The Senate voted 19-32 for Senate Bill 2535, which would require anyone under 18 who rides on a motorcycle to wear a helmet. The measure needed 30 “yes” votes to pass.

State senators once again have overwhelmingly rejected requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets.

The Senate voted 19-32 for Senate Bill 2535, which would require anyone under 18 who rides on a motorcycle to wear a helmet. The measure needed 30 “yes” votes to pass.


Similar ideas applied to riders have all ages have fallen short in previous years. Supporters hoped limiting it to minors would have better success.


Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, argued that soaring costs for dealing with riders who suffer traumatic brain injuries because they don't wear helmets should be a sobering argument for the requirement.


"They don't purposely run into trees. These are called accidents," Trotter said.


But impassioned critics, led by Sen. Gary Forby, argued that the issue was about both personal freedom and safety.


They said it's safer for riders to not wear a helmet because there's less restricted vision and hearing to avoid accidents. Forby, D-Benton, asked if lawmakers also would consider requiring boaters and horse riders to wear helmets.


"What about our freedom? We always want a choice," Forby said. "If I don't want them to wear a helmet, I'm responsible."


State Capitol Bureau