NC Motorcyclists Could Ride Helmetless Under Proposed Bill
CHARLOTTE, NC- Bill Starnes with the Concerned Bikers Association of North Carolina says the government should not dictate whether he wears a helmet.
"It's about individual freedom, rights and liberty," said Starnes, "We're adults and we want to be treated as adults."
Starnes stands behind a new North Carolina House bill that would allow riders over 21 to choose whether to wear a helmet. It also calls for riders to have at least $10,000 dollars in medical insurance, a license for at least a year and complete an approved motorcycle safety program.
Some motorcycle groups across Charlotte say their members ride to South Carolina, which is one of seven states that allow anyone over 21 to ride without a helmet.
People who sell them, say many riders still see the importance of helmets.
"Even in the non-helmet states like Florida, we do sell quite a bit of them because a lot of riders are concerned about their own safety," said Imran Qureshi.
According to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, 429 people died in motorcycle crashes nationwide in 2010. 70 percent of the victims were not wearing helmets.
In both 2009 and 2008, 91 percent of the victims in deadly motorcycle wrecks were not wearing helmets.
Starnes says the stats still aren't enough for him.
"Whether you're wearing a helmet or not, you're in trouble. So a helmet is not a cure-all and it never will be," said Starnes.
The House Transportation Committee is expected to discuss and possibly vote on the helmet bill on tuesday