Exempts motorcyclists over the age of twenty-one from the requirement of wearing protective helmets of a type approved by the commissioner of motor vehicles when operating or riding a motorcycle.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to requiring certain motorcyclists to wear protective helmets
PURPOSE: This bill exempts those 21 years and over from being forced to wear helmets while operating motorcycles.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Subdivision 6 of § 381 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law is amended.
JUSTIFICATION: The "Federal Aid Highway Act of 1975" abolished the power of the Department of Transportation to withhold highway safety funds for noncompliance with mandatory helmet laws. Since then, twenty-seven states now have optional helmet laws for adults. Included in this number are such neighboring states as Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Hampshire, Maine, and Ohio, making New York's law inconsistent with regional policy.
A survey of 1995 data shows comprehensive mandatory helmet laws DO NOT result in lower fatality rates. In fact, statistics show a higher frequency of fatalities among riders in states with mandatory helmet laws- (1 in 1574 registered motorcycles) as compared to states that have optional laws for adult riders (1 in 1867 registered motorcycles).
These numbers support other studies, one done using 1993 statistics which showed fatalities per 100 motorcycle accidents in mandatory helmet states to be 2.98 as compared to voluntary helmet states, 2.90.
Helmets are an unnatural weight upon the head of the rider and radically increase cranial temperatures. Helmets severely restrict peripheral vision and significantly reduce hearing. No helmet, regardless of cost or design, is capable of resisting impact stresses above 13 m.p.h., as Federal Department of Transportation testing has evidenced, and, in lateral skids, helmets deteriorated at 1 1/2 m.p.h.
Thus, taking into account that survey result the choice of when and where to wear the helmet would best be left up to the person operating the motorcycle, as is the case in the several other states.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.1953 of 2005/2006 S.2836 of 2007/2008 S.2403 of 2009/2010
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state.
This act shall take effect on the 45th day after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2974 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 4, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. NOZZOLIO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to requiring certain motorcyclists to wear protective helmets THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 6 of section 381 of the vehicle and traffic law, as amended by chapter 471 of the laws of 1994, is amended to read as follows: 6. It shall be unlawful for any person UNDER THE AGE OF TWENTY-ONE to operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he OR SHE wears a protective helmet of a type which meets the requirements set forth in section 571.218 of the federal motor vehicle safety standards as may from time to time be amended. The commissioner is hereby authorized and directed to adopt regulations for helmets which are consistent with the require- ments as specified in section 571.218 of the federal motor vehicle safe- ty standards as may from time to time be amended. The police authorities of a city, town or village may issue a permit exempting members of organizations sponsoring or conducting parades or other public exhibi- tions from the provisions of this subdivision while such members are participating in such parades or other public exhibitions. S 2. This act shall take effect on the forty-fifth day after it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00453-01-1