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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — There’s enough support in a North Carolina House committee to limit the state’s motorcycle helmet requirement to just those people under age 21.

The House transportation panel agreed Tuesday to give adults the option to ride without a helmet if they have had a motorcycle license for a year, completed a safety course and have insurance covering $10,000 in medical benefits.

Violators would face a small fine.

Bill sponsor Rep. John Torbett of Gaston County says he’s a motorcyclist who considers helmets a freedom of choice issue. Torbett said data suggests that wearing helmets does not result in improved safety.

AAA Carolinas spokesman Tom Crosby disagrees. His group says the change will lead to more injuries and medical costs.

The bill now goes to another House committee.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comment on this Story

  • Guestjd

    I only have one comment. Why don’t school buses have seat belts ?
    If I’m required by law as at 35+ year old driver why force me to wear a set belt or helmet but our children ride on a bus with out one??????? Hmmmm

  • Guest Reply

    Seat belts…do they have to wear seat belts?
    If someone wants to ride a motorcycle without a helmet…it’s their head…nobody will hurt their skull cap but them…unless it’s splattered brains on the road you all are worried about.

  • Mr.T

    Many people feel their rights are abused with mandatory safety measures like helmets and seat belts but the overall public good must also be considered. Being involved in an accident often times involves several vehicles with many people involved. The emotions and lasting guilt of an accident often fall on people and cause mental stresses. Knowing that you caused a person to be killed or damaged for life is also a factor to be considered. Helmets and seat belts save lives. Not wearing a helmet by law or by choice is a death wish you may want to place upon yourself but the results of your choice shouldn’t needlessly damage another person. It’s the responsibility of our government to recognize what is best for all not a few. Last year I came up on a motorcycle accident on Hwy 17 south of Leland. The two people on the cycle survived. When I passed the scene the man was sitting up face covered with dirt and blood, clothes torn off. The lady passenger was still down on the pavement. The cycle looked like it was in a hundred pieces. Both riders had on helmets because they were in NC. Had they been 20 miles south they wouldn’t have been so lucky. I’m sure the driver of the truck involved is relieved that no one lost their life

  • brian

    I’m ok with helmets being optional, as long as a rider waives their right to collect any insurance benefit for injuries sustained when they wreck after choosing not to wear a helmet. I’d call that contributory negligence, and we shouldn’t have to pay increased insurance premiums because someone decided not to take advantage of the protection of available safety equipment.

  • Vog46

    Motorcycle injuries become more severe due to no protective helmets I would surmise that insurance rates for motorcycles would rise.
    Is there any data showing the difference in insurance rates between helmet and no helmet required states?


  • Guest0001

    Let me get this straight you tell a guy on a motorcycle he can choose to wear a helmit or not but the guy in the suv he must wear a seatbelt for his own safety?? What a joke!! The government needs to get out of peoples lives and let them choose for themselves on both!!

  • Rusty

    I’m no fan of either seat belt or helmet laws but if you’re dumb enough to not use them… Well there should be a clause saying you can NOT sue another motorist even if it was their fault for any kind of damages/medical bills/death. While we’re on the topic of motorcycle laws let us crack down on the inspection shops that PASS motorcycles that do not have mufflers or at least baffles against the DMV regulations that require same to pass the annual safety inspection.

  • chris

    Iwas a biker or some may callit my ride
    i cant ride no more because of my lower back and other issu
    but if i can you better belivei would havea helmet on ! yes sir
    one there are to many peopleon the roads here in wilmington who cant drive a car,or they come down from up north and drive there way ,,
    here is a short story ,,driveing with a helmet might save your life
    not wearing one will kill you ,,i see they say its wanted by the freedom of choice ,well my choice is to get off the pain killer every day i take and to have the right to smoke pot to stay out of pain,,but we cant have that right lol
    and if it gets passed everyone’s ins will go up by 45% i dont want mine to go up because someone says he has the right to be a dummy and not to wear his helment we need good people around,,wear your helment,,,ohh by the way i had a 1979 trimp lol now its back in ny.at the morrisville collage to show what will happen when you dont wear a helment !!!

  • Larry

    It doesn’t really matter when statistics probably show an alarming number of motorcycle riders end up dead on these streets. Helmet or no helmet. Maybe they need flashing lights installed instead.
    Seems like every other week a rider is killed wearing a helmet around Wilmington area. You don’t see that many riders because they don’t ride long around here.

  • guest 1441965

    If they do not have insurance then they will go to the hospital and rack up 100’s of thousands of dollars in intensive care which they will not be able to pay for. We will all pay the cost in increased hospital bills.

    So many people do not understand that the uninsured cost all of us money, which is why hospital stays are so much more expensive here.

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