Georgia Lawmakers Attempt to Repeal State’s Helmet Law
Some Georgia legislators recently attempted to repeal the state law requiring adults to wear helmets while operating motorcycles, mopeds and three-wheel vehicles. House Bill 797, sponsored by Rep. Tom Kirby (R, Loganville) would have given adults 18 or older the choice of whether to wear a helmet; minors (those under 18) would still be required to wear helmets while riding. As of now, the bill has become inactive, with no immediate prospect of being brought to a vote.
Many bikers, however, support the repeal of the helmet law, believing that they should have the freedom to choose whether to wear a helmet. While this bill and others like it have been introduced in the name of liberty, there are many sound reasons to keep the current helmet law on the books.
Why should riders wear helmets?
One major argument against the bill is safety. The truth is, even the most careful biker is likely to wreck at some point. No amount of experience gives a rider the ability to control the weather, road conditions or other drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmets reduce the risk of fatal injury for bikers by 37 percent and for their passengers by 41 percent. In fact, approximately 1,500 lives are saved each year by motorcycle helmets. But even those injuries that don’t kill bikers often leave them with severe impairment: traumatic brain injury caused by a motorcycle accident can require years of hospital or home care, along with physical therapy, occupational therapy and other treatment. Those who survive these injuries often suffer from cognitive, emotional and behavioral issues.
A second argument concerns cost. Uninsured bikers who suffer head injuries and survive often require a lifetime of care that is paid for by taxpayers. In 2010, injuries suffered by bikers not wearing helmets had a comprehensive economic cost of over $7.5 billion nationwide.
While repealing the state’s helmet law would grant bikers more freedom, it would undoubtedly saddle more families with the burden of caring for a victim of traumatic brain injury; no matter how safe bikers are, many crashes are the fault of other drivers. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a bike wreck, contact an experienced Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney at McMenamy Law LLC.