Legislators Seeking Mandatory Helmet Law for AZ Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists have little in the way of protection against bodily injury while they ride. Helmets are pretty much the last line of defense against traumatic head injury for the motorcyclist, but not all riders choose to wear them. Now the state of Arizona wants to change that by requiring motorcyclists to strap on a helmet before getting behind the handlebars. A new bill is being introduced that would require riders to wear a helmet or pay a fine; inversely, if they are truly opposed to wearing a helmet, they can pay a fee to exempt themselves and their riders from the requirement.
HB 2246 proposes that riders and drivers of “all-terrain vehicles and motor-driven cycles” wear helmets at all times when the vehicle is in operation. The specific language states: “An operator of a motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle or motor driven cycle shall wear at all times protective glasses, goggles or a transparent face shield of a type approved by the director unless the motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle or motor driven cycle is equipped with a protective windshield.” Payment for exemption would be due when the motorcyclist registers the motorcycle each year.
The fee for exemption has not yet been determined, but the fine for not wearing a helmet by either the driver or a passenger is proposed to be $500. Legislators point out that law enforcement cannot specifically stop motorcyclists because riders or passengers are not wearing helmets, but if the motorcycle is stopped for some other reason, then the officer can write a ticket for the lack of helmets.
The state plans to use the fees it collects from riders in two ways; $200 of the fee would be added to the Arizona Highway User Revenue fund, and the remaining $300 would be donated to the Spinal and Head Injuries Trust Fund. The bill was proposed by democratic representatives, including Randall Friese, Rosana Gabaldon, Andres Cano, Pamela Power Hannley and Alma Hernandez. Whether or not the bill will pass remains to be seen.
Many other states already have mandatory helmet laws in place. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,859 people in 2016 alone. The agency goes on to say that if all motorcyclists had worn helmets that year, an additional 802 lives could have been saved. Helmets, says the CDC, reduce the risk of death by 37 percent and the risk of head injury by 69 percent. If all motorcyclists wore helmets, the CDC says that the U.S. would save more than $1 billion in economic costs every year, calling universal helmet laws the “single most effective way for states to save lives and save money.”
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our Phoenix motorcycle accident attorney now to set up a no-cost, no-obligation case review. Our compassionate legal team has represented accident victims just like you, helping them win the compensation they are due and get their lives back on track. Schedule your free consultation today.