senate Bill S2974

2011-2012 Legislative Session

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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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee

  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 04, 2012 referred to transportation
Feb 04, 2011 referred to transportation


S2974 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Vehicle and Traffic Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §381, V & T L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S2403, A4541

S2974 - Bill Texts

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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.

view sponsor memo

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

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

Subdivision 6 of § 381 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law is amended.

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,
Delaware, 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

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.

S.1953 of 2005/2006
S.2836 of 2007/2008
S.2403 of 2009/2010

None to the state.


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

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K


                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            February 4, 2011

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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