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WA Lege Day 18: Helmet law bashed, defended

Not your usual attire for lobbyists at a bill hearing, motorcyclists lobby for a bill to let them ride helmet free.

OLYMPIA – Motorcyclists made their annual plea to the Legislature to let them ride without helmets in Washington state, citing everything from accident statistics to the Constitution in an effort to overturn what they view as an infringement on their personal liberty.

If the NFL can’t design a helmet to protect their players from traumatic brain injury, asked Rich Bright of Yakima, how can anyone believe a motorcycle helmet built to decades-old standards protects a rider.

Insurance, health and law enforcement officials made what has become the annual rebuttal, that helmets save lives or lessen injuries and save overall medical costs.

But the argument for helmets is really about compassion, said Susan Tracy of the state Medical Association, for saving some motorcycle riders and their families from more serious injuries, or death.  . . 


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WA Lege: Get yer motor runnin…

OLYMPIA —  Cue Steppenwolf. It's Black Thursday on the Capitol Campus, the day when members of ABATE come to lobby their legislators.

ABATE stands for A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments, and pushes for legislation it prefers on motorcycles, including an end to the state requirement for wearing helmets.

It's a day when the lobbyists in expensive suits rub shoulders with guys in leathers and ponytails in the halls of the legislative buildings. And the arrival of hundreds of large motorcycles, many of them Harleys, shakes the buidlings.