Nebraska panel kick-starts new debate on motorcycle helmets

Posted By: Channel 8 Eyewitness News

       LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ A Nebraska lawmaker has renewed the state’s perennial effort to allow many motorcyclists to ride without helmets.
        Sen. John Lowe of Kearney says his bill allowing riders 21 or older to wear eye protection instead of helmets is “pro-freedom and pro-tourism.” Motorcyclists praised it at a committee hearing Monday.
        Proponents of the bill say Nebraska loses $1.7 million in tourism revenue annually from motorcyclists who instead ride through neighboring states that don’t require helmets. Doctors and motorcycle accident survivors who spoke against the measure say the state-funded costs of treating riders with brain injuries are larger than any tourism revenue.
        Of Nebraska’s neighbors, only Missouri requires all riders to wear helmets. Iowa has no law, and South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Kansas only mandate helmets for riders younger than 18.