- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Motorcyclists will still be required to wear helmets when they ride in Nebraska after opponents succeeded in blocking a bill that would have repealed the requirement for older riders.

The measure by Sen. Dave Bloomfield of Hoskins would have exempted riders older than 21 from the law.

Lawmakers voted 25-22 to cease debate on the bill and force a vote. Thirty-three votes were needed to stop the legislative filibuster. Lawmakers started discussing the bill on Thursday.

More traumatic brain injuries are caused by falls than by motor vehicle accidents, Bloomfield said. Smoking and drinking aren’t outlawed, but they are restricted by age, he pointed out.

“This is a matter of freedom,” he said. “Let people make up their mind in the state of Nebraska, as free adults, what they chose to do.”

Sen. Kathy Campbell of Lincoln cited a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on the impact of motorcycle helmets. In 2010, $1.4 billion could have been saved in 2010 if all motorcyclists wore helmets, according to the report. In the same year, motorcycle crashes accounted for 14 percent of all deaths, but less than 1 percent of all miles traveled.

Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion voted to end debate. No one is arguing motorcycles are safe, he said, the argument is that people should be responsible for their own actions.

“We don’t need the government to mandate that you wear a helmet,” he said.

Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue opposed the repeal.

“If you don’t have your life, then your autonomy, liberty - don’t have much meaning,” she said.

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The bill is LB393


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