Boston Bikers Want Helmet Freedom

top_gunMotorcyclists in Massachusetts showed up at the State house yesterday to encourage lawmakers to pass a bill which would make helmets a matter of personal choice.

Currently, Massachusetts requires all riders and their passengers to wear a helmets. A new bill introduced to a Joint Committee on Transportation would give motorcyclists over the age of 21 the choice to not wear a helmet.

Jimi Ricci of Waltham, former chairman of the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association’s board of directors, said: “Currently, 30 states allow free choice. Massachusetts is in the minority,”

Paul Cote, New England region road riding delegate to the American Motorcycle Association, said that Massachusetts motorcycle helmet law costs the state millions of dollars every weekend as riders head out of state for helmetless excursions. Cote also stated that the helmet law prevents out-of-state bikers from traveling into Boston.

Even if Cote’s numbers are accurate, brain injury advocates say that the cost of not wearing a helmet is far greater. According to the Metro West Daily News, a brain injury could cost as much as $9 million.

Michigan is also considering its helmet law. Earlier this month the State House voted to repeal the current law and allow motorcyclists over the age of 21 to drive without a helmet, as long as they have two years of experience and $20,000 worth of medical insurance. The senate will vote on soon.