On January 5, 2023, Nebraska state senator Ben Hansen introduced Legislative Bill 91 to the 108th Nebraska state legislature. If enacted as written, this bill would repeal the state’s current existing requirement that all motorcycle riders wear helmets for certain riders. (Some crucial context: Nebraska is unique among U.S. states in that it has a unicameral legislature, and does not have two separate houses through which bills must individually pass.) 

The text of this bill amends the existing Nebraska state helmet law to say that riders must either wear a helmet that meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218, 49 C.F.R. 571.218 as it pertains to motorcycle helmets, unless they fulfill two conditions. One, they must be 21 years of age or older. Two, they must have passed a Motorcycle Safety Foundation or similar approved basic rider course.  

If a rider fulfills both of those requirements, this bill suggests that they should be allowed to simply ride a motorcycle as long as they have some type of eye protection in place. Acceptable eye protection is defined in the text of the bill as “glasses that cover the orbital region of the person’s face, a protective face shield attached to a protective helmet, goggles, or a windshield on the motorcycle or moped that protects the operator’s and passenger’s horizontal line of vision in all operating positions.” 

The bill was referred to the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee on January 9, 2023, and an official hearing date was set for January 24. On that date, testimony was heard from multiple parties, both in favor of and opposing this legislation.  

Proponents argued that a requirement for a basic motorcycle rider course if riders do not wish to wear helmets would offer safety benefits. Opponents cited statistics showing that certified motorcycle helmets reduce serious injury and healthcare costs, which they argue benefits taxpayers. Additionally, a member of the Nebraska Nurses Association noted that while helmets can prevent catastrophic head injuries, eye protection as outline in the text of the bill would not provide the same benefits.

This isn't the first time that the Nebraska state legislature has taken up such a bill, with one that would repeal the helmet law entirely ultimately failing to pass muster in 2021. At the time of writing in January 2023, no further action has been taken on LB91. If you’re a resident of the state and you want to follow its developments, be sure to check the link in our Sources to read all the details on this bill. 

Got a tip for us? Email: tips@rideapart.com