The decision to wear a seat belt when you drive a car is mandated by law. The decision to wear a helmet while operating a motor-driven cycle is also mandated by law. Both of these items have been proven to help save lives.

A Louisiana House committee yesterday passed legislation to the full House that would change mandatory use of a helmet to an option. The bill that would allow any motorcycle rider over the age of 21 to choose whether or not to wear a helmet.

Randy Postelwaite the president of the motorcycle group ABATE suggested that the helmets that are mandated do very little good for the rider. His group cites evidence that 31 other states currently have optional helmet laws. He believes Louisiana should become the 32nd state to adopt that policy.

States that have a freedom of choice also have a smaller motorcycle fatality rate, that’s from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. States with helmet requirements also have a higher number of severe neck and spinal injuries.

Postelwaite also suggested in his comments to the Louisiana Radio Network that a helmet-optional law could provide an economic boost to the state's tourism industry. He believes motorcycle rallies would become more common place in Louisiana if the choice wear a helmet was left up to the rider.

Helmets are not the answers, other states have proven that. Louisiana needs to support increased motorcycle awareness and education, putting out share the road signs. This is how Louisiana should support protected citizens.

Meanwhile John LeBlanc feels the repeal of a mandatory helmet law would be a deadly decision by the legislature. LeBlanc who is Executive Director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission told reporters that he believes a helmet-optional law would add an additional 128 deaths to Louisiana's highway fatality rate over the next ten years. Governor John Bel Edwards supports LeBlanc's assessment and is on the record as opposing this legislation.

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