Michigan Lawmakers Repeal Motorcycle Helmet Law

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

  • Joe

    Anyone can lie with statistics. Similar states made the same claims, but after repeal in those states, the statistics were not born out. You have better situational awareness and are therefore less likely to have a wreck to begin with. Besides, most wrecks that result in the death of a cyclist, would have been fatal with or without a helmet.

  • John Geisler

    And I can get a ticket for not waring a seat belt inside a truck.
    Repeal the seat belt law because I am safer in a car without it then a biker is with a helmet.

    • Steppy

      Good point!

  • Helmets and Angels

    Maybe cost incentives should be addressed. Such as biker insurance clauses that won’t pay on accident injury claims, medical claims, etc. if a helmet is missing. I say a finanical consequence should be imposed outside the liability of paying fines or fees for violating mandated laws.

    My point is everyone’s point: we don’t want to bear the financial responsibility for people who challenge their own personal safety.

    • joehww101

      Using the logic of not wanting to bear financial responsibility for people who challenge their own personal safety, why not first go after the biggest offenders, the users of tobacco. Can you say, “Sky-rocketing health care costs?”

    • Brian

      More head injuries are result from people falling down while walking. Should we ban that as well? Maybe you’d be happy to know that far more head injuries occur in car accidents. Perhaps you should all wear helmets too?

    • bowenj10

      You know who I don’t want to be financially responsible for? Healthy people. Smokers, fatties, and other people who engage in behaviors that lead to early deaths use less healthcare than healthy people. If anything, a law should be passed requiring people to engage in reckless behavior.

  • Cody

    I intend to keep mine on at all times, should the law pass. I had an accident 15years ago and would not be here typing now, had I not been wearing mine. It was a full-face helmet and I shaved through 3 layers of the plastic, down to the inner foam.

    I think, however, the law should allow for the rider to decide. I’m not a fan of government regulation of citizen ‘rights’ but I agree if you chose to NOT wear a helmet, you need to bear the full cost of your actions. I won’t pay for you choices.

  • http://scripturalpursuit.wordpress.com Scriptural Pursuit

    Drop the helmet law – and let’s start a movement to drop the seatbelt law as well. People should be allowed to make their own decisions. States without a helmet law get increased tourism from bikers who enjoy their freedom.

  • Bill

    Not everyone will go with out a helmet, those who believe it will save there life will wear one, but I believe tip is a option that we have the right to decide, should everyone wear a helmet while driving a automobile? Would you feel safe andk would it make your insurance rates go down? I doubt it, insurance is a big business and very profitable just look at there assets and year end pro flit an loss statements, which I’m sure are fudged to show less than reality. Let it be choice. Let’s get back some freedom in this country. And remember most motorcycle accidents are caused by stupid auto drivers. That needs to be addressed also, and they should be held accountable for there actions. I’m not sure there is really an accident per say… But bad decisions made by bad drivers. Up the annie on the people responsible and make them pay for actions. Too many bad drivers on the road today. Old and young, don’t blame the motorcyclist for the ingnorance of the texter, and eating while driving and to fat to fit in a car and have no control of the steering wheel, or to old an may have a stroke while driving. there are lot of reasons we could take the right of driving away. That cause liability insurance to be high, but we never hear about those issues…

  • Ernie

    I have been riding a motorcycle for over 40 years. When I started riding there was no requirement to wear a helmet.As time progressed we ended up loosing our choice not to wear a helmet. I believe the choice should be just that, a choice. If I decide not to wear one it is my choice as an adult. Most people who don’t ride really don’t understand, They are worried it will cost them money and that is about all the opposed are concerned with.

  • joehww101

    Using the logic of “not wanting to bear financial responsiblility for people who challenge their own personl safety,” Let’s go after the biggest offenders, those who continue to use tobacco products! Can you say, “Sky-rocketing health care costs?” And whether or not you smaoke, you are indeed bearing financial responsiblity for those people every time they light up, not to metion the people they negatively affect through second-hand smoke. Let the bikers have some fun, something we all need more of, and use your voice to challenge something that we can all live (longer) without!
    And if you truely think a helmet will save lives, then let’s require a “smoking helmet law.” All smokers must wear a specially designed full- faced helmet when they insist on lighting up.

  • B.S.

    Lets get the facts straight Seat Belts DO NOT always save lives just as helmets dont . I infact was passenger in a auto accident and was NOT wearing my seat belt and for that I survived being decapitated stated by the Michigan State Police. I am a motorcycle guy and its my choice not to wear one !!!! FACT Helmets can kill you as they bounce when impacted which in turn can snap your neck. DOT approved helmets are only tested at a 6 foot height drop !!!!! So does that mean when your using a ladder to paint your house or hang Christmas lights you should wear a helmet ???? Or anyperson 6 foot tall should wear a helmet ???? How many times have you seen an adult fall off a bicycle riding down the sidewalk and that foam head protection save their life ?????? REPEAL THE HELMET LAW AND SEAT BELTS ITS MY CHOICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • wardo

    Most govt. decisions come down to cost. If I am going to have to bear the cost of those who wish to ride their motorcycles freely with the wind blowing through their hair, then the cost of that choice needs to be transferred to THEM. Divide the extra needed cost of insurance by the amount of motorcylists licensed with the state—the added cost making up for the medical needs of those splattering their skulls. Don’t want to pay more? Then sign an insurance agreement that says you will always wear your helmet. Get in an accident without a helmet, then you’ve broken your agreement and the ins.contract is null and void and the cost is on you. The seat belt law saves lives. Period. Any argument against it is just plain dumb. Watch a crash test video of dummies strapped in versus those who aren’t. Enough said. AND, I’m a motorcyle rider.

  • Rascal

    Well-now,,,I need a list of all you riders in favor of this law! so i can hit you-up for the insurance increase that will follow. ( you know it will )

    • joehww101

      Freedom is never free! Long live freedom!!!!!

  • Sarah

    I have to say, some of you guys are just plain out retarted. How would you like it if you had to go and identify body parts of your loved one? Or how would you like to be the person who is picking up your body pieces? STOP BEING SO SELFISH!

    • TC

      Maybe you should outlaw motorcycles too!

  • Daniel P.

    keep helments on because tbi brain injuries are extremely heart breaking and very hard to deal with when it happens to your loved one. The issues that arise from a person having a brain injury does not stop with the injured individual. The severe and extensive recovery period takes a considerable toll on both patient and family. A brain injury resulting from a motorcyle accident due to not wearing a helmet can cause an entire family to have their live taken away and replaced with around the clock caring for the injured individual. This law is cruel to other motorists cruel to the motorcycle riders who could become injured and their families. DO NOT REPEAL THE HELMET LAW!!!

    • joehww101

      443,000 deaths per year from smoking, 49,000 deaths from second-hand smoke of which 13,000 were children, 162,000 deaths per year associated with obesity, an average of 23,000 deaths per year from the flu, 31,224 deaths per year from gunshot wounds and another 60,000 who survived their wounds but are in rehabilitation, and only 4,400 deaths per year from motorcycle accidents. Me thinks the folks who are bellyaching about a no-helmet law have w-a-a-ay to much time on their hands as well as directing their “life saving” opinions on the wrong issues. Leave the bikers alone to have their freedoms.

  • Greg

    For those of you that want to hit up the bikers for the increase in cost for no helmets…or maybe complain about the smokers?……Here’s one for ya….Be sure to give me and the rest of the Veteran’s a list with your names on it so we can bill you for the very freedom to blow off your mouth that we fought and some died for!!! Get a life people!!! This is still the United States of America!!! Freedom is what we stand for! If you don’t like to share those freedoms with the rest of us then go to another country! I’m sure they will just love to hear your complaints. Keep in mind though, they’ll probably just shoot you!!! I am appalled by those who would dare challenge anyone’s freedoms when I have give my own blood to defend those very rights. I respect your freedom of speech but do it with some tact and without judgement. If it is not your head hitting the road then don’t worry about it! Whether I wear a helmet or not is none of your business!!!

  • air

    Most cycle accedents envole a auto driver saying i did not see the bike. where does live the biker? who caused the cost rise. Most times the auto .

  • Dan LaRouche

    I have read all of the comments and arguments on both sides. Very interesting points of view and both sides make sense. My issue is that with all of the serious problems that Michigan is facing, why has our government made this a priority?

  • Zippets

    i like to know when michigan is going to identify a motorcycle as transportation ??

    instead of a RV and give motorcycles the same rights as autos ! ! !

    Hell i was rear-ended by a truck i had full coverage 1000 dollar deductable
    he hit me and i had to pay the deductable that sucks ! ! !

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