Lawmakers try yet again to repeal Nebraska's helmet law - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Lawmakers try yet again to repeal Nebraska's helmet law

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By: Bill Schammert

Lawmakers are trying yet again to repeal Nebraska's more than two-decade old helmet law.  On Tuesday, compelling testimony from both sides, including one former advocate for repeal, who after a severe accident, now hopes to keep motorcyclists strapped in.

"You don't live the rest of your life wondering what your life would've been like had you been wearing your helmet that day," Cozad's Patrick Lange said.

It was more than two-years ago when Lange lost his wife in a motorcycle accident in South Dakota.  Neither was wearing a helmet.  Still in the recovery process, with slowed speech and nerve damage throughout his body, he believes helmets need to be law.

"With that law there, that encourages us to do that.  We as humans need guidelines," Lange said.

Hoskins Sen. Dave Bloomfield disagrees.  He's introduced LB-393, which would allow any licensed rider or passenger at least 21-years-old, the option of wearing a helmet.

"As lawmakers in this state, I think we have a duty and an obligation to protect and not infringe on the duties of liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Sen. Bloomfield testified.

The Transportation and Telecommunication Committee also heard testimony that would put more restriction on motorcyclists, making it illegal to have a passenger under eight-years-old.

"Motorcycles by design pose an inherent threat to small riders who have small attention spans and might fall asleep," Lincoln Sen. Bill Avery testified.

But nobody testified in favor of Sen. Avery's bill.  Instead, most questioned how it would be enforced and whether that kind of age restriction should be the government's job.

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