UPDATE: You may soon be able to ride a motorcycle without a helmet

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AAA has announced strong opposition to a series of bills that would weaken Tennessee’s motorcycle helmet law. The law currently requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, regardless of age.

On Tuesday, the House Transportation Committee heard testimony relating to bills seeking to repeal the helmet law. The repeal would allow motorcyclists over 21 years old to ride with or without a helmet.

Wednesday, the Senate Transportation Committee and House Transportation subcommittee are scheduled to vote on two bills that could repeal the helmet law.

The bill that will be reviewed on Wednesday specifies that the helmet requirement would only apply to such drivers or passengers who are less than 21 years of age. In other words, if you are over the age of 21, you can ride a motorcycle without a helmet. 

Bill Summary

Generally, under present law, the driver of a motorcycle, motorized bicycle, or motor-driven cycle, and any passenger on any of these, must wear a crash helmet. This bill specifies that this helmet requirement would only apply to such drivers or passengers who are less than 21 years of age. When required, such helmet must meet certain federal standards.

Additionally, this bill increases the fee for issuing or renewing a motorcycle (Class M) driver license from $17.50 to $19.50 and requires that any funds realized from such $2.00 increase be earmarked and transferred to the bureau of TennCare. The department of health, working with the department of safety, must prepare a report on the number of motorcycle accidents on Tennessee roads and highways involving riders without a helmet and the costs to TennCare to care for such riders, not including accidents in which:

(1) Another driver caused the motorcycle accident;
(2) The driver of the other motor vehicle maintained financial responsibility for such motor vehicle; and
(3) Liability of all parties for such motorcycle accident has not been determined.


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