A bill that would have eliminated the requirement for motorcycle riders to wear helmets in Tennessee has been shelved this legislative session.
Those against the bill say wearing a helmet dramatically curbs the risk of serious injury in the event of a Knoxville motorcycle accident. Proponents of the bill, meanwhile, believe that the decision about whether to wear a helmet should be a personal one, not dictated by politicians.
Knoxville personal injury attorneys know this much: Whether the motorcycle is wearing a helmet holds no bearing on the liability of the other party in the event of a crash. What that means is that if you are involved in a crash, regardless of whether you are wearing a helmet, you can still move for legal action against the at-fault driver of the other vehicle. An experienced attorney can help you weigh all the options.
Still, the helmet issue was one that both sides were quite passionate about.
The Motorcyclist Liberty Restoration Act would have ended the requirement for riders over the age of 21 to wear a helmet in the state of Tennessee.
On the one hand, you had Libertarians, who viewed the issue as one of civil freedoms.
Rep. Glen Casada, R-Williamson County, was one of the bill's co-sponsors. He was quoted as saying that government should not serve as mother and father to its citizens. The mandate that all motorcyclists wear helmets was taking things one step too far.
In repealing the law, supporters said it would boost the state's tourism numbers, as more riders would begin flocking to the state.
On the other side, you have safety advocates, who said that helmet laws helped taxpayers avoid millions of dollars in expenses when riders suffered serious and long-lasting injuries. One study analyzed helmet use in states that had repealed their helmet requirement laws. They found that helmet use did indeed decline, and the number of motorcycle fatalities rose by some 30 percent.
Dr. Blaine Enderson of the University of Tennessee Medical Center, recently wrote an editorial that appeared in The Tennessean. He said that while he supported personal freedom of choice, motorcyclists don't live in a bubble, and the choice of whether to wear a helmet is one that could affect their family, their employer and the community at-large.
A spokeswoman for the Tennessee Nurses Association was quoted by the local press as saying the issue is no different than laws that require vehicle occupants to wear seat belts.
Using this comparison, our Tennessee injury attorneys would note that just because a person isn't wearing a seat belt at the time of a crash, it doesn't release the other at-fault driver from being held legally accountable. It's the same with motorcycle riders.
The truth of the matter is, the majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers who either aren't paying attention or aren't being respectful of these two-wheeled vehicles sharing the roadway. In these cases, it's important to have an experienced attorney who will fight to win you the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one is injured or killed in Knoxville motorcycle accident, contact Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights with our Knoxville injury lawyers and Maryville accident attorneys. Call (877) 472-5657.
Latest effort to end TN helmet law fails, The Associated Press