NTSB Recommends Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/17/07

NTSB Recommends Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law

The motorcycle fatality at Buffalo Springs Lakes comes just one week after the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that every state pass mandatory helmet laws for all motorcycle riders. NewsChannel 11's spent the day talking to some riders and explains why many of them choose not to strap on helmets.

 For more than 20 years Larry Duyck has been taking to the open road.

"This is a custom-made bike we did a couple of years ago," Duyck said.

But Duyck says when it comes to putting on a helmet, it's something neither he nor his girlfriend Terri Stahl see necessary.

"No, I don't wear a helmet. I know that's an option and its good if people want to do that. I think the joy of riding the bike is part of the freedom. It's not having the helmet and just letting the wind blow and I think it's good escape for a lot of people from their jobs", Duyck added.

But all too often that sense of freedom turns into a trip to the emergency room or even worse.

Adrian Lund with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, says, "The risk of fatality on a motorcycle is just a lot greater."

Here in Lubbock, four motorcyclists were killed last year and one this year. It is not known if they were wearing helmets or not.

But now, the National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that every state create mandatory helmet laws for motorcycle riders and passengers.

Mark Rosenker, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said, "Since 1997 to 2007, the fatality rate has doubled. And the simple act of donning that helmet will begin that process of preventing that type of fatality and serious injury."

Currently motorcycle helmet laws vary state to state. In Texas, if you're 21 years or older, you do not have to wear a helmet if you've successfully completed a motorcycle safety course and you have at least $10,000 in medical benefits. Allowing riders like Duyck and Stahl the choice to ride with or without a helmet.

Stahl said," It is like any other sport. You need to wear the clothing but the helmet thing is an optional to me. I would rather have a good leather jacket, jeans and boots on before the hamlet."

On the South Plains, motorcycle classes are held at Reese Technology Center. The course costs $190. A motorcycle and bike will be supplied if needed.  For more information, click here.

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