HB54 Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Legislation Proposed

By Staff Reporter: Wolf von Baumgart

Delaware State Representative Sean Lynn (D – District 31 Dover) has sponsored legislation that would require all motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear helmets at all times during operation on Delaware roads.


HB 54 is co-sponsored by Reps. Stephanie T. Bolden, (D — District 2 East Wilmington) and Debra J. Heffernan (D – District 6 Bellefonte, Claymont, Edgemoor)

Text of the bill follows:

SPONSOR: Rep. Lynn & Sen. Simpson Reps. Bolden, Heffernan; Sen. Henry



Section 1. Amend § 4185(b), Title 21 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

(b) Every person operating or riding on a motorcycle shall have in that person’s possession wear a safety helmet approved by the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security (hereinafter “Secretary”) through the Office of Highway Safety and shall wear eye protection approved by the Secretary; provided, however, that every person up to 19 years of age operating or riding on a motorcycle shall wear a safety helmet and eye protection approved by the Secretary.

Section 2. This bill shall take effect upon its enactment.


Currently every motorcycle rider is required to have a helmet in his or her possession while riding. This bill requires that the person, along with any passengers, actually wear a helmet. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. Since 2014, of the 15 motorcycle fatalities in Delaware, only 6 were wearing helmets at the time of crash.

No clear pattern of the bill’s chances for passage has, as yet, emerged. The debate is framed in the general context individual freedom versus state power, as well as safety factors and economic considerations.

Attempts to contact http://www.abateofde.com/ for the organization’s comment were unsuccessful during the preparation of this article.

3 thoughts on “HB54 Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Legislation Proposed”

  1. In 1974, I purchased a brand new Suzuki T-500 Titan. I learned to ride it in the parking lot of the dealership; of course, it snowed all the way home, about thirty miles.

    I’ve been riding ever since, my current bike being an ’07 Kawasaki ZZR 600.

    I always wear a helmet for obvious reasons. And not just any helmet with a DOT sticker, but a quality helmet- in my case a full-face Arai Vector 2, about $600. A cheap helmet won’t protect you, even if it’s “approved.” Riders should ask themselves; how much is my head worth?

    This is not to say that a helmet will always save your life. It depends on the type of accident you’re involved in. If you get t-boned by a car moving at high speed, you’re probably toast, helmet or not. The same is true if you lose control at high speed, and get thrown over the bars, into a tree or some other obstruction. After all, severe internal injuries kill, too.

    But in most accidents, a helmet can save you from serious injury. For example, once I was riding around a slow (35 mph), off-camber blind curve, and some guy was washing his car right next to my lane and soapy water covered the roadway. I was at full lean. As often happens when riding a motorcycle, I had to make an instant decision; I could straighten-up and complete the turn in the wrong (dry) lane, but what if a car was coming the other way? So, I stayed leaned over and the tires slipped and I went down. Other than a bent mirror and a few scrapes, the bike was okay. Since I was wearing boots, gloves, jeans and a proper jacket, I was okay. But, upon examining my helmet, I noticed a deep scrape on the right side. I didn’t even realize that my helmet had hit the ground. Without the helmet, it would have been my head, and instead of riding away I might have been carted away.

    All of my adult life I have subscribed to motorcycle magazines, and I have read a lot of articles about safety in general, and about helmets in particular. And I’ve heard the silly arguments that a helmet can “break your neck,” interfere with your vision and so forth. To them I say, ‘why do professional motorcycle racers wear helmets?’ I then say this; ‘you are standing in the bed of a pickup truck at 50 mph, and at gunpoint, you are forced to jump off the back of the truck. However, before you jump, you are given the choice of jumping bare-headed or with a quality helmet.’ Nobody ever picks ‘bare-headed.’

    Motorcycles are inherently dangerous, and they’re not for everybody. Even among riders, only about half are competent, and fewer still are highly skilled. You need to use your eyes, your reflexes and your brain and avoid getting hit by or hitting a car at all costs. You need to know how to brake and brake hard and recognize when the front wheel is about to break traction. Nevertheless, if you ride a motorcycle for any length of time you will go down. Period. And when it happens, you’d better be prepared, and that includes wearing a helmet.

    As to the law, I’m against it. If someone wants to cruise Rehoboth Avenue on a Saturday night, at 20 mph with no helmet, fine. I do the same thing. But, put it on before you hit Route 1.

  2. Well stated Rick. If I had a motorcycle, I think I would also wear a helmet with the recent quality of automobile driving and road repair and construction going on.
    However, I would still want the right to choose. It is just another right being restricted, just to add a notch to a politician’s belt.
    The rights of the individual must be protected.

  3. When it comes to safety equipment, (motorcycle helmets, hard hats, respirators, eye and ear protection, etc.) it pays to buy the best. I was once on a ladder when a 2×4 fell on top of my hard hat and bounced off, avoiding a serious injury.

    The question remains:

    How far should government go in mandating common sense?

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