Hit the brakes on helmet bill

March 31, 2013 

Here’s the appropriate cautionary note for members of the General Assembly who are in the process of easing the ban on riding a motorcycle without a helmet in North Carolina: Use your heads. While abandoning the helmet requirement might be attractive for some riders, there are times when a government has to stand up for safety even when those most affected might say it’s not government’s business to protect them.

Lawmakers already have heard from a WakeMed trauma specialist who estimated that the initial treatment for a brain injury is $250,000. But the bill as it stands would require riders to carry insurance to cover only the first $10,000 of their care. That’s nonsensical, and if drivers were uninsured, the costs would fall on everyone else with insurance. The mother of a brain-injured youth told House committee members she has to sleep in her son’s room every night to guard against seizures. That presumably will last a lifetime.

The awful consequences of brain injury from motorcycle accidents, for victims and many others, far outweigh the benefits of “freedom” awarded to riders by a repeal of the law. No repeal is necessary.

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