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05 Apr 2011

Michigan’s Helmet Law May Be Nixed For Michigan Motorcyclists

1 Comment

Motorcyclists in Michigan may soon be able to ride their bike without a helmet this year. Two bills pending in the Michigan Legislature will be the reason for the drastic change. Republican Richard LeBlanc, D-Westland, introduced a bill to let motorcyclists forgo a helmet under certain conditions. If you are 21 or older and carry at least  $20,000 in personal injury insurance to cover medical costs in case of an accident, you would be allowed to ride helmet-less. The other bill, Senate Bill 291, would allow riders 21 an older who have passed a motorcycle safety course or carried a motorcycle endorsement on their license for the previous two years to ride without a helmet.

Michigan is one of 20 states that require helmet use.  Health and safety advocates warn that lifiting the helmet rule would mean more serious injuries and deaths from crashes. However, some motorcyclists argue that without a helmet they are able to see and hear better on the road.

If these bills pass, things could drastically change for all motorcyclists and vehicle drivers in Michigan. Our Michigan motorcycle accident attorneys are curious to hear your thoughts. How do you feel about Michigan removing their helmet laws? Are you in favor?

About the Author

One Response to Michigan’s Helmet Law May Be Nixed For Michigan Motorcyclists
  1. I am an avid motorcyclist. Growing up in the Western States, I have ridden more than 30,000 miles per year on numerous occasions, and even in the Midwest where the riding season is shorter, I normally ride 15000 to 18000 miles. I know people that ride as much as I do, and none of them, ever, get on their bike without a helmet. We’ve all been off our bikes in unfortunate situations, and none of us have been hurt with permanent injuries, but even with the proper gear, a couple of my friends would have easily used the $20,000 liability that one of the anti-helmet proposals have put forth.

    The AMA does not represent every rider. In fact, most experienced riders that I’ve met have a certain ambivalence for the AMA due to the outspoken and bullying tactics that they use for helmet laws, yet so many other laws benefiting motorcyclists go by the wayside.

    With gas prices climbing, more people are going to be taking to the road on two wheels. There will be more new riders, and, unfortunately more accidents as they learn how to maneuver in traffic and as drivers get used to having more riders on the road. With these accidents, 80% of them will involve some type of head impact. In no case will a head impact without a helmet be safe.

    Why do people want helmet laws repealed? Too hot? Can’t hear traffic? Too heavy on the head? Visibility? I’ve heard all the excuses. The reason for people not wanting to wear helmets? Because their friends and complete strangers will not know that it’s “Them” on “Their” bike. Many of these people spend a great deal of money making their ride beautiful, and when they wear all the safety gear that they should, they look like any leather-clad individual, nameless, faceless and nearly anonymous.

    The impact of one of these people, helmetless, being severely injured is catastrophic. Long term care for a brain-damaged individual will eat up the $20,000 in seconds. The dental bill alone would go over this in a face-first accident (common). How does Michigan lose in this?

    Loss of the individual’s contribution to society
    State costs for ongoing care and treatment
    Devastated families that must pick up the pieces for the severely injured rider(s). The financial devastation from medical bills will cancel college dreams. Other family members will divert from their goals to support the injured individual. The injured riders’ “choice” ends up affecting them severely, but the consequences for everyone around them will remind them of that choice with every sunrise.
    Individual freedoms and rights are only that when they only affect the individual. With motorcycles that cost less than $20,000 capable of going more than 200mph with 0-60 times in less than 3 seconds, young people with more hubris than good sense are going to be taking a big chance. It’s not “if” they’re going to come off their bike, it’s “when”. These events are terrifying (been there!).

    I urge you to consider any bill crossing your desk very seriously, asking more than paid lobbyists that bully politicians for a living. I don’t know anyone that diverts their trips to Wisconsin because Michigan has a helmet law. In fact, my trips through the UP area show many people from Wisconsin riding through Michigan. Why, because Michigan has something that you can’t get from Denver to Cleveland:

    Topography. This is a beautiful place to ride. More than any state in the area by far.



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