New Bill Would Allow Motorcyclists to Ride Helmet-Free

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(Memphis) - Tennessee could be joining other states around the nation that allow motorcyclists to not wear helmets when they ride.

A new bill is on its way through committees that would allow riders 21 and older to ride free if they choose.

Motorcyclists, like Bob Hunt, say it should be the their choice when it comes strapping on a helmet for a ride.

"I'm open to it if someone wants to ride that way and take that chance. Its kind of up to them," he said.

Hunt says even he from time to time will ride helmet-free with his hair in the wind in places like Arkansas where there are no helmet laws.

"When me and my wife go riding and we get out of town, we pull them off in certain areas, under certain conditions," said Hunt. "Its really nice to feel the air on your head when your out there."

However, Tennesseans could be joining other states in loosening its helmet law. A new bill passed a senate committee that would allow motorcyclists 21-years and older to choose whether or not they want to wear a helmet.

In order to do so, bikers would have to take motorcycle safety, have ridden for over two years and take out more coverage on their insurance. Plus, there would be a special $50 fee to pay at registration.

Transportation activists claim there are no studies to suggest that helmets save lives. Motorcyclists just want to be their own judge.

"Compare any state that has liberty to any state that does not have liberty and you will see that it is even steven," said Rhonda Rae Williams of CMT/ABATE. "The same 50 percent of accidents are with helmets and 50 percent are without helmets. Fifty-percent of the fatalities are without helmets and 50 percent of fatalities are not without helmets."

A group of bikers from Memphis are headed to Nashville on Tuesday to meet with lawmakers about the bill.