A bill to require helmets for children riding motorcycles was sent back to committee on a voice vote today after a two-hour fight in the state Senate.
The Senate had been expected to cast its first official vote on the House Bill 1117, but in an unexpected move a handful of Democrats joined Republicans to stall the controversial measure.
Republicans railed against the measure, saying it expands the slow erosion of parental rights and freedoms to decide what’s best for their children.
"We’re really good at telling people how to run their lives," said Sen. David Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs. "We want to tell people to wear a helmet. We want to tell parents to have their girls vaccinated against the HPV virus. We need to stop stomping on people’s personal liberties."
Democratic backers shot back, arguing that the 80 percent of motorcycle accidents result in severe injuries.
They contend that government has the responsibility to step in and protect children from traumatic brain injuries and prevent unnecessary loss of life in case of an accident.
"The issue here is the safety of kids," said Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver. "We have a responsibility to save them. Yes, it’s an inconvenience on the family, but the issue is it will save lives."
At a recent public hearing, more than dozen motorcyclists opposed the measure, arguing it tramples on their parental rights.