New Motorcycle Helmet Law Bills in Nebraska and Virginia
January 22, 2013 - San Diego, CA
So far, 2013 has been a pretty interesting year when it comes to motorcycle laws. For instance, Illinois banned motorcycle wheelies while not only did California crack down on motorcycle exhaust noise but also finally got a clear response from the California Highway Patrol on the policies of motorcycle lane splitting in California.
But no motorcycle laws are as heavily debated as motorcycle helmet laws. I reported on the Michigan's repeal of the motorcycle helmet law last year and wasn't surprised at how broad the spectrum of responses to it was. Some riders were appalled that other motorcyclists would ride without a helmet while others argued the value of it being a choice.
Now, the motorcycle helmet debate is sure to rage on as a new bill in Virginia, HB 2010, was introduced on January 9 while Nebraska, LB 393, was introduced on January 18 that could alter the motorcycle helmet laws. Both states currently require all motorcyclists to wear an approved helmet while riding and both bills propose to loosen that law by allowing motorcycle riders over the age of 21 to no longer be required to wear a motorcycle helmet with just a few stipulations.
While riders over the age of 21 in Virginia would no longer have to wear motorcycle helmets per the law if HB 2010 is passed, it would not change current requirements that motorcycle operators must wear a face shield, motorcycle goggles or safety glasses. It appears that an approved motorcycle windshield on the bike would also suffice.
In Nebraska, if LB 393 is passed, riders over the age of 21 would not legally be required to wear a motorcycle helmet but would have to wear eye protection that is defined in the bill as "glasses that cover the orbital region of the person's face." In other words, motorcycle goggles, a face shield or motorcycle windshield appear to suffice. The bill also requires that the phrase "helmet not required" be printed on the license of any motorcyclist over the age of 21's license.
For more information on the Virginia bill, HB 2010, go here: http://leg1.state.va.us/ and for more information on LB 393 in Nebraska, visit http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/Current/PDF/Intro/LB393.pdf.
Do you think that it should be the rider's choice on whether he or she should wear a motorcycle helmet or do you believe that laws are necessary to protect irresponsible riders?