Charleston, WV — If you’re a West Virginian and you prefer to ride sans helmet you may be in luck soon. The current law, W. Va. Code § 17C-15-44, requires all motorcycle riders to “[wear] securely fastened on his or her head by either a neck or chin strap a protective helmet designed to deflect blows, resist penetration and spread impact forces.” However, this may be changing in the near future if two State Senators, Mark Maynard and Sue Cline, have their way.
On March 8th, Sen. Maynard and Sen. Cline introduced SB 549 to “[allow] individuals at least 21 or older operate or ride motorcycle without helmet.” The bill, if passed, would require riders who opt not to wear a helmet to meet certain other requirements. Namely, a rider would need to have two years riding experience or have to complete a motorcycle safety education program. There is also a medical insurance requirement, but the exact requirements are not included. Other states with insurance requirements, usually require at least $10,000 – $20,000 in coverage. These strict requirements look similar to Michigan’s law that was passed in 2012. It would make West Virginia, along with Michigan, the two most onerous states in terms of helmet laws, other than those states that mandate everyone wear helmets.