Ky. Lawmaker Tries to Issue Helmet Bill

By: Phil Pendelton
By: Phil Pendelton

The Kentucky General Assembly began a 30-day short session yesterday. Each legislative session starts out with dozens, if not hundreds of pre-filed legislation. One piece that will be discussed again is a bike helmet bill.

Three years ago a legislator received a letter from a little girl in Eastern Kentucky asking for a bicycle helmet law. Ironically the letter was written just before the girl died in a bike accident.

In talking to Rep, Brandon Smith, who tried unsuccessfully to get the bike helmet law passed three years ago you can tell he almost feels a calling to get it passed this year.

There’s a picture of a little girl on Smith’s desk. He put it there to remind him to never give up in his quest to pass a bicycle helmet law.

“I’ve had a hard time with this because I didn’t ask for this, it came to me,” Smith said.

Three years ago Smith introduced the Marshae Nicole Neace Bicycle Safety Act in committee where her father testified.

“It was just a simple helmet ... a simple helmet would have saved her life,” her father, Malcolm Neace said.

The bill didn’t pass because at the time some said the state shouldn’t mandate parental rights and some feared the law would include motorcycle helmets.

“ ... Bill has nothing to do with motorcycles. We got into that last time. We got a large group against us last time because they misunderstood it,” Smith said.

Smith said opposition won’t stop him from carrying out what he describes as the last will and testament of a little girl who loved riding her bike and wanted it safe for everyone else.

“That was her last act and she folded it with her little hands and put it in her desk and addressed it to me and I will file that bill every time until we get it passed,” Smith said.

Smith said he feels the mood and tone of the legislature has changed and he believes this is the year to finally get it passed.

Smith’s bill would require everyone under 16 to wear a helmet when riding or being a passenger on a bike.

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