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Is a change to Connecticut’s helmet law on the horizon?

Motorcyclists have a wide range of safety apparel they may wear to help protect them in the event of a crash. Leather jackets, gloves and boots may keep them safe from abrasions and lacerations. Elbow and knee pads may protect these joints during impact. However, no piece of safety equipment is as vital to biker safety as a U.S. DOT-approved motorcycle helmet. Helmets have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of death or serious head injury in a crash. Even so, the current helmet law in Connecticut only applies to riders 17 and younger.

Many people concerned about motorcycle safety wish to have the state’s helmet law changed. In 1976, the law requiring all riders to wear helmets in Connecticut was repealed. The belief was that motorcyclists know the risks they take each time they get on their bikes, and that adult riders should have the freedom to choose whether or not to wear a helmet.

A powerful lobbying force of motorcycle enthusiasts strongly opposes the reinstatement of Connecticut’s helmet law each time it is introduced. However, State Representative J.P. Sredzinski has been listening to the concerns of those hoping for stronger helmet laws. Many of those involved, including Mr. Sredzinski, have known people who were killed or received lifelong debilitating injuries in motorcycle collisions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 55 motorcyclist fatalities in Connecticut in 2014. Out of these, 32 were not wearing a helmet. It is unknown yet whether a change to the helmet law will be re-introduced. The fact remains that many bikers are injured or killed in crashes each year, regardless of the law.

Source: Monroe Courier, "Sredzinski eyes helmet law," Donald Eng, June 23, 2016

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