Michigan Senate Repeals Helmet law. Bill Going To The House.

As expected, with a vote 25-14 mostly along party lines a law passed by the Michigan State Senate would be repealed for bikers 21 and older if the rider would also have to have been licensed to ride a motorcycle for at least two years or have completed a motorcycle safety course. In exchange those riding without a helmet would be required to carry insurance to cover up to $100,000 in medical costs if they get into an accident.

Governor Rick Snyder said “repeal of the helmet requirement isn’t a top priority for his administration, though it might be considered as part of a larger insurance reform package later this year.” It was unclear whether he would sign the repeal if passed by the Legislature. The previous Legislature repealed the helmet requirement twice but former Gov. Jennifer Granholm vetoed it both times, saying the healthcare tab for injured and uninsured motorcyclists would be too costly for taxpayers.

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29 Responses to “Michigan Senate Repeals Helmet law. Bill Going To The House.”


  1. 1 Mike Greenwald Jun 30th, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Mandatory health insurance with an added premium?

  2. 2 Shawn Jun 30th, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I hope it passes. I hate helmet laws with a passion, even though I’d probably wear one even if I didn’t have to. I’ve seen what a helmet bouncing down a curb during a 25mph wreck, I can only imagine what the head would have looked like. But I do like the insurance requirement also. If some dumbass jumps on a bike and wrecks without a helmet and ends up in the hospital with brain damage, I don’t think the state (our taxes) should have to pay for his care because he didn’t want to get insurance.

  3. 3 HK Jun 30th, 2011 at 9:44 am

    if people would rather smash thier head on the ground and turn into garey busey ,let em .Same goes for novelty beanies,a 5 dollar helmet for a 5 dollar head.

  4. 4 Luis Jun 30th, 2011 at 10:20 am

    IMO if you ride w/o a DOT legal helmet and die from a head injury your family should lose the right to sue.

  5. 5 chicagojohn Jun 30th, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Don’t spend a dime in Michigan until the repeal.

  6. 6 BadMonkeyMW Jun 30th, 2011 at 11:33 am

    How much do you think the ailments caused by obesity cost the taxpayers every year? Do you want to outlaw buffets now? The whole b.s. argument about the burden of helmetless riders on the health care system/taxpayer is nothing but a scare tactic used by corrupt politicians to get their way.

    I personally would rather have a helmet law than to compromise, and therefore complicitly agree with the completely made up tax burden excuse.

  7. 7 Jim C Jun 30th, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Dittos to Mike G.

  8. 8 ODee Jun 30th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I agree with Shawn. While most times I choose to ride without a helmet, it does seem only fair that the costs of my pursuit of happiness (riding WITHOUT the constraints of a bucket strapped to my head) shouldn’t infringe on others – the infringement being the medical bills from bouncing my head off the pavement in even a ‘minor’ accident, bills that would’ve been avoided by wearing a helmet.
    Part of being free is taking responsibility for our choices and not making others pay for it!

  9. 9 Luis Jun 30th, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    @ODee that is 100% true.

  10. 10 David Jun 30th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    ODee….I agree with you…But do you have insurance or funds to pay for the cost of your accident…..or can the hospital confiscate all your belongings and your home and throw out your family then sell all goods until your debts are paid or just pull the plug when the money runs out?

    Gee guys it’s is kind of like overeating or drinking to much……but it is just much simpler to wear protective gear…..Do you really want to end up like Gary Busse….embaressed on Celiberity Aprentise?
    I got a class reunion email the other day asking for prayers for a spouse that”s leg was badly burned(probably exhaust) when his leg was trapped under his bike…..and I wondere if he was just wearing shorts and sandels to ride in surely it wouldn’t have been so bad if there were pants and chaps or leather of some type to protect him.

    Gear up guy’s it’s not worth the pain !!!

    SSDD; David

  11. 11 Gas Man Jun 30th, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Got to agree with ODee. I don’t care who rides with or without a helmet, I just don’t think it’s the tax payer to pay for my decision to not wear if I smack my head and become a vegetable. Further, I shouldn’t have to pay for non-helmet rider’s choices.

    We’ll see how this goes… I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

  12. 12 Jason Jun 30th, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    It is funny, I left Michigan and moved to Florida last year and was so happy that I didn’t have to wear a lid. Due to the complete disregard for any and all other motorists that most Floridians display I wear one every time I ride now. Florida drivers are the worst I have ever seen and I have ridden in Los Angeles and every borough in New York City. I still don’t think there should be a law though.

  13. 13 Todd8080 Jul 1st, 2011 at 5:20 am

    If we’re talking about saving lives, shouldn’t we focus on the largest demographic? Since many, many more cagers die from head injuries, why not force them all to wear helmets?

    Because they don’t want to wear them any more than we do, that’s why. Yet they foolishly believe if they can slap a helmet on all motorcyclists, then they can run us down with impunity as they yak away on their cell phones, since the press has them convinced that no one can be injured in any way while wearing a helmet.

    Who do you think is the single biggest lobbyist for mandatory helmet laws in every state? Who spends the most money by far year after year trying to make mandatory helmet use a federal law? That’s right, the insurance industry.

    But not for the reasons you might think. It’s not because they’re concerned for our safety; they could care less if we all died tomorrow. No, their motive is the oldest one of all, greed.

    Since the overwhelming majority of accidents involving a car and a motorcycle are the car driver’s fault (statistical fact), insurance companies almost always end up paying a huge settlement to the motorcyclist on behalf of their careless cager client. As you know, hitting a motorcycle isn’t like hitting another car, it’s far more deadly and far more expensive than a dented fender.

    In every state that has a helmet law but then repeals that law (like my state, Florida), motorcycle registrations soar, absolutely without exception. Conversely, in states that have no helmet law but then enact one, motorcycle registrations plummet, again, without exception. These are easily checked facts.

    Also, when a helmet law is repealed, motorcyclists on average ride many more miles due to not being as uncomfortable. And again, the reverse holds true. Consequently, the more motorcycles on the road and the more miles they travel, the more motorcycle accidents there will be. That’s not just a statistical fact, it’s simple logic.

    The insurance industry figured all this out years ago. Simply by reducing the number of motorcycles and miles traveled, they can save billions of dollars in claims each and every year. And what’s the most effective way to get motorcyclists to ride less or stop riding altogether? Force them to wear a helmet. But not just any helmet, it has to be so big and heavy that it actually causes physical pain if worn for long.

    And what’s the most effective way to force giant helmets on all motorcyclists? Bribe politicians, pay off journalists, sponsor big ad campaigns and convince cagers (aka the vast majority of voters) that they’ll no longer have to worry about killing or injuring bikers once we’re all wearing Gazoo-style helmets.

    Fact: Most motorcycle deaths are caused by internal injuries, not head injuries.
    Fact: The majority of riders who do die from head injuries die wearing DOT-labeled helmets.
    Fact: Even the government admits no helmet is effective at speeds above 15 mph.

  14. 14 Boss Hawg Jul 1st, 2011 at 6:43 am

    @ Todd8080

    Helmets you say….Just look at examples of Superbike racers that go down an slide around then back up on the bike again. Now of course they have some very nice helmets and other protective gear on, too.

    I wear a helmet when mandatory. In states where I have I have a choice, it is a matter of what an where I am riding.

    Boss Hawg

  15. 15 pwhorne Jul 1st, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Boss, it’s not the lid, it’s the law. The question is not one of safety, but of freedom of choice…basic individual liberty. Therefore your message is muddled when you cite road racers and the implied value of ATGATT and the exercise of choice in freedom of choice states. Similarly, those that say “I always wear a helmet, but dislike mandatory helmet laws” send a mixed message that detracts from the choice argument such that all anyone hears is the “I always wear a helmet” sentiment. Frankly, people that do want to wear a helmet, but don’t like madatory helmet laws ought to just shut their yap and ride with their helmets. They aren’t helping to get mandatory helmet laws eliminated. Just the opposite.

  16. 16 Todd8080 Jul 1st, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Boss Hawg, I live in Florida, which did away with its helmet law in 2000, yet I almost always wear a helmet when riding in city traffic because I know from personal experience that most bike wrecks that involve a car occur at intersections.

    I’m not concerned with causing a wreck myself, since that hasn’t happened in 43 years of riding, so when on the freeway (as in touring) I usually don’t wear one. Frankly, if I go down at 90mph I’d just as soon not survive anyway. And as mentioned above, helmets are only good for low-speed impact, like the kind that happen at intersections.

    The bottom line for me is, I’m grateful to have a choice, at least in my home state.

    It’s interesting how so many people who have never straddled a motorcycle think they’re such experts when it comes to what’s best for motorcyclists. Most of us here also drive a car or truck, so we DO know what that’s like, but all these cagers editorializing on numerous websites about how helmets would save zillions of bikers every year wouldn’t wear a helmet in their car if not doing so carried the death penalty.

    Here’s a statistic you won’t see those cagers posting. According to the CDC, traumatic brain injuries suffered each year by drivers of vehicles OTHER than motorcycles outnumber motorcycle TBIs by 28 to 1. Why aren’t all those cagers demanding that they themselves be forced to wear giant helmets?

    Because it’s so easy to dictate what others should do when you don’t have to play by those same rules.

  17. 17 Lyle Jul 1st, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I’ve been an MC rider for 30+ years. Every MC death that I’ve ever personally witnessed has been a head injury. Could a helmet have saved the person’s life? I really don’t know.

    I disagree that helmets only work for slow speed crashes. It’s a short drop from the seat of the bike to the ground, but once on the ground, you either start sliding or tumbling. I’ve done both. And personally, I’d rather be wearing a helmet. Having sad that, I don’t wear one all the time but usually do on longer trips as they are more comfortable, they keep my long hair from tangling up and my ears from ringing.

    I don’t think there should be a law mandating them but I neither do I think the taxpayer should be footing the bill for injuries that may have been prevented if a helmet had been worn. Especially when we (the government) can’t afford it. Law or not, wearing them is common sense. Sooner or later, everyone who rides motorcycle will go down.

    Living life to the fullest involves risk. But should we be responsible for the consequences of other people’s risk? Or should we just be responsible for the risk we take for ourselves?

  18. 18 cars for sale manila Jul 2nd, 2011 at 9:21 am

    fix the insurance scams, dont force people to do what they dont want to… their own safety, their own problem

  19. 19 ODee Jul 2nd, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Their own problem IF they pay for it, my/our problem if we’re stuck with the bill!

  20. 20 rich Jul 2nd, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    once again lansing has amazed me under the new law the rich will ride w/o a helmit the middle class and the poor will not its always who will get the most money..

  21. 21 Woody Jul 2nd, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Sigh, here we go again. Wrongful death payouts are often less than keeping a vegetable alive for years. There’s never been any proof presented that helmetless riders coast society more, despite the insurance companies being invited to produce it many times in many tates.

  22. 22 Woody Jul 2nd, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    umm “cost” & “States”. (Must be all those years w/o a helmet)

  23. 23 Vlad Jul 3rd, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    In related news:
    NY motorcyclist dies on ride protesting helmet law
    http://www.syracuse.com
    Police say a motorcyclist participating in a protest ride against helmet laws in upstate New York died after he flipped over the bike’s handlebars and hit his head on the pavement. Troopers say Contos would have likely survived if he had been wearing a helmet.
    http://www.syracuse.com/newsflash/index.ssf/story/ny-motorcyclist-dies-on-ride-protesting-helmet/8a183ed1007c4184b92b5151c9bd4167

  24. 24 Joe Skonecki Jul 4th, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Quit making the government into god, or move to China.
    Risk and freedom go hand in hand!
    Give me Liberty or give me death!
    When an individual’s rights to take risks at their own expense is stripped away. Freedom is lost.

  25. 25 Englishman Jul 5th, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Michigan is forever whining about the lack of tourist dollars, yet EVERY (US) state that touches Michigan lets you ride without a helmet. I know for a fact that people plan rides that skirt the state so they don’t have to bother with it.

  26. 26 Big Wig Jul 6th, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Isn’t it funny that when the vote was taken that the raised the required amount of medical coverage fron 20,000 to $100,000 . was this to give the Insurance companys a way to make more money?Also the Govenor wants to tie this to insurance reform. Well one thing for sure your rates will increase.Again the polititcians covered their back sides with the big money insurace companys.

  27. 27 ODee Jul 6th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    @ Big Wig, I hate helmets and insurance companies as much as anyone, but how much do you think the extra medical coverage is really gonna raise your rates? It seems only fair that since I’M assuming more risk (especially from bouncing my head off the pavement in even a low speed accident), that I should carry extra coverage.
    It seems logical that someone negligently backing out of a parking space in front of another vehicle should ‘reasonably’ expect to cause (be financially responsible for) several hundred dollars in property damage, not for turning someone into a vegetable! IMO

  28. 28 Pa Jul 19th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I have been riding for 49 years. I look for states with no helmet laws to enjoy riding. Are you listening Mr. Snyder???? Concerned VOTER!

  1. 1 Michigan Senate Repeals Helmet law. Bill Going To The House. | ProRidersMarketing Pingback on Jul 1st, 2011 at 8:27 am
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