Vote on Repeal of Mich.’s Mandatory Helmet Law Set for Tomorrow

June 6, 2006

A vote on whether the state of Michigan will repeal its 37-year-old mandatory helmet law is scheduled to take place in the State House of Representatives tomorrow.

The Michigan Association of Insurance Agents of Lansing, Mich. opposes the repeal and said today that any attempt to weaken or repeal the state’s motorcycle helmet law will increase deaths and injuries for cyclists and raise insurance and medical costs.

According to their statement, the State House is now considering legislation SB 297 to repeal the mandatory helmet law for cyclists over age 21.

“Public policy should not be made by compromising on human safety. Repealing the helmet law would be a tragic and costly mistake both in terms of human lives and millions of increased insurance and medical costs,” said Gary Mitchell, spokesman for the Michigan Association of Insurance Agents.

Mitchell explained that because Michigan is the only state to pay unlimited medical and rehabilitation benefits under its No-Fault Insurance Law, the cost of treating severely injured cyclists can total into the millions. Each severe head injury survivor requires between $4.1 and $9 million in care over a lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of 2005, the average claim paid on a motorcycle accident by the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) exceeded $418,000 (up 71 percent from the $297,000 paid in 1994).

“This so-called freedom of choice issue ends when someone’s perceived right not to wear a helmet negatively impacts insurance and medical costs for everyone,” said Mitchell. “Insurance consumers and taxpayers should not be required to pay increased costs because motorcyclists want to avoid wearing a helmet.”

Source: Michigan Association of Insurance Agents

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