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This is one of those debates that I can very easily see both sides.  I've been riding street motorcycles since the mid 70's and have always worn a helmet.  Mainly because it seems like it's always been the law, but it does make sense. 

I confess, there are times when making short jaunts around town, when it's 98 degrees, I've thought it would be nice to let the wind blow through my hair.  So it was with just a little excitement when I heard that Louisiana is proposing dropping the helmet requirement for riders over the age of 21.

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The House Transportation Committee passed legislation on Wednesday to repeal the state’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law which has been in place since 2004. The bill passed on a 10-3 vote. Hornbeck Representative Rodney Shamerhorn says wearing a helmet should be a personal choice. 

“I don’t think we should be the ones that say you have to wear a helmet. Especially if you have insurance that would take care of you if you’re in a vegetable state.” 

Under the current law, both riders and passengers are required to wear safety helmets regardless of age. 

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Shamerhorn wants to change it to people who are over 21 do not have to wear helmet if they can prove they have health insurance. He believes Louisiana has missed out tourism dollars from nearby states because of the helmet law. And noted many activities require safety gear to be available, its not mandatory. 

“We require life vests in a boat. We do not require them to wear the life vest unless you’re a minor. I’ve had a couple of friends drown because they didn’t have their life vests on. It’s a choice.” 

But not all legislators favor the new proposal.   Pat Moore from Monroe, who worked for an insurance company for 27 years, opposes the bill. She says riding a motorcycle without a helmet is like playing Russian Roulette. And questions the effect it will have on the state’s already skyrocketing insurance crisis. 

“If we did pass something like this, do you anticipate insurance rates going up because of the things you just mentioned? The severity of it?” 

The bill heads to the full House for more debate. 

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