senate Bill S1900

Provides that motorcyclists under the age of twenty-one shall wear protective helmets of a type approved by the commissioner when operating or riding a motorcycle

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Bill Status

  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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  • 09 / Jan / 2013
  • 08 / Jan / 2014


Exempts motorcyclists over the age of twenty-one from the requirement of wearing protective helmets of a type approved by the commissioner of motor vehicles when operating or riding a motorcycle.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
Legislative Cycle:
Senate Transportation
Law Section:
Vehicle and Traffic Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §381, V & T L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S2974, A5364
2009-2010: S2403, A4541
2007-2008: A3699

Sponsor Memo


TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation
to requiring certain motorcyclists to wear protective helmets

PURPOSE: This bill exempts those 21 years and over from being forced to
wear helmets while operating motorcycles.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Subdivision 6 of § 381 of the Vehicle and Traf-
fic Law is amended.

JUSTIFICATION: The "Federal Aid Highway Act of 1975" abolished the
power of the Department of Transportation to withhold highway safety
funds for noncompliance with mandatory helmet laws. Since then, twenty-
seven states now have optional helmet laws for adults. Included in this
number are such neighboring states as Connecticut, Rhode Island, Dela-
ware, New Hampshire, Maine, and Ohio, making New York's law inconsistent
with regional policy.

A survey of 1995 data shows comprehensive mandatory helmet laws DO NOT
result in lower fatality rates. In fact, statistics show a higher
frequency of fatalities among riders in states with mandatory helmet
laws- (1 in 1574 registered motorcycles) as compared to states that have
optional laws for adult riders (1 in 1867 registered motorcycles).

These numbers support other studies, one done using 1993 statistics
which showed fatalities per 100 motorcycle accidents in mandatory helmet
states to be 2.98 as compared to voluntary helmet states, 2.90.

Helmets are an unnatural weight upon the head of the rider and radically
increase cranial temperatures. Helmets severely restrict peripheral
vision and significantly reduce hearing. No helmet, regardless of cost
or design, is capable of resisting impact stresses above 13 m.p.h., as
Federal Department of Transportation testing has evidenced, and, in
lateral skids, helmets deteriorated at 1 1/2 m.p.h. Thus, taking into
account that survey result the choice of when and where to wear the
helmet would best be left up to the person operating the motorcycle, as
is the case in the several other states.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.1953 of 2005/2006. S.2836 of 2007/2008 S.2403
of 2009/2010 S.2974 of 2011/2012

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the 45th day after it
shall have become a law.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K


                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E


                             January 9, 2013

Introduced  by Sen. NOZZOLIO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation

AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in  relation  to  requiring
  certain motorcyclists to wear protective helmets


  Section 1. Subdivision 6 of section 381 of  the  vehicle  and  traffic
law,  as  amended by chapter 471 of the laws of 1994, is amended to read
as follows:
  6. It shall be unlawful for any person UNDER THE AGE OF TWENTY-ONE  to
operate  or  ride  upon a motorcycle unless he OR SHE wears a protective
helmet of a type which meets  the  requirements  set  forth  in  section
571.218  of  the federal motor vehicle safety standards as may from time
to time be amended.  The commissioner is hereby authorized and  directed
to  adopt regulations for helmets which are consistent with the require-
ments as specified in section 571.218 of the federal motor vehicle safe-
ty standards as may from time to time be amended. The police authorities
of a city, town or village may  issue  a  permit  exempting  members  of
organizations  sponsoring  or conducting parades or other public exhibi-
tions from the provisions of this subdivision  while  such  members  are
participating in such parades or other public exhibitions.
  S  2. This act shall take effect on the forty-fifth day after it shall
have become a law.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.


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