No-helmet motorcycle bill dies in TN Senate committee - WSMV Channel 4

No-helmet motorcycle bill dies in TN Senate committee

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A bill designed to loosen the state's motorcycle helmet law died in the legislature Tuesday partially thanks to one man's harrowing story.

In March 2012, Jamie Simmons was riding his motorcycle back to work from Gallatin when a car suddenly pulled out in front of him.

"The police treated it as a fatality. The EMT didn't think I'd make it," Simmons said.

Simmons was wheeled into the hospital with 13 broken bones, a lacerated liver, a collapsed lung and missing his top row of teeth.

He survived, and he may not have made it if he hadn't been wearing a helmet.

"It took a shot, and I didn't have any brain damage," Simmons said.

State Rep. Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, sponsored a bill that would have allowed some motorcyclists to go without helmets in Tennessee.

"The fundamental question is who has the right to decide the risk a person can impose on themselves?" Sexton said.

It's a debate lawmakers have been fighting for years, and Sexton's bill was the most restrictive of the no-helmet proposals ever submitted. It would have required a motorcyclist to take a safety course and increase their insurance to cover medical costs in case of an accident.

"We thought we came up with a viable plan. Unfortunately, the Senate found it wasn't a viable plan," Sexton said.

Sexton says he plans to research the issue even further and may submit a new helmet bill next session.

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