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A Florida lawyer who fought the state’s helmet laws was killed in a motorcycle crash while not wearing one, authorities say.
Ron Smith and his girlfriend Brenda Volpe both died when he lost control of the motorbike during a ride and crashed into a utility trailer.
They had been on their way to an August memorial for a biker who died of cancer when the accident happened, according to The Tampa Bay Times.
The Florida Highway Patrol stated in a report that Smith was travelling on US 19 in Pinellas County when he slowed in traffic, lost control of the bike and skidded.
Officials say that the bike spun “in a clockwise motion, overturning onto its left side”, and crashed into the left side of the trailer, which was being towed by a truck.
Smith, 66, died at the scene while Volpe, 62, was pronounced dead later at a hospital.
The newspaper reported that the Medical Examiner has ruled that both victims died from head trauma.
The police accident report stated that neither victim was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, and it is unclear if the safety equipment would have saved their lives, experts told the newspaper.
Smith was a member of A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments and American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, and lobbied against the laws for years.
In 2000 the state legislature passed a law allowing bikers over the age of 21 to ride without a helmet as long as they $10,000 in insurance to cover accident injuries.
One study showed that the death rate in Florida increased by 25 per cent after the law was introduced.
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded that helmets decrease the risk of death for motorcyclists by 37 per cent.