A motorcyclist riding in a group without a helmet died in an accident when he flipped over his handlebars, Reuters reported. The man, Philip Contos, was bare-headed on purpose — the group he was riding with was protesting New York's law requiring that motorcyclists wear helmets.

He died of the head injuries sustained when his skull hit the road.

"The doctor felt that the death could have been prevented if he simply had been wearing a helmet," said New York State Trooper Robert Jureller. "He hit the brakes, lost control, was ejected and struck his head on the road. He suffered a skull fracture."

The accident happened Saturday afternoon in Onondaga, near Syracuse in central New York, according to the Associated Press. Contos was riding a 1983 Harley Davidson.

The ride was organized in part by ABATE (American Bikers Aimed for Education), a motorcyclist advocacy and policy organization. Motorcyclists who resist helmet laws say that it is because the legislation infringes on personal freedoms.

Creative Commons image via flickr user Joshua Schwimmer.

(h/t: Slate)