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Mac Made

Gov. RIck SnyderWho Says Friday the 13th Are Unlucky Days?

Michigan motorcyclists age 21 and older can finally ride again without helmets if they meet certain insurance and training conditions under new legislation (SB-291) signed by Gov. Rick Snyder Friday April 13, 2012. BRAVO!

The Gov. Snyder [R] signed the bill ending a decade long effort to repeal the state law. Lawmakers had passed repeals of the mandatory motorcycle helmet law before, but the measures were shot lived and vetoed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm (then governor) twice.

"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.

To go helmetless, riders must be at least 21. They must have been licensed to operate a motorcycle for at least two years or have passed a safety course. Motorcyclists would need some additional insurance — at least $20,000 of first party medical benefits coverage — in case they are involved in an accident.

Critics say allowing more riders to go helmetless will add to motorcycle injury and death tolls in Michigan. They also say it will raise insurance costs for all motorists to help cover the increased risks to motorcyclists.

[EDITOR's COMMENT: It could also have the negative effect of restricting coverage by some insurance companies to motorcyclists if it is known to the insurance company that the insured, or proposed to be insured, is a biker and desires to ride without a helmet. They could conceivably make riding without a helmet grounds for turning down or canceling an existing policy. We certainly hope none of these become practice]

Most states already give motorcyclists the option of riding helmetless under certain conditions (31 states). Supporters of allowing that option in Michigan say it could boost motorcycle tours and events in the state. [Indeed]

Many other states in the Great Lakes region already allow for optional motorcycle helmet use. [seems contagious]

Snyder had said he wanted to address the helmet law in the context of broader auto insurance reform. But proposals for more sweeping reforms appear stalled in the Michigan Legislature. So the concern that Snyder might not sign the bill luckily evaporated.

Tom Constand, a spokesperson for the Brain (dead) Injury Association of Michigan in Brighton, said the repeal is “unconscionable.” Poor Tom is obviously already brain dead.

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