DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Paul Bartholomew has been riding his Harley Davidson for over 40 years, and wearing a helmet has been a priority even though it’s not required in his home state.
“I was in a horrible accident in Maryland and my head hit so hard on the pavement that it actually broke my helmet and if I didn’t have it on I wouldn’t be here today,” Batholomew said.
In Alabama and 18 other states, it’s a requirement for riders to wear a helmet, but Alabama representative Jamie Kiel wants to do away with it for riders 21 and older.
If the bill is passed in the house, Alabama would join 29 other states, one being the neighboring state Florida which doesn’t require a helmet for the age group.
“I think riders should have the ability to decide whether they wear a helmet or not,” He said.
According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, since 2002 more than 25,000 lives have been saved by wearing helmets. Helmets are 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries.
John Rose, the president of the ABATE motorcycle rights organization said he lost a friend in a wreck who was wearing a helmet.
“He agrees with Bartholemew about riders having a choice, but he hopes Alabama will decide with Florida because the law applies to more than just safety.
With a mandatory helmet law and somebody, can’t afford a helmet they are going to swipe one, and if they do you have to have your bike towed or somebody have to bring you another helmet, or you can just pay a huge fine,” Rose said. “That’s what I like about the law.”
The bill is in the subcommittee for more study.