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Law Lets Texas Motorcycle Riders Risk Own Lives
A tragic start to 2013 -- a father and his son were riding a motorcycle Tuesday, when they crashed, killing both of them. Neither one was wearing a helmet, but according to Texas law, the son should have been. Texas requires helmets for those 20 and younger.
An avid rider, Douglas Cade has had his fair share of accidents on the road. “I’ve been in major accidents and minor accidents and both times I was wearing a helmet,” he says.
But for someone who has stared death in the eye, multiple times, he still fully supports an adults right not to.
"It's America. You should have the right to choose whether or not you want to wear your helmet or not,” says Cade.
The father and son that died Tuesday in Austin were not wearing helmets, but the 13-year-old should have been, according to Texas law. The father was also not licensed to ride the bike.
In 2011, there were 471 motorcycle fatalities in the state. In 249 of them, the rider was not wearing a helmet, but in 212 cases, they did. In ten of the fatalities it is unknown if a helmet was worn.
“For some reason traffic deaths are high,” says Lt. Justin Newsom, Austin Police Department.
As for Cade, while he supports an adult’s decision to not wear a helmet, he says a child should not and does not have that same luxury.
To ride a motorcycle legally in Texas, you must hold medical insurance covering injuries in the case of an accident. New drivers must take a motorcycle education course. However, police say it’s difficult to know if everyone on the road is qualified to drive. A 2009 law makes it illegal for an officer to pull someone over to check if they have the above qualifications.
By Ashley Miller