Panel OKs helmet flags for off-road riders

Published: Sunday, Nov. 22 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

The Transportation Interim Committee approved proposed changes to a vehicle safety law that would allow off-road vehicle riders to wear flags on their helmets.

Current law requires safety flags on off-highway vehicles, such as dune buggies or motorcycles, in certain sand dunes such as Little Sahara Recreation Area. The flags must be 8 feet off the ground, and most people attach them to a small wooden pole, and secure the pole to their vehicle seats. State law also requires only children under age 18 to wear helmets.

The ingenuity of a Draper company is apparently helping drive the legislation. It's called Helmet Flag. The name speaks for itself: A flag for your helmet. You supply the helmet.

Company owner Steve Butler modeled the helmet flag for state lawmakers Wednesday.

The $24.99 kit he sells includes a plate, a short metal rod and flag. The plate attaches to the helmet, and the rod, which extends above the helmet, goes on the plate. On top of the rod is the orange flag. And, voil? the Helmet Flag.

Sen. Brent Goodfellow, D-West Valley City, is sponsoring the changes to the current law.

"It's got a spring on it," he said. "It looks really good, and when you're riding, it doesn't look much different" than the current flags.

Legislators joked that members of the House of Representatives should be required to wear it. Or concealed weapons holders should have to wear it, Goodfellow added.

The majority of the committee voted to make the changes to the current law. But Reps. Julie Fisher, R-Fruit Heights, Michael Morley, R-Spanish Fork, and Stephen Clark, R-Provo, opposed it.

Morley said he was concerned that the flag would hit branches of trees riders drives under and it could whip back and hurt children.

"I don't feel like it would be something that would be good policy, at least from my standpoint," he said. "I appreciate some of the potential safety factors that are trying to be achieved."

e-mail: lhancock@desnews.com

TWITTER: laurahancock

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