Motorcyclist Killed in NY Biker Rally Protesting Mandatory Helmet Law

A man was killed while riding in a motorcycle rally protesting mandatory helmet laws.A New York man was killed while participating in a rally with 500 other motorcyclists protesting the state's mandatory helmet law, according to multiple reports.

Police said Philip A. Contos of Parish was killed after losing control of his 1983 Harley Davidson. The 55-year-old reportedly flew over the handlebars and hit his head – which was sans-helmet for the protest – on the pavement.

Contos was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

State Trooper Jack Keller told a Syracuse ABC News affiliate that Contos would have likely survived the accident if he had been wearing a helmet, the network reports.

The ride was organized by American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, known as ABATE, a group of biker enthusiasts who lobby for motorcycle awareness and freedom. The group's Onondaga, New York chapter has sponsored the helmet protest ride for the past 11 years during the July 4 weekend.

Helmets are estimated to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders, and 41 percent effective for passengers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.