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Helmet Repeal Bill (LB 91) added as amendment to LB 138 as last-minute effort to advance a bill in last days of legislative session.

Brian Ortner
Public Affairs Specialist, AAA - Nebraska

OMAHA, NE, (May 30, 2023) — Today, the statewide coalition of organizations that assembled earlier in the year continues its strong opposition to a legislative proposal that would substantially weaken Nebraska's motorcycle helmet law, and therefore increase the number of deaths and traumatic injuries on the state's highways.

LB 91 has been adopted as an amendment to LB 138 in the Nebraska Legislature. As an amendment to LB 138 this new placement of LB 91 would allow motorcyclists over the age of 21 to ride without a helmet, whereas current law requires all riders to wear helmets. A concern in addition to that of riders safety is the legal impact of adding state-specific changes to a bill that is updating federal regulations of a different topic of transportation.

Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69 percent and lower the risk of death by 42 percent. In 2020, states without universal helmet laws saw a 57 percent death rate among motorcyclists who were not wearing helmets, compared to 11 percent in states with universal helmet laws, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. From the Government Accountability Office, "laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets are the only strategy proven to be effective in reducing motorcyclist fatalities." After Michigan weakened its all-rider helmet law in 2012, the percentage of non-helmeted crash scene fatalities quadrupled, and the number of motorcyclist trauma patients hospitalized with a head injury rose 14%.

Missouri elected to remove their helmet law in 2020. Preliminary data over the last three years shows an increase in un-helmeted rider fatalities. An increase of nearly 800% compared to the same time frame before the helmet law repeal. (See the attached from Missouri Department of Transportation.)

Multiple studies of states that have repealed their motorcycle helmet law show an increase in rider deaths, serious and disabling brain injuries and medical costs, which are usually borne by taxpayers and the state. Annually, motorcycle crashes cost $13 billion in economic impact and $66 billion in societal harm, as measured by comprehensive costs based on 2010 data. When adjusted only for inflation, these amounts increase to $17 billion and $86 billion, respectively. Serious injuries and fatalities accounted for 87 percent of total comprehensive costs of motorcycle crashes, compared to 57 percent of the total comprehensive costs of all motor vehicle crashes. The repeal of all-rider motorcycle helmet laws has led to increased economic costs, including insurance premiums, in many states.

According to a recent survey conducted by AAA, 81% of Nebraskans support maintaining the state's current law. The current law has worked well in keeping motorcyclists safe on our roadways. We cannot afford to weaken it. The number of organizations and individuals who testified during the Transportation and Telecommunications hearing back in January outweighed those who are in favor of the repeal.

The public roads and highways are the responsibility of everyone who uses them. All we are asking is that everyone use them safely.

We encourage you to contact your senator in addition to Speaker John Arch, Senator Ben Hansen and Senator Carolyn Bosn and let them know that a choice in this matter is a choice of saving lives, preventing injuries and being safe on our roads. AAA has created an easy way for residents to reach their senator by utilizing this action alert.


AAA – The Auto Club Group

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

NE Chapter - American Physical Therapy Association

Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska

Kids and Car Safety

Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

National Safety Council-Nebraska Chapter

National Transportation Safety Board

Nebraska Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association

Nebraska Hospital Association

Nebraska Medical Association

Nebraska Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.

Nebraska Safety Council


Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research