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Optional Motorcycle Helmet Bill Doesn't Advance In Committee

A biennial effort among some North Carolina House members to make motorcycle helmets optional for people 21 and over has been stopped.

The House Transportation Committee failed on Tuesday to advance legislation pushed by Rep. John Torbett of Gaston County to alter the state's mandatory helmet requirement for all riders. A motion to recommend the measure failed in a 10-10 vote.

Torbett says 30 states already allow optional helmet use of some kind. He and bill supporters cited data showing "freedom of choice" laws don't result in more motorcycle accidents or markedly higher auto insurance rates.

Bill opponents didn't buy into the statistics, and an emergency room doctor recalled head trauma incidents for riders lacking helmets.

A similar bill cleared the committee in 2017.

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