Move to repeal Nevada motorcycle helmet law fails again

CARSON CITY — A bill to repeal the state law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets again has died in the Legislature, this time because its sponsor, Sen. Don Gustavson, pulled it from consideration.

Gustavson, R-Sparks, said Tuesday he was concerned that some supporters of his bill would “personally attack” legislators if a hearing were conducted on Senate Bill 150.

While he believes the bill would have passed the Senate, he said he would not tolerate such behavior just because people have a difference of opinion on the issue.

He would not identify which individual would attack legislators.

It’s the seventh legislative session Gustavson has failed to get through a bill to allow motorcyclists to drive without helmets. Nevada’s helmet law went into effect in 1972.

While at one time almost every state had a helmet law, now 31 states do not require adults to wear helmets.

Gustavson’s moves to repeal the law have won committee approval in past sessions but failed to clear both houses of the Legislature.

The opposition contends a repeal would lead to more costly brain injuries for motorcycle riders involved in accidents. Costs of traumatic brain injuries can run into the millions of dollars.

Gustavson has maintained it is a freedom of choice issue and asserted the motorcyclists have health insurance in the same rates as the general population. But legislators have blocked repeal moves because of the possibility that state government or county hospitals would have to absorb most of the treatment costs.

He said he will seek to repeal the helmet law again in 2015. He added he does not consider repeal a partisan issue, acknowledging some members of his own party oppose his moves.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.