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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 (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our motorcycle accident lawyers.

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