House votes to remove helmet requirement for autocycles

Posted March 22

— Members of the state House have voted to allow drivers of three-wheeled autocycles to hit the road without wearing a helmet, even if the vehicle has no roof.

"I personally was not supportive of this until I personally saw one and rode in one of them," said Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, the bill's primary sponsor.

Because an autocycle has a seatbelt and other protections that don't exist on motorcycles, Speciale said, wearing a helmet doesn't make sense.

"It affects your vision from side to side," he said. "It really serves no purpose."

North Carolina does require those who ride two-wheeled motorcycles to wear helmets, despite repeated efforts to do away with the requirement. That requirement stays largely because lawmakers believe it saves lives, and some legislators said loosening the autocycle rules could erode the motorcycle rule.

"I think, the more exceptions we put in for helmets, the more we weaken the argument," said Rep. William Brawley, R-Mecklenburg.

Rep. Charles Graham, D-Robeson, opposed the bill and posed a question to Rep. Jamie Boles, R-Moore, who is a funeral home director by trade.

"Do you think this will increase your business?" Graham asked.

"It don't think it would hurt," Boles replied.

The measure passed the House 76-41 and is now headed to the Senate.


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