A Michigan Senate Committee passed legislation on Wednesday, Oct. 17 that would enable motorcyclists to ride without their helmets on Michigan roads. The bill is expected to be voted on by the State Senate in the near future. The bill was passed by the State House on Oct. 11.
American Bikers Aiming Toward Education (ABATE) conceived the bill, which would require riders to be 21 years or older, licensed to operate a motorcycle for at least two years, complete a motorcycle safety course and have insurance or security of $20,000 for first-party medical benefits in the event of an accident.
Opponents of the measure are concerned that more injuries and deaths will be the result if the new law is enacted.
According to Jack Peet, manager of community safety services for AAA Michigan, the legislation would result in 22 additional motorcycle fatalities each year, along with 132 more incapacitating injuries, 610 other injuries and $140 million in added economic costs to Michigan citizens.
“If the mandatory helmet requirement is repealed or waived through a fee, there will be a significant increase in severe head injuries and deaths,” said Peet. “Studies show that in a crash, unhelmeted motorcyclists are three times more likely than helmeted cyclists to suffer traumatic brain injuries.”
Motorcycle crashes account for a disproportionate share of money paid out of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA), a fund which is supported by a surcharge on every auto insurance policy in this state. Although motorcyclists represent 1.7 percent of the assessments paid into the MCCA, they account for 6.7 percent of all claims reported.
Source: AAA Michigan
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