Michigan's motorcycle helmet law changes 2012.04.25

Written by David Green.

The day that Michigan’s new motorcycle helmet law took effect, Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks spotted a few bikers out the street without helmets.

It’s true, as of April 13, the repeal of Michigan’s helmet law took effect, but Chief Weeks questions whether all the riders who immediately went out bareheaded were actually following the law.

He was referring to the requirement that helmetless riders must carry an additional $20,000 in medical insurance coverage.

In addition, riders 21 years of age and older must have had a motorcycle license endorsement for at least two years or have completed a motorcycle safety course. Those under 21 must still wear a helmet.

The change in the law makes Michigan the 31st state to make helmets optional and the last state bordering the Great Lakes to join in. Some critics of the helmet law charged that it resulted in an enormous loss of tourism dollars.

On the other hand, insurance companies and safety advocates say the change will increase premiums for everyone in the state to help cover the cost of accidents.

An analysis by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning analysis estimates that the change will result in 30 additional fatalities, 127 more incapacitating injuries and $129 million in additional economic costs.

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