar distrust for NHTSA’s consistent push for all to wear helmets.

Bland said he has done his own digging through NHTSA’s data, however, and has formed different opinions.

For example, nationwide, motorcyclists account for 6 percent of traumatic brain injuries, whereas bicyclists account for 7 percent, pedestrians 13 percent, and occupants of enclosed motor vehicles, 62 percent.

But if others do worse, Bland asked, why are motorcycle riders being singled out?

“NHTSA never talks about putting a helmet in a car,” Bland said.

Why?

Only because it would be “socially unacceptable.”

Others have said the same of skiers, snowboarders, rock climbers, and others who for whatever reason escape scrutiny.

Bland went on to say several states without mandatory universal helmet laws experience fewer deaths than his state.

“I would like NHTSA to explain to me why all those states have fewer fatalities per 100,000 registrations, than Nevada with a helmet law,” Bland said.

Bland said helmets could interfere with peripheral vision, hearing, and can fatigue the neck or even break it through whiplash in an accident.

“It’s very possible that these helmets are killing people,” Bland said, “They are not the safety device they are billed for.”

Nor is Bland alone. Nevadans raised similar concerns in a 2005 senate committee meeting to discuss similar (and unsuccessful) proposed helmet legislation.

And lawmakers like Nevada’s Gustavson have been listening.

“I read testimony by somebody who was hit by an unaware motorist and was able to prove that no impact was sustained by the helmet,” Gustavson wrote in response to questions by Motorcycle Safety News, “yet the force of the helmet caused damage to the spine which caused permanent paralysis,”

As is the case in other states, attempts to modify helmet laws in Nevada have come and gone over the years.

“I first introduced this type of legislation back in 1997 on behalf of some constituents,” Gustavson wrote, “I myself am not a rider although I have always objected to this law due to the freedom of choice issue.”

Likewise, Sen. Janssen of Nebraska – also not a rider – said his vote is for freedom, and disagreed with bureaucrats who wish to force helmets back on American riders.

He, like others, sees universal mandatory laws as a quick fix for a problem that is not so simple or cut and dry.

“These types of organizations will say anything they can to put the fear in people when they are debating these issues,” Janssen said of NHTSA and others.

While Janssen said he would wear a helmet if he did ride, he denied helmets were equivalent to seatbelts in automobiles.

And in the mean time, he said other important variables relevant to motorcyclist safety are not being addressed.

“I think it has a lot to do with motorists,” Janssen said, “The motorcycle riders really have to be defensive drivers.”

Policy makers would be better served to do more to change the way distracted motorists drive, he said.

And aside from philosophical and scientific debates, the push for less restrictive helmet laws is being billed as a major economy booster.

“I do believe this would be a revenue enhancement for the state of Nevada,” Gustavson wrote, “It is no secret that motorcyclists spend substantial amounts of money … California, our neighbor to the west, used to account for a large portion of motorcycle sales. That is not the case anymore. Obviously that equates to fewer sales and less jobs which equates to less sales taxes and payroll taxes.”

Likewise, Bland said, he could foresee increased tourism, particularly by riders from California  – which in 1992 reinstated its universal helmet law.

Bland said sales, ownership and ridership sharply increase when states soften their helmet laws.

Amending Nevada’s law could generate millions, he said – without raising taxes – through increased motorcycle sales and tourism.

He pointed to Florida as a case example.

In 2000, Florida modified its mandatory helmet law, and Bland estimated $3 billion has so far been raised. And while deaths have increased, he said, it is because so many more riders are now on Florida’s roads.

“Fatalities have gone down in Florida if you look at the increased registrations, Bland said.

The belief is that most riders appreciate not being forced to wear a helmet, and in many cases, this would appear true.

But not in all cases.

Several motorcyclists interviewed – including an ABATE newsletter editor in Brevard County, Fla. – said they are not as keyed up about helmets, nor are they convinced it is not always better to wear one.

Included among riders who believe in helmets is NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson, who found it surprising Florida is seen as a positive example.

He said NHTSA did a post-2000 study that found revenues gained came at the cost of healthcare payouts and lost lives.

“The analysis we did in Florida was one of the most carefully researched pieces of research we have done,” Tyson said, “Florida has paid a steep price for the repeal of their helmet laws.”

NHTSA also studied Texas, Louisiana and Pennsylvania which each softened their helmet laws.

“Every state that has repealed its helmet laws has seen an increase in the rate of fatalities,” Tyson said.

He added that studies have shown helmets give on average a 37 percent better chance of surviving a crash, and disputed an assertion one critic made that registrations and deaths typically parallel.

“He needs to go back and look at the study because we adjusted for the rate of registrations. And if he does not like the way we did the analysis, he needs to go back and look at the independent analysis they did in Pittsburgh,” Tyson said of a 2008 University of Pittsburgh study that corroborated NHTSA findings in Pennsylvania.

“We have nothing to gain by presenting a false picture of what happened,” Tyson said. “We are a scientifically honest agency.”

Further, Tyson said, NHTSA has no authority to implement helmet laws. Legislation is under the purview of individual states.

Even so, after NHTSA’s study, he said, Louisiana chose to reinstate its universal mandatory helmet law.

Tyson said people really know helmets are preferable, as evidenced by the fact that the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) – the largest motorcycle race sanctioning organization in the world – requires them for all competition.

And he said he is weary of hearing NHTSA is pushing an agenda.

“Yeah, we do have an agenda. We definitely have an agenda,” Tyson said, “Our agenda is to improve highway safety in the United States. That’s our agenda. And it is counter intuitive to make the situation look any worse than it is.”

And Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) – another group questioned by critics – offered equally strong statements.

“What it is is an alternate reality,” Rader said of an ideological divide between safety agencies and some Americans, “There is nothing we can show them even though it’s based on sound science that they will agree with.”

Rader said the IIHS did its own study of deaths in Florida that confirmed NHTSA findings.

“The change in motorcycle ridership or change in registrations has nothing whatever to do with our study,” Rader said, “We factored out any changes in ridership or registrations.”

The IIHS examined deaths per 1000 registrations before and after the repeal.

“What we found is that when Florida weakened its law, the death rate per 1000 crashes grew 25 percent.”

Rader said however, that “confounding problems” happen when one starts comparing deaths per number of registrations from state to state.

It is not a fair comparison, he said. For example a Sun Belt state may have more deaths because it has more months of the year for riding.

Rader also said the IIHS and NHTSA employ professional statisticians who scientifically assess data using strict methodology without trying to prove preconceived notions.

He said facts are objectively weighed, and the IIHS has come to strongly endorse universal mandatory helmet laws.

Rader’s perspective seemed to contrast philosophical differences held by some American libertarians, and those with a different worldview.

“There are obviously groups who disagree with government requiring helmets. But it obviously makes sense from a traffic safety perspective to have a universal helmet law,” Rader said, “We are the only country I know of in the industrialized world where this is even up for debate. Everybody else in the industrialized world accepts the fact that this makes a big difference in reducing the risk in riding a motorcycle.”

Rader said other countries equate traffic safety with public health, but the U.S. lags behind in implementing a comprehensive policy.

“The issue of whether or not to wear a helmet often is discussed as simply a personal choice that doesn’t affect anyone but the rider. In fact, the decision affects all of us, because we all end up paying for the higher insurance costs, emergency services, and treatment for bikers who are injured in crashes,” Rader said. “From a public health perspective, it just makes sense to lower the risk to the extent that you can.”

Motorcyclist rights advocates have disputed these alleged costs, just as they have portrayed a different picture of every other point of disagreement between them and those who want stricter helmet laws.

And in any case, the U.S. – founded with a cry of liberty – remains a country of the people, by the people, for the people. And to date, 30 out of 50 states  – with four more considering issues – have for better or worse voted to liberalize helmet requirements.

Meanwhile, the concern remains that for what ever reason, more motorcycle riders than ever are dying or being injured.

It would seem, therefore, the debate is anything but over.

Jeff Cobb is the editor and publisher of Motorcycle Safety News. Comments, and questions can be directed to jeff@motorcyclesafetynews.com
http://motorcyclesafetynews.com

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Senator Charlie Janssen (NE) 03.18.09 at 7:48 am

I believe many of the studies done by NHTSA are skewed to get the result they want. That said I thank the author for writing a balanced article on the topic. I am hopeful that eventually we in Nebraska will be able to see through the skewed data of NHTSA and other organizations and give riders the freedom to choose.
I am not a rider. I am a former Search and Rescue Swimmer that is a combat veteran of the Gulf War. I fought for your freedom then and will continue to do so now. Whether you are from Nebraska or not.
Thank you Jeff Cobb for presenting this issue in your magazine.

Jeff 03.18.09 at 8:05 am

Thank you Senator. I realize this can be a topic touching the passions of many people, so I wanted to get some of the major points out as neutrally and fairly as I could, so more people could understand the issues.
Aside from those already involved, I do not know whether others are as aware of the many details and points of contention involved.
I realize there are even more things that could be said, but this article was “too long” as it was, so I at least tried to give coverage to the high spots as well as I could.
Best wishes to you on your first term, and thanks for writing.
- Jeff

Alex 03.19.09 at 8:57 am

I am a rider with over 100K miles in the saddle in a state that requires anyone under the age of 18 to wear a helmet (which is the effectively the same as having no law because law enforcement has a difficult time enforcing the law when those riders don’t wear helmets). I’m amazed that my elected representatives are so easily influenced by “the fringe.” By the fringe I mean the 2-3 percent of riders who are card carrying members of ABATE – which by the way used to stand for American Bikers Against Totalitarian Enactment.
These riders don’t represent the whole riding community; however, they’re well organized and ride to the Capitol wearing their leathers and sporting their long beards to make an impression. Our elected officials are so easily… “intimidated” by these folks who come off as representing all riders. Their argument is that helmets shouldn’t be required because we only need to get cagers to start seeing riders and to offer more rider training. Once these two things are done, we won’t have a problem any more, right? Wrong. Cagers pull out in front of other cagers every day … and they even pull out in front of tractor trailers! The only difference is that riders are more vulnerable. It’s unrealistic to think that because we conduct a campaign to increase awareness that it’ll solve the problem. Crashes will continue to happen and there will be nothing to protect the rider’s head.
It’s all the other constituents (yes, including the non-riders) that shoulder the cost, as was pointed out in the article, of picking a downed rider up off of the road, transporting him (or her) to a trauma center, and caring for that person (and those costs can be extremely high in the case of traumatic brain injury). But, it must be easier for our representatives to “CAVE” to a small minority and move on to something else instead of listening to the medical community when they talk about the cost incurred by the state to treat these cases. The data is out there… but the fringe “says” the government is skewing the data with hidden agendas and conspiracy… so, the preceding comment only shows how easily politicians like “The Honorable” Janssen are manipulated by lobbyists. The bikers say it’s what’s happening so it must be true! My recommendation to Senator Janssen is to listen to all sides on this issue and eliminate your own bias because the comment you made (if that was really you making that comment) about skewed data shows how easily you are influenced in your decision making that does not represent the opinion of all riders or the rest of your constituents. Listen to the families who lost a loved one because of a head injury that could have been prevented had the rider been wearing a helmet. How do they feel about losing that person from their life and how did it affect their situation in the following years? All this just so a rider could feel the wind in their hair, or on their shaved head. Absurd. A person’s “freedom” should end when taxpayer dollars are forced to pay for a brain injury that could have been prevented had the rider been wearing a helmet.

Jeff 03.19.09 at 9:55 am

Thanks Alex,

I hear you on this issue. To me, I agree with liberty, but people need to be smart. Freedom is supposed to be entrusted to those who are wise and exercise responsibility. It is not a license to run up costs for others to pay while righteously defending one’s sovereign freedom.

The Founding Fathers knew this balance. Even a child today knows because Spiderman in his own way repeated this age-old advice: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

:)

Motorcycle helmet laws, according to Jeff Hennie, the MRF’s vice president of government relations in Washington, DC, are likened to gun laws. That is, you have the power of risking your life and others with the right to not wear a helmet. Just like handling a firearm, you need to soberly use special care. (Pun intended: don’t get me started about drinking and riding. It is a problem).

What is happening in too many cases is, the Jeffersonian ideal of a citizen’s freedom, while being touted by high minded pundits, is not being lived up to by enough people. People are recklessly endangering themselves for what ever reasons, be it sportbike riders who go helmetless in the summer ripping up and down the highways, or stunters doing illegal street tricks wearing no gear, or simply cruisers who do not want to be bothered, when maybe if they are riding around town at night, they should.

And whether people want to argue with me on this or not, fact is the American motorcycle safety record is calling a lot of negative attention on itself.

And at the end of the day, what do others think?

Your view is what happens: People start to point to increased injuries, and deaths and say we have a problem out of hand here, what do we need to do to fix it?

If things don’t start getting better, the voices of those who speak like you may be the ones heard the loudest.

I also wrote about the Crash Causation Study. It is supposed to give answers in detail about what causes motorcycle wrecks.

There are those debating what causes crashes, and they say fix that, don’t put a band aid of a helmet law on us. They may have some merit in so far as it goes, but fact is lots of riders are getting killed or brain injured, etc.

Personally, I choose to wear a helmet, and I am not legally required to.

I’ll add also that motorists share responsibility, and car and truck drivers are often way too careless, and have often injured or killed a rider they “did not see” because they are not trained to look for riders, or were multi-tasking at the wheel.

I think attention needs to be focused on these issues too.

But since it is not unlike a combat zone for motorcyclists on the mean streets, maybe it would make more sense to gear up appropriately, whether it is fair or not.

Maybe more riders should wear helmets and wear protective gear for the reason that whether motorists are negligent and to blame or not, they do represent a real danger.

While some crashes will kill a rider no matter what they are wearing, many others have walked away from crashes that would have left them a bleeding mess on the road if they had only been wearing jeans (or shorts!) and a T-shirt.

Why risk it?

As a free man, I exercise my liberty to try to minimize the risks in an already very risky endeavor – riding a motorcycle in America.

John 03.26.09 at 10:56 am

I live in NV, and here is the letter I sent to my law makers.

On October 15, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law a bill that created the Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT’s first secretary, Alan S. Boyd took office on January 16, 1967. The first official day of DOT operation was April 1, 1967. “The mission of the Department of Transportation, a cabinet-level executive department of the United States government, is to develop and coordinate policies that will provide an efficient and economical national transportation system, with due regard for need, the environment, and the national defense” (The United States Department of Transportation, 2008).
The DOT started requiring states to enact laws that would mandate motorcycle riders to wear helmets in 1967. The helmet laws were made a requirement if the state wanted to qualify for highway construction and safety funding. Forty states implemented helmet laws by 1969, all but three states had helmet laws by 1975.
In 1976, the DOT started assessing penalties to the remaining three states that had not implemented helmet laws. However, with much pressure from the three states without helmet laws Congress reacted by revoking authority from the DOT to assess financial penalties to states for noncompliance. After Congress revoked the ability of the DOT to assess financial penalties 20 states modified their helmet laws making them less restrictive during 1976, 1977, and 1978. An additional eight states repealed their helmet laws completely.
Several states later reinstated their helmet laws between the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1991, Congress passed the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTE.) The ISTE created reasons for states to enact Automobile Safety Belt and Helmet Use laws. If, a state had not enacted both Automobile Safety Belt and Helmet Use laws by October of 1993 3% of their federal allocation was not distributed to their safety programs. In the fall of 1995 Congress lifted the sanctions against those states without the Automobile Safety Belt and Helmet use laws.
The repeated attempts of the DOT to have each state enact helmets laws was to ultimately produce a safer transportation system. The stakeholders for a safer transportation system include motorcycle riders, motorcycle rider’s families, witnesses of accidents, insurance companies, medical services, other motorists, and many other stakeholders. However, not all stakeholders view the desired results as positive.
Many riders feel the DOT, Federal Government, State Government, and Local government should not enact policies to protect us from doing damage to ourselves. According to “The Dude Himself” on the Adventure Rider online discussion forum, “The government has no right to fight to save the stupid, whether they’re gambling with their heads/helmets or with their money/loans” (New Proposed Safety Rules for Motorcycle Helmets, 2008). Many, including Nevada Senator Warren B. Hardy II, share his opinions. Senator Hardy stated, “I’ve always considered the helmet law to kind of be the poster child for Government overstepping it’s bounds as far as protecting us from ourselves. I think Government has a legitimate obligation to protect those who can’t protect themselves. So I would support the helmet law with regard to minors and children” (State of Senate Transportation Committee Hearing on SB-274, 2003) during a State of on SB-274 on April 10, 2003.
Many other stakeholders feel helmet laws are better for the safety of the transportation system in the . According to testimony from Erin Breen of the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada during a State of on SB-274 on April 10, 2003: “last year in , the trauma center treated 319 victims in motorcycle crashes, nine of those were fatalities. They too realize that not every motorcycle fatality is due to not wearing helmets; however, of the 9 fatalities last year, half of them were head traumas, and 25% of them were not wearing helmets. More important, they sent 40 people with life altering injuries that will never be the same to rehab centers. Again 25% of those people were not wearing motorcycle helmets. They, rather tongue in cheek, said that what they really wanted to tell you is that since the State of repealed their motorcycle helmet law what is has done for the organ donation program in because of the catch of the trauma center, they treat some motorcycle injuries from . On the plus side, motorcycle riders are good donors, donors, organ donors. On the minus side, since they have repealed their helmet law there has been organ donors from the State of that the State of , especially has benefited from. Because the States community partnerships goal is to reduce fatalities and serious injuries due to all motor vehicle crashes, we would urge you to oppose senate bill 274” (State of on SB-274, 2003.)
In addition, the opinion of many other riders about helmet use is the government should be involved. Many studies show helmet use has a positive outcome in the event of a crash. However, there have been opposing studies that show helmets have a negative outcome for the rider. According to a study by J.P. Goldstein helmets cause neck injuries, allegedly by adding to head mass in a crash (Goldstein, J.P., 1986.)
Many other studies show a positive outcome for a motorcycle rider in a crash. The Annals of Emergency Medicine in 1994 analyzed 1,153 motorcycle crashes in four Midwestern states and determined that “helmets reduce head injuries without an increased occurrence of spinal injuries in motorcycle trauma” (Orsay, E.M.; Muelleman, R.L.; Peterson, T.D.; Jurisic, D.H.; Kosasih, J.B.; and Levy, P., 1994)
Below are some additional facts demonstrating a positive outcome for a motorcycle rider in a crash:
• On January 1, 1972 ’s mandatory helmet law began requiring all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet (Kraus, J.F.; Peek, C.; and Williams, A.F., 1995.) The helmet use increased from 50% to 99% after the law took effect. At the same time, motorcycle fatalities declined by 37% (Kraus, J.F.; Peek, C.; McArthur, D.L.; and Williams, A.F., 1994.)
• On January 1, 1989 reinstated the helmet law that was repealed 12 years earlier. After the law was reinstated noticed motorcycle rider’s serious head injuries declined by 22% (Muelleman, R.L.; Mlinek, E.J.; and Collicott, P.E., 1992.)
• In 1998 repealed the state helmet law and witnessed a 50% increase in motorcycle fatalities (Ulmer, R.G. and Preusser, D.F., 2003.)
• In 1999 repealed the state helmet law and witnessed a 100% increase in motorcycle fatalities (Ulmer, R.G. and Preusser, D.F., 2003.)
• ’s Universal Helmet Law was in place from 1968 to 1977. Estimates indicate the helmet law prevented 650 fatalities. modified their helmet law in 1977 to only require minors to require helmets. The modified law coincided with an increase in motorcycle rider fatalities of 35%. The Universal Helmet Haw was reinstated in 1989. Helmet use before the reinstatement was 41%. After the Universal Helmet Law reinstatement helmet use jumped to 98% (Lund, A.K.; Williams, A.F.; and Womack, K.N., 1991.) When helmet use returned to 98% serious motorcycle rider crashes declined 11% per registered motorcycle (Mounce, N.; Brackett, Q.; Hinshaw, W.; Lund, A.K.; and Wells, J.K., 1992.) In September 1997 the Universal Helmet Law was once again weakened and only required riders of the age of 21 to wear a helmet. In the first year after the appeal Motorcycle rider fatalities increased 31% (Preusser, D.F.; Hedlund, J.H.; and Ulmer, R.G., 2000.)
• modified the helmet law in 2000 to only require motorcycle riders under 21 to wear a helmet. If, a motorcycle rider has a minimum medical insurance policy of $10,000 and is 21 and older a helmet is not required. According to a study, motorcycle rider fatalities increased 25% after the helmet law was modified (Kyrychenko, S.Y. and McCartt, A.T., 2006.)
In addition, studies showing a reduction of serious injuries and deaths of motorcycle riders there are other benefits related to helmet use. There is some evidence that helmet laws reduce the number of motorcycle thefts. This may be related to many thieves not having a helmet and would attract the attention of law enforcement. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “After enacted its Universal Helmet Law, motorcycle thefts in 19 cities decreased 44 percent between 1988 and 1990, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Motorcycle thefts dropped dramatically in three European countries after the introduction of laws that fined motorcyclists for failure to wear helmets. In , motorcycle thefts fell 24 percent after enacted a helmet law in 1973. The saw a 36 percent drop in thefts in 1975 when its law was enacted. And in former , where on-the-spot fines were introduced in 1980, motorcycle thefts plummeted 60 percent” (Mayhew, P.; Clarke, R.V.; and Elliott, D., 1989.)
Public policy related to helmet use has been debated for over the last 50 years. Some believe the DOT, Federal, State, and local governing agency have no place protecting us from ourselves. Still others, believes the government should create public policy to protect the interest of everyone. Often both sides of the argument have studies and research to support their positions. Often, the research is many years old, as public policy does not support funding studies for motorcyclist safety, as they are only a small portion of the roadway users.
It is my opinion, Nevada should not remove or reduce helmet requirements for motorcycle riders in Nevada. In fact, my opinion is the law should be modified to strengthen the law and remove loop holes that make the law unenforceable.

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