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.
As evidence for their position, opponents of the Bill point to Florida, where a similar law was passed. After the law was passed in 2010, motorcycle accident deaths greatly increased across the state.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Maryland
Currently, it is illegal to operate a motorcycle without a helmet. In addition to any potential citation that may be issued, motorcycle riders who disobey the law and ride without proper protection may also be limiting their chances of recovery if they are involved in a serious motorcycle accident.
In Maryland, any accident victim who is found to be even the slightest bit at fault for an accident is prevented from recovering from anyone else involved in the accident. Defendants in personal injury lawsuits routinely avoid liability by shifting a small amount of the blame for an accident onto a plaintiff. If a motorcycle rider is not wearing a helmet when he or she is struck by another driver, the other driver may try to point to the fact that the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, which contributed to his or her injuries.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any serious motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. While riders should always wear a helmet to ensure that their injuries are no more serious than they need to be, even those riders without helmets may be able to recover from the responsible party. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to set up a free initial consultation with a dedicated personal injury attorney.
More Blog Posts:
Maryland Appellate Court Considers the Cap on Judgments Against Municipalities, Maryland Accident Law Blog, January 16, 2015.
Court Dismisses Accident Victim’s Case Based on Lack of Expert Witness Testimony, Maryland Accident Law Blog, February 23, 2015.