The legislative session in Utah is in full swing and it would not be complete without a representative wanting to bring forward a bill dealing with motorcycles. House Bill 158 “Motorcycle Helmet Law Amendments”, sponsored by Rep. Neil Hansen, D-Ogden is a bill, that if passed, would require:
- All motorcycle riders 21 years of age and younger to wear a full helmet.
- Defines a “full helmet” as one that has a chin bar and eye protection.
- Passengers under 21, and drivers of any age if they have passengers under 21, to wear a helmet.
- Riders of any age operating on a learning permit to wear a helmet.
- Helmet use for all riders in Utah's largest cities.
It is reported by Standard.net/live that an Ogden businessman, Mr. Ray Kimber, brought the proposal to Hansen claiming that the bill targets locations and age groups in which motorcycle accidents happen most frequently. Kimber cited statistics from 2006 that show nearly 73 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes in the state involved a vehicle turning left in front of the rider at an intersection. The same statistics show that the percentage of drivers in fatal crashes was highest among riders ages 15 to 24.
ABATE (American Bikers Aiming Toward Education) Utah is a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who states their goals as:
- To assist in guarding the individual rights of all motorcyclists
- Keep motorcyclists informed of laws that will help or hinder them
- To promote safety, brotherhood and freedom for all motorcyclists, regardless of type, style or orgin of the motorcycle.
Ed Stein, education coordinator of ABATE Utah and a number of other bikers were in attendance at teh Friday committee meeting to voice their opposition to the bill. ABATE said the focus of motorcycle safety should be on educating the public about watching for motorcyclists while driving. “We believe in accident prevention, not safer crashes. Many sports and activities are more dangerous than motorcycle riding. We will never be able to legislate the risk out of living.” If 18-year-olds are mature enough to voluntarily sign up for war, they're old enough to choose what protective gear to wear during recreation, he said.
The bill is currently in the House Transportation Committee where it was “tabled” and requires a two-thirds vote to bring it off the table and move forward. Just before the bill was tabled Ronda Rudd Menlove, R-Garland proposed, and the committee unanimously passed, a proposal to reduce any fine by $10 to a motorcyclist that is wearing a helmet.
If you have any opinion on the pros and cons of these bills why not email the sponsors or committee members?
- Rep. Bradley M. Daw, Chair
- Rep. Bradley G. Last
- Rep. Julie Fisher, Vice Chair
- Rep. Steven R. Mascaro
- Rep. Stephen D. Clark
- Rep. Ronda Rudd Menlove
- Rep. Tim M. Cosgrove
- Rep. Michael T. Morley
- Rep. Janice M. Fisher
- Rep. F. Jay Seegmiller
- Rep. Wayne A. Harper
- Rep. C. Brent Wallis
- Rep. Lynn N. Hemingway
- Rep. Kory M. Holdaway