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Motorcycle helmet law repeal will result in more motorcycle accidents, deaths and costs

August 16, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan motorcycle lawyer shows how the helmet law repeal will endanger bikers and burden taxpayers

I’ve written often about the proposed Michigan helmet law repeal.

Senate Bill 291 (which was approved 24 to 14) would allow people riding a motorcycle 21 years of age or older to ride without a helmet if they have a medical insurance policy of $100,000.

I continually write about how scrapping the current requirement to wear helmets will kill more motorcyclists and then put the financial burden on Michigan taxpayers, as the costs of severe traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and other catastrophic personal injuries all dramatically increase without helmets.

Here are more alarming statistics from AAA Michigan that show the dangers of repealing the motorcycle helmet laws.

Michigan motorcycle helmet law repeal equals more motorcycle injuries and deaths

o An Office of Highway Safety Planning analysis found that a repeal of the law would result in at least 30 additional motorcycle fatalities each year. Read how motorcycle deaths have already increased by 21 percent in Michigan.

o The same study found that a Michigan motorcycle helmet law repeal would cause at least 127 more incapacitating injuries.

o The Office of Highway Safety Planning analysis also stated that the helmet repeal would equal $129 million in additional economic costs to Michigan residents.

o In the three years after Florida’s repeal of its mandatory helmet law, there was an 81 percent increase in fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Taxpayers will foot the bill for injured motorcyclists who need lifelong medical care

o Motorcycle crashes account for a disproportionate share of money paid out of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA), a fund supported by a surcharge on every auto insurance policy in the state.

o While motorcyclists represent 2 percent of the assessment paid into the MCCA, they account for 5 percent of money paid.

o Motorcycle riders also represent 7.3 percent of all claims reported to the MCCA.

Michigan residents oppose the helmet law repeal

o A spring poll of some 600 likely voters by Marketing Research Group (MRG), Inc. of Lansing shows that 81 percent of Michigan residents want to keep the current helmet law.

o Surveys of AAA Michigan members over many years also confirm overwhelming support. This year, 90 percent favored the current helmet law.

What you can do to fight to keep our motorcycle helmet law requirement

The repeal law is politics at its ugliest. A very small group of single-issue voters are pressuring politicians to scrap the law, even though the majority of voters disagree and it will dramatically raise costs for the rest of us; and result in more motorcycle riders being killed or suffering catastrophic personal injuries requiring a lifetime of medical care.

As always, I urge Michigan legislators to keep our mandatory motorcycle helmet law. And I encourage Gov. Snyder to veto this ridiculous law when it reaches his desk this year.

You can contact Gov. Snyder, and tell him your thoughts. To do so, send an email to [email protected]. To contact your local legislator, go to www.legislature.mi.gov.

Steven M. Gursten is a partner of Michigan Auto Law. He received the highest motorcycle accident settlement in Michigan last year, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Steve has spoken at trial seminars on motorcycle lawsuits, and is available for comment on Michigan’s motorcycle helmet laws.

– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Mike Licht

Related information to protect yourself:

7 reasons every state should pass a motorcycle helmet law

Do motorcycle helmets interfere with riders’ vision and hearing?

What to do after a motorcycle crash in Michigan

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our motorcycle accident lawyers.

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5 Replies to “Motorcycle helmet law repeal will result in more motorcycle accidents, deaths and costs”

  1. Quit trying to run other people’s lives!

    If you’re really concerned about the socioeconomic impact of motor vehicle safety, start petitioning the legislature to implement a helmet law for ALL motor vehicles – not just motorcycles. It is an indisputable fact that less people would die, and auto insurance costs would be reduced, if every driver and passenger on the road was wearing a helmet.

    I am an adult and sufficiently insured – it none of your business if I choose to wear a helmet or not!

  2. Bart,
    I am sorry you feel that asking you to wear a helmet for safety is trying to ruin your life. However, I would respectfully point out that it becomes my business, and all other taxpayers, when you ask us to pay for a lifetime of catastrophic medical care because you chose not to wear a motorcycle helmet.

  3. Steve,

    First of all Bart never said it was ruining his life. He simply feels it takes away his right as an American to make the choice. As for insurance prices increasing, well that needs a complete overhaul anyway. And if Bart is like many other bikers I know I would wear the “Do not resuscitate” braclet. Who wants to be hooked up to a machine for the rest of their life? What kind of life would that be? You would need constant care and I for one would not want to impose on any person like that. I personaly, as an endorced motorcycle rider, would prefer to not wear a helmet. I can say from experience that a helmet, even the lighter DOT aproved helmets do cause neck pain. They cause fatigue as well. They are hotter and dehydrate you faster. Who wants to ride a motorcycle only to stop every hour or so to get a drink of water?

  4. I have a give and take opinion to this. I agree that helmets do help protect the brain and skull and keep it intact…..for up to but not exeeding 25mph. after that, all the helmet does is keep the brains and skull frags in one spot until the helmet is removed and the skull caves in on itself killing the person as a result. Helmets do not save lives, it just protects road rash/small puncture wounds, but at what cause? Reports of fractured vertabra and paralyzation from the neck down is not something one would be willing to live with in the first place. Most bikers would rather ride and die, than live and not be able to ride ever again. Ever. The fact that the helmets cause so much fatigue and dehydration is also a cause of car/bike accidents more so than say an alcoholic one. People who drive cars have a tendancy never to see bikers because they don’t pay attention, not because the bikers are or are not wearing helmets in the first place. Let the bikers decide how to deal with that with their natural rights to one’s personal happiness considering it will harm no other person or infringe on their natural rights. Anpther point I would like to make is the fact that mopeds, which now go up to normal driving speeds, do not require helmets including the cap on CC operations. Mopeds can reach 55-60mph while still operating within law set parameters. Why then, do they get the choice?

  5. In the three years after Florida’s repeal of its mandatory helmet law, there was an 81 percent increase in fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    What they don’t tell you is that motorcycle registration went up 125% in that time period.
    I am not to go into how usless helmets are if you are at highway speed.

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