Senate Bill 612 is pending in the Maryland Legislature and, should it pass, would act to eliminate the state’s requirement that all motorcycle riders wear helmets when riding on public roads. According to a local news source, the bill would allow certain riders with adequate health insurance coverage to choose for themselves whether or not they would wear a helmet when riding.
The bill’s main sponsor is State Senator John Astle, who is a motorcycle enthusiast himself. He claims that responsible riders should have the choice whether to wear a helmet or not. He recalls his younger days riding across the county, explaining, “I had nothing on my head but a yellow rag, because it made me look really cool.” Those in support of the bill point to increased rider freedom as a key benefit. Additionally, they claim that the Bill would bring Maryland in line with the majority of other, more motorcycle-friendly states.
Of course, motorcycle riding is about more than looking “cool.” The opponents of the bill cite statistics that show non-helmet wearing riders are much more likely to be involved in a serious or fatal accident. In turn, hospital bills (many of which end up unpaid) would increase as a result of these increased injuries.