Florida lawmakers are discussing a potential law that would make helmets mandatory for motorcycle riders under 21.
Sen. Keith Perry’s (R-Gainesville) bill would change the helmet exemption from 16 to 21. Under the change, drivers over 21 must have an insurance policy for at least $10,000 to ride without a helmet.
Any motorcyclist under 21 not wearing a helmet would be charged with a traffic infraction.
According to AAA, motorcycle accident deaths in Florida are up 30 percent since 2014, with 606 motorcyclists losing their lives in 2015 alone.
Lawmakers have tried and failed to bring back the mandatory helmet law the legislature repealed in 2000.
The new bill would require that motorcyclists and moped drivers under the age of 21 wear helmets.
Still, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration finds it’s not young people but motorcyclists 40 and over who are more likely to die in accidents: that age group comprised 54 percent of motorcycle fatalities in 2015.
One of every five motorcycle crashes reported results in head or neck injuries. Head injuries are are far more common in motorcycle crashes. Research shows that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of neck or head injury. Most crashes on a motorcycle happen on shorter trips and even with low-speed crashes, there can be a fatality. For most riders who are travelling at around 30 miles an hour when they get get involved in a crash, helmets can cut both the number and the severity of injuries by half. Regardless of what speed a motorcyclist is travelling at, not wearing a helmet places you at an increased risk of suffering from a head injury or wrongful death than riders who are wearing helmets at the time of the crash.