Should it be illegal for bikers to go bare-headed? The Virginia House of Delegates is debating the issue Wednesday.

House Bill 3077 decriminalizes the act of not wearing a helmet on a motorcycle. It calls for dropping the fine from $250 to $25 and eliminates the three demerits on the biker’s license.

Shawn Murphy has been a motorcyclist for three years. He said not wearing a helmet should be the rider’s choice. He sees the proposed law as a big step forward.

"It should be up to the rider to choose. It’s the freedom of the road. If you ride you choose to ride with your hair blowing in the wind, it’s the ride, it’s the rider’s choice." Murphy said he always wears a helmet and has had a few close calls.

Jai Allen doesn’t ride a motorcycle. He drives a Lexus. He sees this law as a safety matter for everyone on the road.

"Motorcyclists definitely should wear a helmet its part of safety you want to live so why not wear a helmet. You don’t want to be the one to cause somebody to die because they don’t have a helmet on. It’s part of their responsibility to wear a helmet."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets reduce the likelihood of a motorcyclist dying in a crash by 37 percent. Several people we spoke with said they had concerns about helmets causing neck injuries or interfering with hearing and side vision.

Susanne Woodworth said she makes sure everyone in her family wears a motorcycle helmet. But she sees that as a personal matter not a political one. "I think as an adult you should be able to make your own decision whether or not you have to wear it shouldn’t be required by law."

Tuesday the House of Delegates gave HB 3077 preliminary approval with a voice vote. The formal vote was expected Wednesday. If approved the measure then goes to the Senate and The Governor.


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