Should you wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle? Yes. Should you be forced to do so? No. That's the stance that the American Motorcycle Association is taking in light of a new bill that would indirectly force states to require helmet use.
The AMA said today that they were standing behind U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) who rallied against a proposal that would have indirectly forced states to pass mandatory helmet laws.
Ayotte said that the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Improvement Act would indirectly force state's to require helmet use in order to receive federal funding.
Ayotte said: "States without mandatory universal helmet laws -- such as New Hampshire -- would be subject to stricter eligibility criteria, and would be forced to use 50 percent of their grant funds to promote helmet use. This amendment violates the original intent of the motorcyclist safety grant program, which has traditionally focused on encouraging states to fund motorcycle safety awareness, education and training. This amendment would divert funds away from awareness and education and, instead, use them to place federal pressure on states to enact mandatory universal helmet laws."
The AMA agrees with Ayotte's statement. The AMA is encouraging federal and state programs to promote motorcycle safety, prevent accidents, and encourage the use of protective gear. But the government should not make helmet laws mandatory.
"Federal efforts should focus on preventing crashes rather than mandating what gear riders should wear," said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. "We need the help of all riders. More AMA members means more political clout, from the statehouse to the White House. We urge motorcyclists to join the AMA to help protect motorcycling now and in the future."
What's your view on mandatory helmet laws? Should helmet use be required or encouraged?