Lincoln, NE — Today, a coalition of 11 organizations announced strong opposition to a legislative proposal that would substantially weaken Nebraska’s motorcycle helmet law and increase the number of deaths and traumatic injuries on the state’s highways.
LB 581 would allow motorcyclists over the age of 21 to ride without a helmet, whereas current law requires all riders to wear helmets.
Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69 percent and lower the risk of death by 42 percent. In 2019, there were 9.3 times as many unhelmeted fatalities (1,682 fatalities) in states without a universal helmet law compared to states with a universal helmet law (180 fatalities) (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). These states were nearly equivalent with respect to total resident populations. According to the Government Accountability Office, “laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets are the only strategy proven to be effective in reducing motorcyclist fatalities.” After Michigan weakened its all-rider helmet law in 2012, the percentage of non-helmeted crash scene fatalities quadrupled, and motorcyclist trauma patients who were hospitalized with a head injury rose 14%.
Multiple studies of states that have repealed their motorcycle helmet law experience an increase in rider deaths, serious and disabling brain injuries and medical costs usually borne by taxpayers and the state. The repeal of all-rider motorcycle helmet laws has led to increased economic costs in many states.
According to a survey conducted by AAA, 89% of Nebraskans support maintaining the state’s current law. It has worked well in keeping motorcyclists safe on our roadways. We cannot afford to weaken it.
AAA Nebraska and The Auto Club Group
Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety
APTA Nebraska – A Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association
Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska
Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals
Nebraska Hospital Association
Nebraska Insurance Information Service
Nebraska Medical Association
Nebraska Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.
Nebraska Safety Council
SMARTER - Skilled Motorcyclist Association Responsible Trained and Educated Riders