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Motorcyclist reaches out to lawmakers on helmet law | News

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Motorcyclist reaches out to lawmakers on helmet law

State lawmakers delayed action on two bills that would allow some Tennessee motorcyclists to ride without helmets.

Now, a long-time rider is taking the extra time to reach out to legislators.

Ralph and Pam Hadley of Kingston have logged more than 150,000 miles together, traveling on motorcycles through 49 states.

Even with the experience Ralph said, "We don't think that's enough to go without a helmet."

In Tennessee, motorcyclists must wear a helmet.

For the third straight year, lawmakers are proposing bills that would allow drivers 21-and-up to ride without one.

It's called the "Motorcyclist Liberty Restoration Act."

Ralph is looking at the bills from the perspectives of both a motorcyclists and the drivers of vehicles.

"Whether it's my fault, your fault, or no fault [in an accident]... then you wind up spending the rest of your life thinking about someone who's dead, who wouldn't be necessarily if they were wearing a helmet," he said.

Ralph also wonders how the new law would be enforced asking, "How are the police going to be able to identify who is qualified and who isn't?"

According to the Department of Safety, last year there were 139 motorcycle fatalities in Tennessee.  Eight of those riders were not wearing helmets.

"I just hope whether the state has it or not they [motorcyclists] make the decision to wear it [helmet] because it's protective gear and protective gear saves lives," Pam said.

A Transportation Subcommittee will review the House bill on Wednesday.

In the Senate, lawmakers deferred action on its bill until March 13.
Ralph is writing to legislators to voice his disapproval.

A passage from his letter:

"Suppose the law is changed allowing my wife and me to choose not to wear our helmets. It's late afternoon and you, sir, have been in a committee meeting all day and are tired. You get in your car to drive home. My wife and I are in the lane next to you and our bike suddenly swerves to avoid another car. The rear tire of my bike clips the front of your car and we go down. You arrive home and tell your wife that a rider is dead. It was our choice not to wear helmets. It was our life. But you had no choice. Although no fault of your own, and it happened too quickly for you to react, everyday for the rest of your life you will remember that you killed someone."


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