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Optional Helmet Law In North Carolina Fails to Pass

motorcycle helmet

You Must Wear One

I’m all for people making their own decisions, but helmet laws make a lot of sense. They ensure that riders have at least the most basic of protection while riding. Proponents of helmets as optional equipment say the issue is about choice, but health officials and smart riders know how important helmet laws are.

In North Carolina there was a law moving through that would have made helmet laws optional equipment. It failed to pass. According to News & Record, the law would have required only riders under 21 and new riders to wear helmets. Other motorcyclists wouldn’t. The current law in North Carolina is that you have to wear a helmet if you ride a motorcycle. That law stands after the optional helmet law failed to pass.

The data is pretty clear. Helmets save lives and having helmet laws on the books ensures that people wear them. During the proceedings leading up to the decision, health officials noted that helmet laws save around $25 million in healthcare costs alone. Riders who have an accident without a helmet spend more time in healthcare facilities racking up big bills. This can cause significant issues in for individuals and society at large.

Essentially, not wearing a helmet has the potential to have a ripple effect throughout your community. I’d like to think that everyone would always wear a helmet whether or not it was mandated by the state, but people don’t. That means helmet laws save lives.


  1. By this logic, motorcycles should be illegal because not riding one would save a lot of lives. For that matter travelling in a vehicle should be illegal because if we all walked everywhere, that would save even more lives.
    I always wear a helmet, but that is my choice. Who am I to dictate my values on others?
    As long as the rider is not expecting me to take care of him if he’s crippled in an accident, the decision to wear a helmet should be his or hers, not mine or yours.

    1. “As long as the rider is not expecting me to take care of him if he’s crippled in an accident, the decision to wear a helmet should be his or hers…” And therein lies the problem. I’m all in favor of people acting however they wish so long as it doesn’t impact me. However, the fact of the matter is that in many instances people don’t have insurance that will cover their injuries and as a result that cost gets passed on to every one of the rest of us that do have insurance or to the federal and state governments in the form of Medicaid payments. Or the health care providers have to eat the cost (in which case they pass it on to the rest of us). What would make sense is a helmet law that says you can opt out if you have insurance that will cover your medical expenses and that you waive any right to having the government cover anything that your insurance won’t cover. Keep the liability where it belongs- with the risk taker.

      1. Using that logic, ANYTHING that ANYONE does that increases their risk of injury beyond some societal median could be treated the same way. Are you willing to extend the same restrictions to skydiving, mountain climbing and eating butter?

        The whole ‘society pays your bills’ is the ultimate slippery slope.

  2. “I’m all for people making their own decisions, except when they don’t do what I think they should; then I favor government regulation.”

    I’d like to point out that banning butter, skiing and RIDING MOTORCYCLES AT ALL would also ‘save lives’, so don’t stop at helmets, for goodness sake….


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