The West Virginia Senate rejected a law today that would have allowed some motorcycle riders to leave their helmet at home.
Senators voted against the bill in it’s third reading today. It would have allowed motorcycle riders to travel without a helmet if they’re older than 18 and have had their license longer than a year.
Current state law requires riders to wear protective helmets at all times on the road.
One local sheriff we talked to before today’s vote says he thinks the decision should be up to the person on the seat.
“My personal feeling is that you should have the choice of if you want to wear a helmet or not,” said Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens. “My professional side of it says that whenever you’re involved in an accident, there’s less chance of a survival for you if you don’t have a helmet on. I hate that, but I think the individual should have a choice to do what they want.”
Across the river in Ohio, motorcyclists over 18-years-old who have a valid motorcycle license for more than a year, do not have to wear a safety helmet.
Sheriff Stephens says this may increase the amount of fatal accidents for bikers.
“If your head is beating against the pavement, or a hard ground surface, or even another vehicle, the helmets are definitely there to help you survive that crash,” Stephens said. “I think there will be a lot less times that we have to go deliver a death message to a family if the helmet law stays in effect.”
The bill was rejected in a hotly contested 19 to 15 vote.