The Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunication’s Committee again revisited a bill that addresses the state’s mandatory motorcycle helmet requirement. Senator Dave Bloomfield of South Sioux City introduced this bill that would do away with the requirement for motorcyclists and riders age 21 and over. He says Nebraska continues to lose money because riders bypass the state because of the helmet restriction. Senator Bloomfield says the state is losing out on millions of dollars each year as riders avoid the state because they are required to wear a helmet.
Bellevue State Senator Scott Price had been a supporter of the helmet law due to medical care costs to the state and taxpayers if a motorcyclist is injured and ends up on Medicaid. He has had a change of heart saying that happens now when a person is involved in a car accident.
Several opponents spoke in favor of the helmet requirement. Dr. Joseph Stothert represented a team of trauma surgeons from the University of Nebraska Medical Center who stated they treat motorcyclists injured in accidents that are and are not wearing helmets. He says after five years of research, on average, there is a 6% mortality rate for those injured while wearing a helmet compared to a 20% mortality rate for those without.
The bill would require those under the age of 21 to wear a helmet. All motorcyclists and passengers would be required to wear protective eyewear.