Transportation and Telecommunications

Updated motorcycle helmet requirements advanced

A bill modifying Nebraska’s motorcycle helmet law advanced to select file March 5.

Sen. Ben Hansen
Sen. Ben Hansen

Lawmakers last session repealed the state’s helmet requirement for riders age 21 and older who have completed a basic motorcycle safety course.

Blair Sen. Ben Hansen, sponsor of LB1004, said current law requires even experienced riders to take both the online and in-person course components.

“This requirement has overwhelmed the safety classes with skilled riders and prevents those who actually need to learn the basics of riding from attending,” he said.

Under LB1004, a Nebraska resident who is 21 and older and has received a Class M license prior to May 1, 2024, could operate a motorcycle or moped on a highway in Nebraska without a helmet if they have completed the three-hour online course component and submitted proof of completion to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

Riders who receive their license after May 1, 2024, would not be required to wear a helmet if they have completed the full course and submitted proof of completion to the department.

Nonresidents who are 21 and older and choose not to wear a helmet no longer would be required to show proof of motorcycle rider course completion to a law enforcement officer. Hansen said the current requirement is unenforceable because officers have no way to validate an out-of-state rider’s certification during a traffic stop.

Hansen’s proposal also would eliminate the current requirement that passengers must complete the safety course before riding without a helmet. Under LB1004, a passenger could ride without a helmet if the person operating the motorcycle is not required to wear a helmet.

Under a Transportation and Telecommunications Committee amendment, adopted 33-1, a passenger also would have to be 21 and older to ride without a helmet.

Hansen introduced an amendment, adopted 32-2, to add an emergency clause to the bill, under which it would take effect immediately upon passage.

Lawmakers then voted 34-3 to advance LB1004 to the second round of debate.

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