Opponents of a bill that would have allowed Nebraska motorcyclists to ride without helmets once again talk the measure to the sidelines.
Supporters of LB 368 fell one vote short of ending the filibuster against it and going to a vote on the bill. The vote on cloture, which would have ended the filibuster, was 32-12. Four senators didn’t vote.
Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue was one of the senators speaking on the floor of the legislature against the measure, saying the mandatory motorcycle helmet law works.
“We’re talking about a policy that we do have empirical evidence showing that this policy does save human lives,” Crawford told colleagues.
Opponents of ending the helmet requirement argued that lifting it would have resulted in more crippling injuries, including massive brain injuries, as well as more deaths. They argued that would have not only endangered Nebraska motorcyclists, but would have cost the state as well as citizens would have borne the cost of increased medical care.
Supporters offered a simple argument: liberty. They claimed the state had no right to restrict motorcyclists and that Nebraskans should decide for themselves whether to ride with a helmet or not.
Sen. John Lowe, Sr. of Kearney, the sponsor of the measure, argued during legislative floor debate that the state should not force motorcyclists to wear helmets and insisted his bill grew from grassroots lobbying.
“This is a choice by people,” Lowe stated. “This bill was not brought to me by anybody. This bill is sponsored by people who don’t have a budget. They don’t have a big lobbying firm. They are people.”
Lowe, though, couldn’t get enough votes to overcome the filibuster and go to a vote on his bill. It appears dead for the session. Similar measures have met a similar fate in the past.