Tennessee is going to be the 32nd state to pass a law that allows bikers to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, unless it gets held up at the last moment. But it’s not likely.
The new bill will allow bikers to ride in the fair state of Tennessee without a helmet if a) they have $25,000 in additional medical coverage, b) a minimum of 2 years motorcycle license, c) have taken a motorcycle training course and d) are at least 25 years old.
So bikers don’t just get to ride without a helmet, they need to fulfill a certain set of criteria. But is this good or not?
The helmet debate is a heated one in the USA (in most other countries it’s not a debate, since it’s mandatory), with as many pro-helmet and anti-helmets opinions. On one side, people say you need proper protection because if you don’t, medical bills for everyone will rise, and on the other side, people want to be left alone to decide themselves what they do to protect their own lives.
Myself I’m more in the you-can-never-protect-yourself-enough corner. No matter how experienced a rider is, an accident can quickly happened. It doesn’t need to be your fault, it can be anything from a SUV driver who is not paying attention to a bird hitting you in the head (I could say a helicopter crashing on top of you, but that doesn’t matter if you have a helmet or not, you’re going to be very dead).
But there are limits. We’re not going to ride with a metal suit of armor to protect ourselves, so how far are we planning to go to protect ourselves? If we really want total protection, drive an Abrahams tank.
And that is where opinions differ. For some, you don’t really need protection, for others it’s ATGATT.
The Tennessee helmet bill seems like a reasonable compromise. They’ll not let anyone ride without a helmet (particular youngsters), but if you want to, and fulfill the requirements, you can do so at your own (medical and financial) risk. But does that mean only wealthier or well-off bikers can ride without a helmet?
So what do you think? Should this no-helmet law be more widespread, or should it be more like the rest of the world?