Helmet laws in Utah for motorcycles, require anyone under 18 years old to wear a helmet. But one Utah Lawmaker is trying to expand that law.
As an emergency room doctor, Utah Senator Brian Shiozawa, who serves District 8 in Salt Lake City, says he’s seen multiple motorcycle accident victims.
“I’ve taken care of real life fatalities of young men who have been killed when they’ve been riding on a motorcycle who haven’t been wearing a helmet. And they would have had a greater chance of survival had they had a helmet on.”
And he’s seen a lot of lives saved.
“And I’ve seen people walk away, literally, from motorcycle injuries because they did have a helmet.”
Because of this, Sen. Shiozawa is sponsoring SB 159 which would raise the mandatory age for wearing a helmet on a motorcycle from 18 to 21.
The bill will be up for a vote in the coming days on the senate floor. Members of American Bikers Aiming Towards Education or ABATE Utah argue against the bill, preferring instead to see state-mandated motorcycle safety courses.
But, according to Shiozawa, the risks for the 18-21 year-old age group are just too high to not require helmets.
“For example, let’s say tonight, and I hope this never happens to you, but you accidentally, are going home and you turn in front of a motorcycle rider. Now if you had done that in front of a car, they’d break, their seatbelts would hit, maybe an airbag would go off and you two would probably walk away from the scene. You hit a motorcycle rider without a helmet in this age group, there’s a 12 to 18 times greater chance he or she is going to be greatly injured or killed.”