Gov. Haley promises to veto motorcycle helmet law - FOX Carolina 21

Gov. Haley promises to veto motorcycle helmet law

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The first day of South Carolina's legislature had motorcyclists taking notice. Many are revved up over a bill that would require them to wear a helmet.

Sen. Ralph Anderson (D-Greenville) filed a bill last month that would change the language of the current helmet law from only requiring riders under 21 to wear a helmet to include all motorcycle riders.

Anderson said the numbers of fatalities last year speak volumes and that it's the legislature's responsibility to keep South Carolina drivers - and riders - safe.

South Carolina Highway Patrol said that in 2011, there were 23 motorcycle fatalities in Greenville, Pickens, Spartanburg, Anderson, and Oconee counties alone. Officials said every one of those was somehow caused by the biker.

Highway Patrol said across the state, motorcycle fatalities have jumped. In 2011, there were 102, compared to 82 in 2010.

Some bikers say helmets can block vision or hearing, making it difficult to navigate while riding.

"I believe in helmets," said Stacey Major, the general manager of Harley Davidson of Greenville. "I believe that they do save lives, and we encourage everybody to wear a helmet while they're out riding, but we also feel that wearing helmets is freedom of choice."

ABATE is a motorcycle rights advocacy group, and about 100 riders made their way to the capital Tuesday morning.

Bob Baxter is the Upstate coordinator who said his helmet caused him to get into a wreck, but he said it has never prevented a wreck.

Gov. Nikki Haley, a member of a Lexington County's ABATE, told bikers at the statehouse that the senate has more important matters to focus on. She told them to tell their legislators, "Don't waste your time," because even if it does pass, she'll veto the bill.

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