Tennessee GOP senator espouses ‘sacred right to be stupid’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A bill seeking to do away with Tennessee’s motorcycle helmet requirement has failed in the state Senate.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield, argued that it should be up to any adult rider with private health insurance to decide whether to ride without a helmet.

In Roberts’ words: “I happen to think he’s stupid if he rides a motorcycle without a helmet, but that’s one of our sacred rights: to be stupid.”

The measure received a 4-4 vote in the Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday. Bills need to receive a majority of the nine-member panel to advance.

There were about 167,000 motorcycles registered in Tennessee as of at the start of this year.