Gov. Snyder Signs Law Making Motorcycle Helmets Optional in Michigan

Do you think bikers should be required to wear a helmet?

Michigan will become the 31st state to give motorcyclists the option of wearing a helmet since Gov. Rick Snyder signed the legislation, his office announced today. 

Motorcyclists who are 21 or older can ride without a helmet if they have at least an additional $20,000 in medical insurance and passed a motorcycle safety course or had their motorcycle endorsement for at least two years.

Opponents of state mandates feel use should be a personal choice. They say helmets can limit peripheral vision, muffle traffic awareness sounds and create additional injury risk because of their weight.

Arguments in favor of crash helmets cite safety studies, lower public medical costs, eye protection if face shields are used and reduced fatigue by improving aerodynamics.

What do you think? Vote in our poll below.

Joyce April 13, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I ride and it should be a choice. I would choose to wear a helmet in the city where there are way too may idiot drivers. Out in the countryside is a different story.
Judi E April 14, 2012 at 03:06 AM
The state parks require bike helmets but for motorcycles it's optional . This makes no sense .
rob dehko April 14, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Zero sense!!! All insurane rates are going to go up for every driver in Michigan, it's a fact
DM April 14, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Linda Baker April 14, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I'm hopeful that all helmetless riders will purchase lots of insurance so that if/when they are in a serious accident they will be able to get the care they will need and the general population will not have to foot the bill for their care. I also hope that they will write letters to their loved ones explaining their choice was to feel the wind on their face and in their hair, rather than safety.
Andy S. April 14, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Freedom of choice is a good thing !
Lucille Musser Arking April 14, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I generally believe that government should stay out of these issues . They should educate the public and allow them to be wise or stupid as they wish . There is some exceptions and this is one . Even if the person gets killed there are often millions of dollars of tax payers money spent to attempt to save them . Even if the death occurs at the scene the tax payers often are required to give finanical help to the children and wife . If the rider survives it usuable means the state needs to support them for the rest of their life. Unless they provide for all of the above the state has a right to save the injury and cost to the tax payers . Our liberty is combined with responability and that is something that this bill ignores. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson " If the public fails to take responasibilty at the cost of the citizens it behoves the government to protect the larger population" . This a law fails to attempt to protect me from those costs
Darrell Johnson April 14, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Individual Freedom with Personal Responsibility is a premise I subscribe to. Therefore, while helmet use may be optimum; I should in no way force my beliefs upon another. However, with decisions come consequences and therefore society shouldn't be encumbered with the liabilities that poor decisions can result in. Hooray to Governor Snyder for signing this legislation. Kudos that it comes with the added liability requirement... a most necessary component. Again, freedom but with responsibility. Awesome from a GOP guy or any Republicrat legislator for that matter.
Jan Smith April 14, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Helmets were made optional in the 1960's, I think as a repeal of a law. I can remember the guys on their bikes with their hair blowing in the breeze. For some reason, it didn't last long. I favor individual choice with personal responsibility, too. I wish everyone had the sense to use helmets as well as car seat belts without needing laws, but common sense is no longer common.
Debbie Gerard April 14, 2012 at 08:52 PM
If I don't have to wear a seat belt, they shouldn't have to wear helmets. Oh, wait.
jonathan April 15, 2012 at 01:54 AM
seat belts are so easy to put up with and they have no comparison to a bulky helmet as for "choice" we all are adults but know this - my father, a cop of 25yrs, said back in the 70's simple accidents turn ugly fast when occupants are tossed around inside a crashing vehicle so ask any traffic cop what they think of in regards to scraping brains off the road they ask you "who do you think cleans up these messes?" you know what is smart enforcing the "law" by actually dealing with the major issue of aggressive driving aka tail gating, cutting off, light running, dbl/trpl lane changing - you know all the garbage putting cyclist's, truckers, pedestrians, automobile drivers at risk more and more every day less squatting (speed traps) more enforcement
Guy Fawkes April 15, 2012 at 02:05 AM
It's always just a matter of time before radical republican points of view are proven to have bad effects, or even be disasterous (as in the Great Bush Recession). It's unfortunate that in this case people will have to die to demonstrate what idiotic stupidity the GOP-think really is. When they instituted the helmet law, the death rate from motorcycle accidents dropped. So it can only return to the rate it was pre-helmet. But I guess as long as no one's being inconvenienced by "government regulation" ... then who cares if a few people have to die, right?
Ronald Wolf April 15, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Totally agree Jon. With the way people speed and tailgate on the freeways it should be mandatory for every driver to have a forty plus caliber gun in their lap, I bet that would go a long way to encourage road manners. You think I am crazy? More people have been killed on American roads from aggressive driving than from all domestic gun violence and wars combined. Detroit being the possible exception.
Debbie Gerard April 15, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Jon, I do realize a helmet is big and bulky. This is not a convenience issue. This is a safety issue. We're concerned with the safety of anyone inside a vehicle, but not those on a motorcycle because the helmet is bulky and hot? We are all being forced to pay higher MCCA fees for catastrophic injuries, and then we take away the helmet law causing more people to benefit from those fees. Yesterday while driving, I saw a guy on a motorcycle wearing a knit cap instead of a helmet. I also saw someone eating a salad while driving, texting while driving, and talking on a cell phone with a poodle on her lap while driving. The guy with the motorcycle is in serious danger. But the rest of us are wearing our seat belts.
Bob April 15, 2012 at 01:51 PM
I hope the taxpayers all have the same freedom of choice to pull the plug when a rider is in a hospital on life support and his finances run out. If it's up to me - I say hasta la vista baby! PS, I am a harley rider.
Bob April 15, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Have you been in the hospital lately? How far do think $20,000 will take you. No, don't blame it on medical providers as they are far more important than any other profession in this country.
Ronald Wolf April 15, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I guess most of us just don't get it. Doctors and Police support helmet laws because they do have to deal with the mess that includes not just the human ofal and a bucket or two of sticky blood on the asphalt, but also have to deal with the family of the survivor, or the deceased.. Now to the part you must understand. Who makes money of the closed head injuries, paralyzed legs, and death by accidents. Who has the money to advertise and lobby to support your right to sue? Who really runs the economy of the justice system? Clue one: Its big and powerful and its not the insurance industry, Geoffrey. Clue two: the more serious the injury the larger the settlement. I do believe you got it!
T. Scott Galloway April 16, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Externalizing your costs is a "good" thing for the irresponsible few, but a bad thing for the many.
rolfsy April 16, 2012 at 05:55 PM
I can see where he was going with this (maybe). As someone who used to ride, it's all about accident prevention, not harm reduction... ANY accident sounds terrifying on a bike. It's like - you can have a bulletproof vest, but what you really want to do is avoid getting shot. But more to the comfort issue - helmets block a lot of sound and side-vision, and on the open road, full-face helmets (the useful ones) create a deafening pounding on the eardrums, and get yanked around by the wind (taking your head with it). It's not intuitive, but riding without a helmet can be a MUCH more serene experience overall (until you start thinking of what the fall can do to your melon). I think most don't get this, because most don't ride. For some, the risk of being in a wreck without a helmet is outweighed by being more aware by not wearing one. For me, no amount of safety equipment felt like enough, and eventually I hung it up.
T. Scott Galloway April 17, 2012 at 03:19 PM
When Gov Rick and the Republic Party gut the no-fault law the number of lawsuits for automobile/motorcycle negligence are likely to decrease dramatically. That's a good thing for the insurance companies. Not sure it is good for the injured or society that will be forced to pick up the tab for the medical costs through Medicaid.
Alan Stamm April 18, 2012 at 11:41 AM
A longtime Lansing political analyst, Tim Skubick, today follows the slippery slope mockingly at mlive.com: "Why not revisit the seat-belt law? After all, if the bikers deserve some 'latitude' on how they conduct their lives, what about the rest of us? . . . "[Snyder] can justify this based on his pledge to create more jobs. Chucking the helmet law and then the seat-belt law will produce the need for more emergency room doctors to take care of the carnage." http://bit.ly/Ilkmdx


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