NASHVILLE, Tenn.–Two bills which would change how motorcyclists navigate Tennessee roads and the drivers around them are up for discussion in the Tennessee General Assembly.

HB0042/SB1450 goes before transportation committees in both the House and Senate today, the bill aiming to create a pilot program where motorcyclists 21 and over don’t have to wear helmets.

Tennessee is currently among states which requires all riders to wear a helmet, regardless of age. However, many states only require helmets for those under 21. The bills look to lift that requirement, creating a 4 year pilot program where drivers and passengers 21 and older are exempt from needing helmets to ride.

Under the bills, the program would start on July 1, 2023 and run through July 1, 2027. Riders and passengers would need to have medical or health insurance. Those who use TennCare would not be covered under the program and would be required to still use a helmet.

SB0298/HB1454 is also before the Senate Transportation Safety Committee, the bills allowing two-wheeled motorcycles to drive between vehicles on certain highways and interstates. Under the bills, multi-lane and divided highways/interstates where the speed limit is 50 mph or more but traffic is moving at 25 mph or less would be open to allowing motorcycle traffic to pass in between lanes.

Motorcycles would only be able to drive 10 mph faster than the flow of traffic in such situations. The bill would affect vehicle drivers in that they would need to be aware of motorcyclists in such situations and obey all traffic laws. If passed, the bill turned law would go into effect on July 1 of this year.