Bill to make motorcycle helmets optional in TN moves forward

Motorcyclists across the state know that there are certain risks associated with riding that they need to be aware of whenever they are on the road. Everything from bad weather and roads to negligent drivers can put the safety of a rider in danger. 

While motorcyclists can be particularly vulnerable and exposed, there are some ways they can protect themselves. Defensive driving, proper training, making themselves as visible as possible to other motorists and wearing protective gear are just a few ways riders can prevent crashes and hopefully avoid the most severe accidents. However, if a proposed bill passes, it could make riders less safe on Tennessee roads.

The proposed bill would make helmet use by motorcyclists optional. While there are some exceptions, essentially riders who are properly insured and at least 21 would no longer be forced to wear helmets.

Supporters of the bill say that leaving the decision of helmet use up to individual motorcyclists makes sense because they are adults who should be allowed to make their own decisions.

Critics of the bill to repeal helmet laws argue that doing so would only hurt riders. Helmets provide critical protection if a rider is struck or gets thrown from a bike and may be the difference between life and death. Further, wearing a helmet has been shown to dramatically reduce the severity of brain injuries in motorcycle crashes.

Whether you are for or against the proposed bill, the fact is that in Tennessee right now, helmet use on motorcycles is required.

Too many people think that if they are safe riders, then they won’t have to worry about the risks of an accident. However, the truth is we cannot control the actions of the people sharing the road with us, and many motorcycle accidents are caused by other parties.

While we can certainly hold a negligent or reckless driver accountable for these accidents, preventing them and staying as safe as possible in the first place can be the best way to protect yourself and your future.

Source: WKRN, “Should wearing motorcycle helmets be up to the rider?” Nick Caloway, Feb. 8, 2016