Kansas Senate wants to Penalize Adults for Helmetless Teens

February 10, 2010

Motorcycle insurance may pay medical bills if you get into an accident on your bike, but it can’t protect you from a new bill being considered by the Kansas State Senate. It’s already illegal for teen drivers to drive or ride upon on a motorcycle sans helmet in the “Sunflower State,” but the bill under consideration wants parents to face the law as well, if they allow their teens to go unhelmeted.

According to the report, the bill was introduced roughly a month ago, on January 14, and it would make it illegal for owners of a motorized bicycle or motorcycle to permit any person under 18 years old to drive or ride on their vehicle without wearing a helmet.

According to Hutchinson Police Sergeant Brian Hurt, if the bill passes, “…adults could be ticketed for that now, too.”

According to Sgt. Hirt, teens between the ages of 14 and 17 can already be cited for not wearing helmets, with the average ticket costing $25 in fines, and $75 in court costs.

Hirt suggested to the press, “”Maybe (the bill) is a way to encourage people under 18 to wear a helmet, and for adults to say, ‘If you want to ride my motorcycle, you need to have a helmet.”’

According to numbers provided by the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration), 4,810 people were killed and 88,000 were injured in motorcycle accidents in 2006. In the same year, in Kansas, 64 riders were killed in motorcycle crashes, of which 43 weren’t wearing helmets.

Overall, motorcycle helmet use has been increasing across the country, the NHTSA says, with 67 percent of bikers wearing headgear in 2009, a compared with only 48 percent four years before, in 2005.