In Hartford, Contentious Hearing Over Helmet Law

Feb 16, 2017

The use of helmets by motorcycle riders in Connecticut is still a contentious issue, 40 years after the state repealed a law that required all motorcycle riders to use helmets.  

On Wednesday the Legislature’s Transportation Committee held a public hearing on the matter. Lawmakers heard an earful from both sides.  

Richard  Paulkner, with the Connecticut Motorcycle Riders Association, argued against reinstating the law.  

“It’s wrong to single us out and to simply say, that we should regulate their personal behavior, remove their freedom of choice, when we’re not going to outlaw tobacco, when we’re not going to regulate people’s diets, when we’re not going to put restrictions on the amount of alcohol one can consume.“

Paulkner says a helmet law would not significantly reduce the rate of fatalities.  

Gary Lapidus, director of the Injury Prevention Center at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, disagrees with Paulkner. Lapidus told lawmakers helmet laws help reduce the rates of death and traumatic brain injury.   

“Those states that have a full helmet law, you have a high compliance of motorcycle helmet use. Motorcycle death rates go down significantly. In those states like ours, which have partial law, 50 percent of people wearing helmets, you have death rates which is very high.”  

Connecticut repealed its motorcycle helmet law in 1976. But in 1989 it reinstated a helmet requirement for riders under 18.  

This article contains information from CRN.