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Legal Review: Proposed Laws in Connecticut Shine Light on National Biker Helmet Laws

By Personal Injury Attorney Peter Bowman of Billings, Barrett and Bowman, LLC

After two new laws were proposed in Connecticut that would change the state’s helmet laws for motorcyclists, a group of bikers headed to the state’s Capitol in February to oppose at least one of the new laws.

While this is a situation occurring in Connecticut, it has shone a light on the helmet laws for bikers around the country. With the majority of states, 28 in fact, only requiring some motorcyclists to strap on headgear before hitting the road, those in The Constitution State are wondering why their laws need to change.

One of the proposed laws in Connecticut is to increase the required age of younger motorcycle operators and passengers that currently must wear helmets from 17 to 21. The group of bikers that went to the Capitol does not have a problem with this. However, they say that is as much as they are willing to budge when it comes to any new laws.

The other, more hotly contested proposed legislation, would require all bikers in the state to wear a helmet.

“It has been our experience that increasing the following distance, proactive, defensive driving, wearing visible clothes and other safety equipment (jacket, pants, etc.) is the most effective way to be safe on a motorcycle.” says Peter Bowman of Billings, Barrett and Bowman, LLC.

Currently, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Pennsylvania do not require all bikers to wear a helmet. In turn, proponents of the proposed laws pointed to other states that do have universal motorcycle helmet laws. These states include New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland and California.

It is worth noting though, that these states have a far denser population, meaning their roads could already be considered more dangerous. That is just not the case in Connecticut.

What it all comes down to, said many of the bikers in attendance, is choice. There are many behaviors that could be described as risky including smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. However, those over the age of 21 are allowed to partake in these activities. Why can that same theory not apply to motorcycle helmets?

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