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Proposed bill could make motorcycle accidents more dangerous

Most motorcyclists understand the importance of protective gear while on the road. Drivers of larger motor vehicles are at a distinct advantage when involved in motorcycle accidents, and they often escape unscathed while motorcycle riders suffer extensive injuries. Helmets are a truly invaluable aspect of protection for motorcycle riders, but some state lawmakers are attempting to make the roads a little more dangerous for Georgia bikers.

Under state law, each and every person riding a motorcycle must wear protective head gear. Now, House Bill 797 seeks to completely overturn that state-wide protection that the helmet law provides. If eventually enacted into law, anyone over the age of 18 would not be required to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle.

Proponents of the bill claim that they are simply trying to give motorcyclists freedom, even going so far as to compare the legal requirement of wearing a helmet to terrorist regimes that do not have such requirements. Opponents site statistics that demonstrate an increased fatality rate without protective helmets. For instance, Georgia's rate of motorcycle fatalities is only 10 percent, while South Carolina has a helmet exception for individuals 21 and over, and a motorcycle fatality rate of 79 percent. Increased fatalities often also correlate to a hike in Medicaid costs that the state of Georgia must pay, putting an increased burden on tax-paying residents.

This is not the first attempt to overturn the helmet law, although none of the previous attempts were successful. It is not entirely clear why some individuals are apparently trying to make motorcycle accidents more dangerous than they already are, but at this time all motorcycle riders must still wear helmets, which protect a person's livelihood in a wreck. However, most motorcyclists still suffer serious and extensive injuries when struck by a car or truck, which often require a certain amount of financial compensation in order to completely recover from.

Source: ajc.com, "State lawmakers consider lifting universal helmet law", Feb. 1, 2016

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