Bikers Speak On Helmet Laws

GULFPORT (WLOX) -- Strap it on, or leave it off.  Helmet laws are something Mike Holland hears a lot about, whether he's working or hanging out on his Harley. He works for Thunder Roads Magazine out of Louisiana.  Holland says many of his readers would support lawmakers to get rid of helmet law for adults.

"We fought hard for it before with lots of phone calls, e-mails and everything.  They finally realized that we are voters too," says Holland.

Nine years ago Louisiana Governor Mike Foster repealed the law, but under Governor Kathleen Blanco, the helmets went back on in 2004.

South Mississippi biker Kevin Bearnes says part of being an adult is considering the risks and deciding what you want to do.

"Everybody knows when they get on a motorcycle what the dangers are, if they choose not to wear it, that's they're choice," says Bearnes, biker.

Right now, only three states give adults the right to choice whether or not to wear a helmet.  Mississippi and 19 other states, along with Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico require all riders to wear helmets.  The remaining 27 states have age-specific laws, usually requiring riders under 18 to wear helmets.

Rider David Woods says he thinks it's a good idea such laws are in place.

"I've ridden with out helmets before, and it gives you the feeling of being wide and free.  But, at the same time, at any moment somebody could pull out in front of you, and there goes your sense of security because you have nothing there to protect your head," says Woods.

Regardless of how things turn out in Louisiana, helmet laws will continue to be an issue up for debate among bikers nationwide.

The bill in Louisiana would require people getting a motorcycle licence for the first-time to go through a safety and training program. If the bill passes, it would go into effect July 2009.