Lawmakers looking into bringing back motorcycle helmet law

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HARTFORD -- Should people be required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle in Connecticut?

A hearing Wednesday discussed a bill proposing to reinstate Connecticut's motorcycle helmet law. As it stands now, the law only requires riders under age 18 to wear helmets. For adults driving or riding as a passenger, it is their choice.

The Connecticut Motorcycle Riders Association is publicly against the bill and urging members to speak out against it. The group says "[Let] them know that the bill opposition is not anti-helmet, we are anti-HELMET LAWS!"

"It should be their right," said Gary Tuccio of Shelton. "I'm not saying anything against a person who wears a helmet. It doesn't work for me and I've never put myself in a position where I've needed it and I think people have to be responsible for their actions and too many people aren't any more."

Safety advocates point out there is an increased risk of injury for riders if they get in a crash and are not wearing a helmet.

The CT Transportation Safety Research Center reports the estimated loss to the state from motorcycle related injuries and death is $400 million. The group says helmet use reduced the rick of death by 37% and head injuries by 69%.

"If you have an observed voluntary helmet use rate of about 50%, death rates go up," said Dr. Garry Lapidus, Director of the Injury Prevention Center at Connecticut Childrens Medical Center & Hartford Hospital. "This is an effective law and we have 30 years of research to back that up."

Lawmakers say they're listening to both sides of the debate, but no plans or timeline have been set yet.