Every year, a helmet bill comes up in the Nebraska Legislature, and every year it gets rejected. Currently, Nebraska is one of nineteen states that requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, and some Nebraskans want that to change.The 2019 version of the bill was before the Transportation Committee on Tuesday and those in favor of the bill, like Gary Neeman, want more freedom on the road. "This is the official 30th time. It was ripped away from us in 1989. We will keep fighting until we get it passed."Dave Bloomfield of Hoskins spoke at the hearing and posed the question, "The states around Nebraska have pretty much repealed overly restrictive helmet laws, and still seem to be doing just fine. What is it about a little more freedom that scares Nebraska?" Some said even business is lost to Iowa, where a helmet is not legally required.Opponents of the bill argued that requiring helmets is a safety issue and lowers medical bills for everyone else.Safety experts argue there's a better chance at surviving a motorcycle crash if the driver is wearing a helmet. "I understand the pro-repeal position of free choice to wear or not to wear a helmet, however, when that free choice to not wear a helmet leads to traumatic brain injury and long-term needs that I, as a taxpayer, will have to fund, then that free choice has now affected all of us," occupational therapist Dr. Brooke Murtaugh said.Patrick Lange used to believe freedom to choose outweighed everything else in the helmet debate, that is until he blew a tire on his honeymoon and crashed in South Dakota while not wearing a helmet. Lange survived a traumatic brain injury from the accident, but his wife died in the accident. "I'm grateful I live in Nebraska. My sons ride motorcycles. I know when they get on their bike, they have no choice but to wear a helmet."If the helmet law is repealed the changes would affect those 21 and older. It would remain mandatory to wear a helmet for those under the age of 21.
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