NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It only took a second for Mike Strange to crash.
“Heard a deer,” he said.”Kinda appeared out of nowhere [and there] wasn’t really time to stop.”
Last month, he hit a deer while riding his motorcycle.
“I had a couple broken bones,” said Strange.
But he knows things could have been a lot worse without his helmet.
“My helmet was rubbed all down the front, so I don’t know that it saved my life but it kept my teeth in my mouth that’s for sure,” said Strange.
After decades of riding, he’s been in a few crashes, but one thing has always been constant.
“Wearing a helmet saved my life a couple times,” said Strange. “I’ve seen it save other dudes’ lives. I’ll always wear one.”
The current law requires all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet, but Tennessee Representative Jay Reedy and Senator Kerry Roberts are looking to change that.
They’ve introduced a bill creating a four-year pilot program where drivers and passengers over the age of 21, and not insured by TennCare, are exempt from the requirement to wear a helmet when on a motorcycle or motorized bike.
“Any attempt to weaken our current law would really open the door for our roads to become a riskier place to drive for motorcyclists,” said Megan Cooper.
Cooper is a spokesperson for AAA, saying their group strongly opposes this bill.
“We understand there are opinions,” she said. “We understand those opinions vary, but I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is that the data shows that motorcyclists wearing helmets — it helps prevent injuries, it helps prevent fatalities.”
Meanwhile, Strange understands why some just want the freedom to make the decision themselves.
“Yeah, I think that people should be able to make that choice in a situation that’s only affecting them as an individual,” he said.
But despite whatever happens with this law, Strange already knows what he plans to do.
“I don’t care what anyone else does, but I’m going to wear a helmet,” he said.
News 2 reached out to State Senator Kerry Roberts who sent us this statement:
“Thirty-two states (32) allow adults to choose whether or not they wear a motorcycle helmet, yet the rate of injury or death in those states is not significantly different from states that mandate helmet use. If the rate of injury or death is not significantly different, it stands to reason that Tennessee ought to join the 32 other states that let adults make up their own mind as to whether or not to wear a helmet.”
News 2 also reached out to Representative Jay Reedy but has yet to hear back.
This bill was scheduled to be discussed at the March 1 Transportation Subcommittee hearing, but it was deferred until March 8.