UPDATE: The bill that would require reflective materials on all motorcycle helmets used and sold in Alabama has passed committee and is one step closer to becoming law. Chris Litteral with Alabama Law Tigers Motorcycle Lawyers and Dixe ABATE, a motorcycle advocacy group, posted about the developments on his Facebook page:
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WKRG/BIKER DAD) –“Singling out of one specific group is profiling and we, as motorcyclist, are well aware of this fact,” says Matthew Schroeder, State Director, Dixie ABATE of Alabama, Alabama’s only state motorcycle rights organization. He’s talking about Alabama Senate Bill-357 which would require motorcycle helmets to have reflective features for high visibility.
Part of the complaint is that this only adds to the expense of already costly safety gear. Decent helmets aren’t cheap, and those with reflective features tend to cost even more. State Senator Clyde Chambliss (R) sponsored the bill. You can read it in full here:
“Mandating a requirement to add reflective material to helmets is counter productive to making riders more visible. Many riders already wear high visibility shirts and reflective jackets when riding. Many riders also having additional lighting for visibility,” said Schroeder. The Director of the Department of Public Safety would determine what qualifies as “reflective features.” The Director would then publish a list of those that qualify.
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The legislation also targets feet. It would make riding or being a passenger on a bike while not wearing shoes illegal. That may present another issue, what qualifies as shoes? Does that mean it’s illegal to ride in flip flops or sandals? Or do those qualify as shoes? The law also makes it illegal for anyone to allow a child to ride without a helmet or shoes. Riding a motorcycle in Alabama without a helmet is already illegal.
The law would also make it illegal for dealers and other retailers to sell helmets in Alabama without the reflective features. That would mean riders could not buy a cheaper helmet, then add their own reflective materials. “We feel that the Senators and Representatives would be a lot more productive in regards to motorcycling , if they would pass legislation requiring a motorcycle skills test and teach motorcycle awareness in drivers education,” said Schroeder.
The Biker Dad Blog has reached out to state senator Clyde Chambliss (R) for comment on this. He has not responded to our emails and his phone number has a mailbox that has not been set up.
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Chris Best is the News Director for WKRG News 5. He’s a husband and father of four. He’s also a motorcycle enthusiast.