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Motorcyclists May Be Required to Wear Helmets If New Bill Passes

Current helmet laws in Michigan state that motorcyclists are able to decide for themselves whether or not they want to wear a helmet when they ride, so long as certain conditions are met. These conditions are:

  • Rider is at least 21 years old
  • Rider has at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits
  • Rider has held a motorcycle endorsement for at least 2 years, or has passed an approved motorcycle safety course

The law also allows motorcycle passengers to decide for themselves whether not they want to wear a helmet so long as certain conditions are met. These conditions are:

  • Passenger is at least 21 years old
  • Passenger has at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits insurance in addition to the insurance required of the motorcycle rider

This law is a drastic change considering the law previous of 1969, which required all riders to wear a helmet.

Lobbyists were vocal, however, and in 2012, the helmet law repeal was signed by Governor Snyder. It was a very controversial topic and when Governor Snyder signed the Bill, many celebrated while others believed it to be a horrible mistake.

Three years have gone by, and statistics show that several more serious injuries and deaths have resulted from the new helmet law. At Goodman Acker P.C., our Michigan motorcycle accident attorneys see the results first-hand when we represent injured motorcyclists or families who have lost a loved one as result of a crash. Of course, this is not to say that wearing a helmet will 100% protect you from being injured in a crash; however, it can drastically change the outcome of what might otherwise be a fatal accident.

A blog written by our motorcycle attorneys back in November titled “Michigan Motorcycle Accident Deaths Increase Since No-Helmet Law,” talks about how more deaths and serious injuries have resulted from crashes since the no-helmet law was passed. The Detroit Free Press revealed in a study that there were “roughly two dozen more deaths, scores of additional serious motorcycle accident injuries, and a huge increase in average medical expenses.”

The no-helmet law is painting a clear picture that it may not be good for Michigan. Senator Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) has realized this and recently sponsored a new Bill, Senate Bill 527. Senate Bill 527 would re-impose the helmet mandate repealed in 2012, meaning motorcycle riders would be required to wear a helmet when they ride. Senate Bill 527 also proposes that moped riders who are 19 and under wear helmets as well. The bill is being referred to as the Senate Transportation Committee and was introduced on September 29, 2015.

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