Iowa is one of only three states without a motorcycle helmet law. The National Transportation Safety Board this week issued a “wish list” that includes mandatory helmet laws for all states.
Scott Falb, with the Iowa Department of Transportation, says 60 people have died in motorcycle crashes so far this year in Iowa. That’s just one behind the 61 motorcycle fatalities recorded in 2007, which was the highest number of deaths since 1982. Falb says fatal motorcycle crashes in Iowa have been on the rise since 1996 and most have involved riders who were not wearing a helmet.
“Typically we run between 80 and 90 percent of our fatalities…are not helmeted in crashes,” Falb said. Iowa passed a mandatory helmet law, under pressure from the federal government, in 1975. The law was repealed nine months later following a rally involving motorcyclists who rode their bikes around the capitol building.
The N-T-S-B reports more than 4,400 people died in motorcycle crashes last year across the country. Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire are the only states with no helmet laws. Twenty-seven states have partial laws that require minors or passengers to wear helmets, while 20 states have helmet laws that apply to all riders.