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Helmet Law Repeal One Step Away In Michigan

The repeal of Michigan’s motorcycle helmet law is one step closer to becoming law after the State Senate voted in favor of the repeal.

The new legislation would allow riders who are 21 and older to decide if they wish to wear a helmet, and if the state’s governor applies his signature to the repeal bill, it will be come the law.

“There are times we want to give people choices, there are other states that already give people this choice,” says Republican State Senator Dave Hildenbrand.

But the law is not without critics. Some physicians are saying the repeal of Michigan’s helmet law is sure to create serious consequences both for rider safety and the state’s finances. The revision of the law would allow riders over 21 – at least those willing to carry additional insurance – to ride out sans helmet.

A pair of similar repeal bills were vetoed by then-Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. The state’s current Governor, Rick Snyder, has yet to publicly commit to one side or the other, but a spokesperson from his office says the governor will undertake a detailed review of the repeal before making his final decision.

Some critical care physicians – and the insurance lobby –  say the new law would result in more motorcycle deaths and serious injuries, and that in the long run, those additional accidents will end up costing all drivers more money.

Michigan State Senators voted 24-14 to let bikers older than 21 provided they’ve been licensed to ride their motorcycles at least two years or complete a safety course. Riders would also need at least $20,000 of medical insurance coverage (that requirement was lowered from $100,000 in the Senate version of the bill passed by the House in November, 2011 by 69-39).

Michigan is currently among 20 states which require helmets for all motorcyclists. Seven other states exempt riders over 21, while 19 states allow those older than 18 to choose whether or not to use a helmet when they ride. There are only four states which have no helmet law at all.


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