Possible Repeal of Motorcycle Helmet Law

On Wednesday, the Michigan Senate approved a bill that would repeal the state’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law.

Many riders have wanted the decision of whether or not to wear a helmet to be left up to them, not to a mandate from Lansing.

Jesse Zambon, the sales manager of Bald Eagle Harley-Davidson in Marquette, says they support the idea of helmet choice at the dealership.

He says even if the mandate is lifted, many riders will still wear helmets anyway for safety reasons and because they’re accustomed to them.

If Governor Rick Snyder signs the bill, riders will be able to forego a helmet if they’re 21 or older, have taken a safety training course and have at least $20,000 in accident medical insurance coverage.

Dr. Richard Rovin is a brain surgeon at Marquette General.

He calls the $20,000 minimum laughable, saying if you need a neurosurgical procedure and need to spend time in an intensive care unit, that $20,000 will buy you a day of care, maybe two.

And he says there’s new evidence coming out all the time that helmets are a powerful safety tool.

Dr. Rovin says the Journal of the American College of Surgeons came out with a study in March 2011 of more than 40,000 motorcycle collisions.

He says the study found a significant decrease in the number of spinal injuries among riders that had been wearing helmets.

Insurance agent Rod Lizak says a repeal of the helmet law will likely lead to higher insurance premiums for bikers and non–bikers.

Lizak says if a motorcycle and an automobile get into an accident, the automobile driver provides the medical coverage in an unlimited benefit, regardless of fault.

Jesse Zambon says he’ll continue wearing a helmet even if the option to not wear one becomes open to him.

He says he’s used to helmets from his days of riding dirt bikes when he was younger.

escanaba state senator tom casperson voted in favor of the bill to repeal the helmet law.

Posted by: Mike Hoey