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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Chitose Suzuki/Associated Press via PA These law-abiding citizens in Vietnam always wear their motorcycle helmets

Biker crashes and dies in protest against... wearing of helmets

Bare-headed motorcyclist crashed during anti-helmet legislation protest. Police say a helmet would most likely have saved his life.

A BARE-HEADED MOTORCYCLIST crashed while he was riding his Harley Davidson at a protest rally against a New York State law that requires bike riders to wear helmets has died.

Philip Contos, 55, from Parish, New York died when he hit his brakes and the motorcycle fishtailed. The bike spun out of control, and Contos toppled over the handlebars.

He was pronounced dead at a hospital. New York State troopers said Contos was driving a 1983 Harley Davidson with a group of bikers who were protesting helmet laws by not wearing helmets.

His brother told the Syracuse based Post-Standard newspaper that given the opportunity Contos would ride without a helmet again if he could. “He would have wanted it that way,”  his older brother Richard Contos said.

Mr Contos described his younger brother, who was a truck driver by trade and also a former US army man, as a “rebel” who hated the government and “protested everything”.

The accident happened on Saturday afternoon in the town of Onondaga, in central New York near Syracuse. The protest was organised by a group known as the American Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE).

It encourages bikers to use helmets but opposes the mandatory use of them. Spokesperson for ABATE Christinea Rathbun said the death would not change the group’s attitude towards the law and would not prevent them from protesting in future.

Troopers say Contos would have likely survived if he had been wearing a helmet.

- additional reporting by AP

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