Lawmakers debate repeal of motorcycle law

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-- Motorcycle riders in the Piedmont are closely watching a proposal in the State House that would change North Carolina's law requiring safety helmets on all those riding motorcycles.

The law has come up for discussion many times over the past several years. Currently it says everyone must wear a helmet.

States like South Carolina do not require helmets for riders over 21 years old. Gaston County Representative John Torbett is presenting the new legislation saying he thinks riders should have the choice.

At Kendall Johnson Customs in Winston-Salem, riders have differing opinions.

"My opinion is it should be up to every individual rider. That's the way I feel.  We wear a helmet, but that's our choice, that keeps you safer," Ed Meadows says.

Others like Dale Knight say they don't want to be forced to wear one.

"I'm all for not wearing one, that's one of reasons I go to South Carolina is cause I don't have carry this thing around," Knight says.

Those behind current laws requiring helmets say lives are saved, and taxpayers saved the large medical expenses incurred by those unable to afford a lifelong injury that can happen when helmets are not worn.

Those against helmet laws argue personal freedom and say requiring certain insurance could help those severely injured. Many also say people make the choice to ride motorcycles knowing it's dangerous to begin with.

"Your going to get hurt on a motorcycle regardless, and that's your choice your right," Knight says.

"If you get hit it, there ain't no guarantee it's going to save your life no way," Rider Rick Alspaugh says.

North Carolina is one of only 19 states that require helmets.

The House Transportation Committee discussed the legislation Tuesday, but further discussion has been postponed until later this month.


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