Motorcycle Helmet Law
AAA Michigan strongly opposes legislation approved by the Michigan Senate late Tuesday, June 28, which – if approved by the House – would repeal Michigan’s nearly four-decade old mandatory motorcycle helmet law.
Senate Bill 291 – approved by a vote of 24 to 14 – allows individuals 21 years of age or older to ride without a helmet if they have a medical policy of $100,000 in place. A sunset provision was also placed in the bill which would automatically repeal the helmet law four years after the effective date of the bill – unless the legislature acts again.
The bill also requires the Department of State to perform a study of accidents, injuries and fatalities during those four years – if the bill becomes law.
AAA Michigan opposes any change to the current mandatory motorcycle helmet law – repealing the current law will result in more motorcycle fatalities and injuries and higher costs for all motorists.
A spring poll of some 600 likely Michigan voters by Marketing Research Group (MRG), Inc. of Lansing shows that 81 percent of the state’s residents believe the current helmet law should be maintained. Only sixteen percent said Michigan motorcycle riders should not be required to wear a helmet.
Surveys of AAA Michigan members over many years also confirm overwhelming support. This year, 90 percent favored the current helmet law.
However, challengers of the state’s mandatory helmet law annually try to get it repealed without regard for the common good or the will of the public. An Office of Highway Safety Planning analysis found that a repeal of the law would result in at least 30 additional motorcycle fatalities each year, along with 127 more incapacitating injuries and $129 million in additional economic costs to citizens.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that in the three years after Florida’s repeal of its mandatory helmet law there was an 81 percent increase in fatalities.
Motorcycle crashes account for a disproportionate share of money paid out of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA), a fund supported by a surcharge on every auto insurance policy in the state. While motorcyclists represent two percent of the assessment paid into the MCCA, they account for five percent of money paid. They represent 7.3 percent of all claims reported to the MCCA.
AAA Michigan urges legislators to keep Michigan’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law, and encourages Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to veto the bill if it reaches his desk. To contact Gov. Snyder, send an email to Rick.Snyder@michigan.gov. To contact your local legislator, go to: legislature.mi.gov.