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Guam Motorists Disagree on Helmet Bill

September 29, 2009

Guam Motorists Disagree on Helmet Bill

By Jacqueline Perry

GUAM – Early this month Vice-Speaker Benjamin J. F. Cruz and Senator Tina Muna-Barnes introduced a bill that will require the mandatory use of helmets.

The current law that Guam has on motorcycle safety is GCA § 3305 which calls for mandatory use of safety helmets for all under-18 riders of motorcycles and bicycles equipped with a motor. The bill introduced by Senators Cruz and Muna-Barnes, if passed will remove the age limitation and expand the scope of the law to include all motorcycle riders including bicycles equipped with a motor to wear helmets.

“I think it’s all the scooters that are to blame (for the bill being written). I don’t think there should be a helmet law, there already is a special license required for motorcyclists. I’m curious to see what the statistics are for motorcycle accidents versus scooter accidents in the past year,” motorist Ann-Marie Flores said.

According to a press release announcing the introduction of the bill, “there have been two motorcycle fatalities in the last month.”

There have been no reports of any scooter fatalities however accidents involving scooters have occurred on Guam’s roads.

Head injury is a leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes and wearing a helmet can reduce crash fatalities among riders by nearly 37 percent,” according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Kristine Young who is often a passenger on a motorcycle and drives her own scooter thinks helmets “should be mandatory. Motorcycles go faster than scooters and riding motorcycles should require more protection. But throw in scooter helmets too! Why shouldn’t helmets be law? That should be the question.”

Former motorcycle rider Clayton Wolfe calls the bill a “no-brainer.” “There is no logical argument against safety,” he added.

But many of Guam’s motorcycle enthusiasts are unhappy with this proposed legislation and are banding together to fight against the passage of this bill.

This evening at 7 p.m. at Wild Bills in Tamuning, local riding groups, the Guam Hawgs and H.O.G (Harley Owners of Guam) are meeting to discuss how they will represent themselves at the public hearing for Bill 225-30 scheduled for this Friday, October 2, at 9 a.m.

Head mechanic of the Guam Harley Davidson shop, Dodd Plew explained he thinks people should be able to choose weather they want to wear a helmet or not.

In the press release announcing the introduction of Bill 225-30, Cruz insists, the proposed legislation is “protection – not restriction.”

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