NC panel OKs optional motorcycle helmet for adults

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Submitted: Tue, 03/26/2013 - 6:24pm
Updated: Wed, 03/27/2013 - 3:50am

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


  • Guestjd says:

    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

  • chris says:

    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 the morrisville collage to show what will happen when you dont wear a helment !!!

  • Rusty says:

    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.

  • Guest0001 says:

    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!!

  • Vog46 says:

    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?


  • brian says:

    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.

  • Larry says:

    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.

  • Mr.T says:

    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

  • Guest Reply says:

    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.

  • guest 1441965 says:

    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.

  • fleebailey says:

    With a brain like that Rep. Torbett needs to wear a helmet at all times. Would you prefer your head to hit a concrete curb without a helmet. My other problem with him is – don’t we have more important issues than allowing idiots to become vegatables

  • Guest9865 says:

    …this should thin the herd.

    On the other hand, more loud obnoxious motorcycle “rides” clogging traffic, all the in memory of fallen bikers who were too dumb to wear a helmet.

    John Torbett should read actual research. If he wants to make helmets optional, that’s fine. If a motorcyclists kills himself in such a stupid way who cares? Hopefully they can salvage the bike. But to ignore actual facts and lie about it makes me wonder how this guy even got elected.

    How long does $10,000 of medical insurance keep one of these turnips on life support? The length of the ambulance ride?

    Yay, for lawmakers actively passing legislation that does nothing but kill people in the name of preventing a biker from getting a little sweat on his brow. I’m sorry, I said “biker”. “Bikers” are tough guys who probably wouldn’t care about the law anyway, these guys are motorcycle enthusiasts.

  • guest 1441965 says:

    Well then how about this Jerk, how about you do not go to the hospital if you have a head injury in an accident, cause I do not want to pay for you stupidity with higher fees because your 10,000 dollars worth of insurance doesn’t cover the 300,000 dollar hospital bill in intensive care!

  • GuestRides says:

    So…you are proud to be an American? Land of the FREE, home of the brave? But, wait! You insist I wear a helmet? Your argument about costing you more for insurance doesn’t hold water because, bikers must carry an extra 10K of insurance. Stay out of my life, stay out of my morals, stay out of my wallet. I promise to do the same.

  • johnny black says:

    The helmet law should be OPTIONAL.

    Cell phone use while driving should be illegal unless using hands free.

  • Guest CommonTater says:

    Well that works I guess. If they pass it then those under 21 can probably ride around without fear of being pulled to check your age and traffic checks and other infractions may have to lead to your being found out. **shrug**

    I support the riders right to decide after 21 whether they want to wear the helmet or not. For me… the risks dictate the use of a helmet and any other safety item I can use. That’s me and these folks are grown men and women so they have to be responsible for their decisions. It’s only right… IMHO.

    Good luck to those that decide against the use of the helmet…..

  • Leroy says:

    I love reading the comments posted by the keyboard tough guys

  • Ken says:

    My riding says are long past. They are but fond memories now for the most part, however, I will admit that had it not been for a helmet, I may not have made it this far. I will be the first to admit that a helmet may not always save a life but I also am totally aware of the fact that it stands no chance of saving a life if it is not worn. So think, before you ride, about your head contacting with the curb or the surface of the road and causing your “Gray Matter to Splatter”.

    Think before you ride so any thoughts you may have while riding would possibly not be your final thoughts before your potential big “Gray Matter Splatter”.

  • Guest2020 says:

    It is a matter of freedom of choice and should be an optional thing.

  • EasyRider says:

    A helmet saved my life once before in a motorcycle accident. I still ride. I will always wear safety gear by choice. We all should have the right to chose. But stupid is as stupid does. If you are in an accident wearing no helmet liability should be on the rider and not anyone else.
    They always say a ride till you die or rider for life.
    This will remain true for any rider, some just won’t be saying it when there brain dead or 6 feet deep.
    Law or not WEAR A HELMET, Take my word for it.

  • Guest2050 says:

    Freedom to choose is one thing, until it adversly affects others who had no voice in that choice. We shouldn’t have to pay for someone’s medical costs for the rest of thier lives because the choice they made left them as a vegetable for the rest of thier life.
    I agree with the others who said make that choice, then you live with the cosequences and leave the rest of us out of it.

  • Guest7969 says:

    NEVER HAVE understood the whole 21 thing…if the government, state and federal, is saying you are too stupid to make decisions under 21…then one shouldn’t be able to sign on the dotted line to go to war…PERIOD. If your old enough to get your head blown off for your country, your DANG well old enough to drink and ride around without a helmet!

  • Mark557 says:

    I would not be here today if I was not wearing a helmet when some idiot turned right in front of me. But even with that being said I feel that if you don’t want to wear a helmet you don’t have to, but you are automatically an organ donor and if you live you forfeit disability. My tax dollars should not go to you if you were not smart enough to wear a helmet.

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