Michigan governor signs helmet law repeal

Publish Date: 
Apr 13, 2012

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a bill that repeals the state’s helmet law.

Senate Bill 291, sponsored by state Sen. Phil Pavlov, lets motorcyclists choose whether to wear a helmet if they are at least 21 years old, carry additional insurance and have passed a motorcycle safety course or have had their motorcycle endorsement for at least two years. Motorcycle passengers who want to exercise this option also must be 21 or older and carry additional insurance.

"While many motorcyclists will continue to wear helmets, those who choose not to deserve the latitude to make their own informed judgments as long as they meet the requirements of this new law," Snyder said in a press release. "There is no substitute for proper training, education and awareness when it comes to operating any motor vehicle. We must continue working together to keep our roads safe by making sure that everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car or on a motorcycle has the proper skills. Traffic safety is a responsibility shared by all motorists."

AAA Michigan wasn’t as happy about the passage of the bill, which became Public Act 98 of 2012 with Snyder’s signature.

“The repeal of the motorcycle helmet law will result in at least 30 additional motorcycle fatalities each year, along with 127 more incapacitating injuries and $129 million in added economic costs to Michigan residents,” the organization stated. “This analysis by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning is based on the experience of other states where similar measures have been enacted. As evidenced by increased medical costs passed on to taxpayers, motorcycle deaths and long-term catastrophic injuries are on the rise.”

Michigan originally implemented its helmet-use law in 1967 to comply with U.S. Department of Transportation requirements for federal funds. That requirement is no longer in place. With this change, Michigan joins Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Pennsylvania that have repealed or amended helmet laws.

Posted by Holly Wagner

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