The debate over whether motorcyclists should wear protective helmets when riding has been a seemingly endless one. Motorcycle enthusiasts across the nation are divided on this subject, some arguing that it crosses the line in terms of one's freedom. Tennessee motorcyclists are currently required to wear a helmet while operating bikes on the road, but might those laws change in the future?
According to one U.S. News article, some motorcyclists have recently continued the fight for freedom, despite the rising numbers of fatalities in some states that have loosened laws surrounding required helmet use. Some riders even go as far as to connect the freedom of choosing to wear a helmet with the freedom of speech; others claim that a tumble from a bike will likely do damage regardless of helmet use. However, doctors and safety experts alike argue otherwise, stating that making this choice comes with serious risks. While studies show a rising number of deaths alongside changes in helmet laws, one motorcyclist highlighted in U.S. News' article pointed out that an increasing number of motorcycle registration across the country has actually reflected a decrease in deaths since helmet-less laws took effect.
As motorcyclists, safety experts and insurance agents continue to disagree over helmet laws, there appear to be no changes in Tennessee's regulations on the matter. The Governors Highway Safety Association shares that a universal helmet law has been in effect in the state since 1967. This universal helmet law was, in part, popularized with the benefits it brought along: highway safety funds. The penalties for noncompliance with this law has since been revoked, but the GHSA adds that 47 states still enforce helmet laws for motorcyclists.