This post forwarded by Rogue (Sturgis Freedom Fighters, Motorcycle Hall Of Fame Member 2005).
“To Pay for freedom? No way! This is what happens when motorcycle rights organizations make compromise deals with state legislative bodies. Motorcycle Rights Organizations need to go back to Protests and Civil Disobedience. That worked before and will again, you just need some balls to do it. Now enter law enforcement wanting to shake down motorcyclists who want to ride without a helmet. The Michigan State Police Union and the Deputy Sheriffs Union have come out in favor of the bill if a fee of $100 is charged for the privilege of riding without a helmet It’s all-out Money and not Safety!”
Below the explanation of the proposed Bill) via Jordan Travis, Capital News Service).
“Lansing, Michigan — Motorcyclists would be able to buy permits to ride without helmets if a bill introduced by a Westland lawmaker becomes law. It would apply to riders who are 21 years or older, have been licensed to operate a motorcycle for at least two years or completed a safety class, and have at least $20,000 in health insurance. The $100-a-year permit would make helmets optional. Any passenger over 21 years riding with a permit holder wouldn’t need a helmet. Rep. Richard LeBlanc, D-Westland, said wearing a helmet should be a personal choice. “I’m not critical of anyone who believes that cars should have airbags, and that children who ride bikes should wear a helmet,” he said, “but as adults, I think we should have a choice”
LeBlanc said he’s been involved with the issue since the 1970s when he started riding a motorcycle. “I know that people have very strong opinions about this,” he said. “I doubt people will change their minds because of politicking.” However, Peter Kuhnmuench, executive director of the Insurance Institute of Michigan, said his organization strongly opposes the bill. “Regardless of whether or not the consumer has coverage of $20,000, we think bike drivers ought to wear helmets,” he said. One of the main reasons the institute opposes LeBlanc’s proposal is because current law allows motorcyclists who collide with an automobile to collect from the auto driver’s insurance company. Making helmets optional would result in more motorcyclists receiving head injuries, he said, which would raise insurance costs.
Nancy Cain, communications director for AAA Michigan in Dearborn, said the organization also disagrees with the bill. AAA Michigan, the state branch of a national automobile insurer and drivers organization, said a year without helmets would result in 30 more motorcycle fatalities and cost Michigan citizens an extra $129 million in medical expenses. AAA pointed to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data showing a nationwide rise in motorcyclist deaths. In 2007, 5,154 motorcyclists died, 120 in Michigan. That was a 7 percent increase over 2006.
Dan Quinn, owner of U-Win Motor Sports in Ludington, said he probably wouldn’t support the bill. He recommends that his customers wear helmets. “Even people who come in here and buy mopeds, we recommend a helmet.” The bill is pending in the House Committee on Regulatory Reform. Cosponsors include Reps. Joel Sheltrown, D-West Branch, Gabe Leland, D-Detroit and Fred Miller, D-Mount Clemens.