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Michigan Lawmakers Repeal Motorcycle Helmet Law

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan lawmakers have voted to repeal a state law that requires motorcyclists to wear helmets. The state Senate took a final vote on the proposal on Wednesday.

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick said this move was a long time coming.

“They’ve been trying since 1975, 1975, to get helmets removed and they finally did it,” Skubick said.

The bill has already cleared the Michigan House. Next, the measure will be sent to Gov. Rick Snyder for his consideration.

According to Skubick, Snyder is expected to sign the legislation, although he has not said so publicly.

Snyder has said he only wants to tackle the motorcycle helmet law in the context of broader auto insurance reform. But proposals for more sweeping reforms appear stalled in the Legislature.

The pending helmet proposal would allow riders 21 or older, with special training, to go without helmets if they meet certain insurance and experience conditions.

State Senator Roger Kahn was among those opposed to the repeal.

“Helmets reduce the risk of death by 29 percent. They’re 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries to motorcycle riders,” Kahn said

Insurance Institute spokeswoman Lori Conarton told WWJ Newsradio 950 a repeal would result in additional 30 fatalities each year, adding that auto insurance costs for all Michigan residents are also expected to increase.

Conarton estimates allowing motorcyclists to go helmet-less will cost the state a collective $100 million more each year in additional medical claims.

The Legislature has passed bills to repeal the state’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law previously, but the bills were vetoed twice by then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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