A 55-year-old biker protesting New York State’s law requiring helmet use died at a hospital Saturday after striking his head in an accident.
The Associated Press reports that Phillip A. Contos of Parish, N.Y., was riding with others through the town of Onondaga on Saturday afternoon without head protection to protest the state’s requirement that bikers wear helmets.
State Troopers told the Syracuse Post-Standard that Contos was driving a 1983 Harley Davidson when his bike fishtailed and he flipped over the handlebars, striking his head on the pavement. He was later pronounced dead at Upstate University Hospital. Police say that had he been wearing a helmet, Contos would probably have survived the accident.
The ride was organized in part by ABATE (American Bikers Aimed for Education), according to a local ABC affiliate reporting on the accident. A spokesperson for the group said they didn't know if Contos was a member.
Many motorcycling enthusiasts have fought against helmet laws, saying they infringe on personal rights and that studies on helmet laws impacting safety have been skewed. Michigan is currently considering a repeal of its helmet law, which has passed the senate but still needs to move through the legislature and be signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.