I put myself through law school by selling Harley Davidson motorcycles in Virginia Beach, Virginia. At the shop, I would regularly hear riders complain about restrictions and helmet laws. They even wore tattoos that said “Live Free or Die”. However, motorcycle helmet laws continued to be enforced and provide safety protection for riders.
This past week, we saw a Virginia delegate continue to push the “no helmet” mantra. The sponsor of house bill 1400, Delegate Bill Janis R-Henrico, stated that adults should be free to waive the benefits and risks of wearing a helmet and decide for themselves. The militia, police and public safety committee then voted 13-7 to send the measure to the house floor to allow the relaxation of the current helmet law. Last year, this same bill was defeated by a vote of 51-46.
On Tuesday, the house voted by a 57-42 vote to again defeat this same legislation. The argument that prevailed was that this measure would lead to severe head injuries, higher insurance rates and medical costs, and even death. A coalition of lobbyists representing doctors, insurance companies and AAA all urged defeat of this bill.
Fortunately , this bill was resoundingly defeated. Strangely, some of the same 42 that had voted in support of this legislation are the same legislators, such as Delegate Janis, who argue for lawsuit caps because of the claim that without them, our insurance rate continue to rise. As voters, we need to hold such legislators accountable for their double messages when, in reality, it does not appear that there is a consistency with the logic of such legislation.