Bill to Create Helmet Law Passes - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Bill to Create Helmet Law Passes

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Legislation that would implement a limited helmet law passed unanimously during session Monday. Bill 87 was introduced by Senator Tommy Morrison. Although the original language in the bill called for everyone operating a motorcycle to wear a helmet, the legislation was amended. "Our goal has always been to increase rider safety.  At the end of the day, the Limited Helmet Law will achieve this, especially amongst novice riders. Once this law is fully implemented, newly licensed riders of motorcycles and scooters will have to wear helmets for a period of three years," said Morrison.

The approved version of Bill No. 87 will require that all newly licensed motorcycle and scooter riders to wear a Department of Transportation approved helmet for a period of three (3) years.  The bill also mandates that newly licensed cyclists first complete a defensive driving/motorcycle safety education course prior to being licensed.  This provision in Bill No. 87 goes into effect beginning January 1, 2015.

"Wearing a helmet is the most basic safety standard in operating a motorcycle.  Just like strapping on a seat belt, it should become instinctive to wear a helmet.  I'm hopeful that riders will contemplate this and put this into practice," added Morrison

The Limited Helmet Law also requires passengers under the age of 18 also wear a helmet for their protection and safety.  An additional key provision in Bill No. 87 is limitation of operation of a motorcycle or scooter.  Licensees would be prohibited from operating a motorcycle or scooter of larger engine size than that to which they are licensed.  As an example, an operator taking the motorcycle exam with a 125cc engine would be limited to that size of engine.  In order to operate a motorcycle with a larger engine, like a 250cc engine, the operator must apply and test for a new license under that engine size. This restriction was a suggestion that was identified by the motorcycle community during the public hearing and was ultimately incorporated into the bill.

"I thank the motorcycle community for their valuable input.  I want to stress that this was never an attack against them.  Rather it was an effort to save lives and increase motorcycle safety. I want to encourage everyone to make the smart choice, the safe choice of wearing a helmet," concluded Morrison.

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