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More motorcycle insurance questions after the Michigan helmet law repeal

June 15, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Advice on the insurance you need to receive PIP benefits, and types of crashes that qualify

Since the motorcycle helmet repeal passed in April, our attorneys have been flooded with questions about the new helmet law and how it affects people injured in motorcycle accidents. We’ve also received a lot of questions about insurance and what motorcycle owners need to do now.

Here it goes. I’ll keep adding to this as the questions keep coming in.

Motorcyclists 21 and older who have certain certifications can legally ride without a motorcycle helmet. They’re also required to purchase $20,000 in No-Fault PIP coverage in case of a motorcycle accident.

Below are two recent common questions, and our advice.

Q: If I have medical coverage, for example through Priority Health, do I still need to have the $20,000 in PIP on my motorcycle policy?

A. Yes. According to MCL 257.658(5)(c), which was added by Public Act 98 of 2012, motorcycle operators and riders may ride without a helmet only if they have “in effect security [i.e., insurance] for the first-party medical benefits payable in the event that he or she is involved in a motorcycle accident … in 1 of the following amounts, as applicable: … A motorcycle operator without a rider, not less than $20,000. … [or] … A motorcycle operator with a rider, not less than $20,000 per person per occurrence. However, if the rider has security in an amount not less than $20,000, then the operator is only required to have security in the amount of not less than $20,000.”

Q. Is actual contact necessary? How about if I crashed (for example) avoiding a left turning auto and never had contact with the auto?”


A. Contact is not necessary to receive motorcycle PIP benefits or No-Fault PIP benefits. If a motorcyclist is involved in a pure “motorcycle accident,” i.e., an accident involving no car or truck, then the motorcyclist may collect motorcycle PIP benefits under the policy required by 257.658(5)(c), regardless of whether she made contact with another motorcycle. If a motorcyclist is injured in an accident involving a car or truck, she will be entitled to collect No-Fault PIP benefits pursuant to the No-Fault priority rules even if there is no contact between the motorcycle and the car or truck; so long as the car or truck was “actively, as opposed to passively, contribute[d] to the accident.” Turner v. Auto Club Insurance Association, Michigan Supreme Court 1995.

– Steven Gursten is a lawyer who has been helping injured motorcycle accident victims for nearly 20 years. He has received the highest motorcycle injury settlement in the state, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Related information to protect yourself:

Michigan motorcycle accidents without helmets have higher injury and death rates

If a motorcyclist is hurt but not wearing a helmet, can he still sue?

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 Michigan motorcycle accident lawyers.

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