LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a bill into law that lets motorcyclists choose whether or not they want to wear a helmet. The law applies to Michiganders age 21 and up who have additional training and insurance.
The Republican governor announced Friday that he signed the bill a day earlier, ending a multi-year effort to change state law. Lawmakers had passed repeals of the mandatory motorcycle helmet law before, but the measures were vetoed twice by then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
It was approved this time with bi-partisan support.
The law is strongly supported by many motorcycle enthusiasts and opposed by those who say it will increase insurance costs and crash-related deaths.
Almost everyone talking to WWJ’s Beth Fisher on Friday at Motor City Harley Davidson in Farmington Hills was happy to hear about it.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Jeffrey Herman. “I don’t see where it does people any good.”
Other riders said they may still wear a helmet but like having the choice not to.
Janice McGuinness of Redford Township doesn’t ride but was shopping at the store and doe=s not support the new law.
“I think it’s very dangerous. They could hit a bump and crack their head open … and that’s it. They’re done,” she said.
AAA-Michigan said it’s disappointed in what it calls “poor public policy.” Meanwhile, analysis from the Office of Highway Safety Planning says the repeal will result in at least 30 additional motorcycle fatalities each year, along with 127 more incapacitating injuries. The Insurance Institute of Michigan says the repeal will cause an estimated 30 additional fatalities each year and $129 million in higher premiums for those injured in accidents.
Gov. Snyder said he expects many riders will continue to wear helmets. But he said those who choose not to wear a helmet deserve “the latitude to make their own informed judgments” if they meet legal requirements.
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.
More information from the state:
(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)