Proposed bill require helmets for SC motorcyclists - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Proposed bill require helmets for SC motorcyclists

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South Carolina lawmakers are reading over a proposed bill that would require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet when riding, including those who ride scooters.

The bill was proposed by State Rep. Wendell Gilliard, and it's already receiving some support from other lawmakers.

Some riders say the decision to wear helmets should be theirs, not the government.

"Helmets have saved lots of lives, there's no doubt about it," said Barney Felton. "But I just feel it's an individuals choice."

Felton has been riding motorcycles for 30 years. Now that he no longer races professionally, he says there's no reason for him to wear a helmet.

But another rider, Bill Wenrick never gets on his bike without his helmet, but he agrees with Felton.

"To each his own. If people want to ride without a helmet that's on them," said Wenrick. "That's their safety. They're taking their life into their own hands and that's their choice."

The proposed bill would be an amendment to the current law, which requires anyone 20 or younger to wear a helmet. It's optional for those who are over the age of 20.

Gilliard says he proposed the bill after getting motorcycle wreck stats from Highway Patrol, which says the number of motorcycle deaths are on the rise.

In 2012 there were 110 fatal motorcycle wrecks, 75 involved a victim who was not wearing a helmet. That number jumped to 121 last year, and 94 of those victims were not wearing helmets.

"I think this is a way to be proactive. If you have to wear a seat belt, I think it's only fair that we do the same when we're riding the motorcycles," said Gilliard.

"It still comes down to that individual right," said Felton. "You're not wearing a helmet in 100 degree weather in a car, and a seat belt doesn't make you sweat."

The bill was proposed last Wednesday, and is receiving some support by other lawmakers.

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