Proposed helmet law has some bikers upset - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Proposed helmet law has some bikers upset

By Jena Johnson - bio | email | Twitter

TYLER, TX (KLTV)- Motorcycle riders across the country may soon be forced to wear a helmet if a proposed federal law passes. Right now, in Texas, anyone over the age of 21 is exempt from wearing a helmet. But that may change if the National Transportation Safety Board gets their way.

For 35 years, Bubba Parker has hit the highway with nothing but a bandana on his head. That's how he likes to ride.

"I'm out in the wide open kind of like your old cowboy days they had the big gray horses and we got these old iron horses and it's just the freedom of it," said Parker.

And the freedom to wear a helmet, or not. Soon, bikers may not have that choice. Parker says confining his head to a helmet kills his biking experience.

"For me, I like to be able to hear what my motor is doing," said Parker. "I can judge my speed. I can listen to what's going on around me, and with a helmet I just feel like I'm all caged up."

Biker Ted York won't ride without his helmet.

"If you fall off and smack your head on the ground it's a whole lot better to have something around your head then just kissing the pavement with the back of your head," said York.

The NTSB says motorcycles make up only three percent of vehicles on the road, but 13 percent of all fatal crashes. Parker says some of his close friends, unfortunately, are a part of that statistic.

"Lots of them and I've had friends that have been killed with a helmet didn't make no difference whatsoever," said Parker.

"I've been involved in two accidents on the street and both cases I was wearing a helmet and received no head injuries whatsoever," said York.

While both bikers will continue to ride regardless, they say wearing a helmet should be a personal decision

"The only time I'll ever quit riding is if I get too old to hold the bike up or I'm dead. So, if I've got to wear one, I'll wear one."

A bike shop owner says they sell about 30 helmets per week. They say if this law passes it could be good for business. We want to know what you think about the proposed helmet law. Leave your thoughts at the bottom of the page.

Copyright 2010 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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