Del. Ben Cline, a Republican from Rockbridge County introduced a bill (HB2010) in the Virginia house transportation subcommittee that would have allowed motorcyclists here to make the choice to use or not use a helmet when they ride. Despite support from local motorcyclists who showed up to the early morning hearing, the bill failed to get out of committee.
The supporters for the bill were outnumbered by the insurance and healthcare lobbyists who showed up to testify against repealing the current mandatory helmet law.
Speaking at the hearing was a representative from Nationwide Insurance who cited unspecified statistics that in states where helmet laws were repealed, motorcycle related fatalities increased 20-30 percent.
That argument was countered by supporters of the bill who cited U.S. Census Bureau statistics that show motorcycle deaths are no higher in states without mandatory helmet laws.
Cline said he was not surprised by the 3-2 vote that killed the bill saying, "I knew it would be a steep hill to climb."