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Utah Senator wants mandatory helmet laws for motorcycle riders

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - In 2009 Utah lawmakers voted to kill a bill that would have required all riders to wear helmets. Now, Senator Todd Weiler is pushing to get it on the books again.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A new law could soon be on the books.

One lawmaker in Utah plans to propose legislation that would make it mandatory for motorcycle riders to wear helmets.

Right now, State law only requires riders under 18 years old to wear a helmet.

Motorcycle helmets may cost you an arm and a leg but statistics show they protect your head in a motorcycle accident.

“I wear a helmet,” said Brian Brown with Intermountain Harley Davidson.

Brown explains it's not just a helmet that can save your life.

“I think what will keep people most safe on the roads is experience and training on a motorcycle,” said Brown.

He went on to say a helmet will protect you but he doesn't want the government telling him he has to wear one.

“However, we feel it's a personal choice that motorcyclists make and it's not any thing that needs to be mandated by the legislature,” said Brown

In 2009 Utah lawmakers voted to kill a bill that would have required all riders to wear helmets but now Senator Todd Weiler is pushing to get it on the books again.

“I don't want to infringe on anyone's rights but how much are you willing to pay extra in taxes so your neighbor can ride without his helmet,” said Weiler.

To Weiler it's a money issue. He says 20 percent of the state budget is used for Medicare costs and he wants to cut those costs. He thinks not paying medical bills and benefits to families of helmetless riders would do that.

“The question becomes how many more of our tax dollars do we want to divert from public education and other good causes to Medicare so some people have the right to feel that wind blowing through their hair,” said Brown.

According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, this year we've had 28 people killed in motorcycle accidents and 10 of them were not wearing helmets.

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