BIKEPAC OF OREGON
HB 2454, Helmet Law Amendment
June 9, 1997
This year, as in previous years, BikePAC has requested legislation to amend
Oregon's helmet law to require helmet use for minors only. During the
legislative process an amendment was added that changes the age of
application of this bill to 21 instead of 18. In addition, the Senate
Transportation Committee has placed an amendment on the bill which would
require all Oregon motorcyclists to purchase PIP insurance.
It is BikePAC's official position that the PIP insurance amendment is not
relevant to the issue of the helmet law. The PIP mandate needs to be
removed from HB 2454. It is economically and socially unacceptable to
1. Motorcycle PIP is not consistently available from all insurance vendors.
Some vendors currently will add PIP coverage to motorcycle policies at 300
to 800% increase in cost. Various insurance companies offer other kinds of
additional medical insurance coverage that riders can purchase in a free
marketplace. A variety of insurance offering allows the consumer to
purchase what he or she needs rather than a "one size fits all" approach.
2. Legislation makes no rate guarantees or requirements on insurance
companies that would tie rates to real actuarial data. Thus, costs could
easily skyrocket even further out of realistic proportion. It seems
apparent from quotes we have received that PIP for motorcycles is
outrageously expensive. If mandated, we will see many more motorcyclists
forced to ride without insurance at all (including liability, uninsured
motorist, theft, comp & collision) leading to even greater economic losses.
3. Many motorcycle riders already have other insurance coverage that
applies in these situations, and therefore have no need for PIP insurance.
The requirement would mandate everyone to purchase PIP regardless of need.
It would also require motorcycle owners who insure more than one bike to
repeat the same coverage for each bike, even though they can ride only one
at a time. Again, double charging that puts the motorcyclist's income
directly into the pocket of an insurance company without any need for their
service. The current PIP mandate for autos has similar problems, requiring
additional expense for many citizens who have no need for some or all
portions of PIP coverages.
4. Oregon's insurance laws are haphazard and create a condition of
obligation for Oregon citizens to purchase services/products that do not
logically interrelate. It is not in our best interests to add more
fragments to this problem. It would be better to separately address
Oregon's insurance laws to assure an economically productive insurance
industry that serves the citizenry rather than taking advantage of them.
5. A PIP requirement implies that motorcyclist risk is exceptional, above
and beyond any and all other risks in our society. This is untrue. Many
commonplace activities in our society carry elevated risk similar to
motorcycling. It is consistent with the United States Constitution and Bill
of Rights that we as Americans support each others' diversity in the
pursuit of happiness. Informed risk-taking is a socially productive
activity. Throughout the history of mankind, risk taking activities have
consistently led to societal and technological innovation and progress.
BikePAC of Oregon
CLARIFICATION OF PIP POSITION STATEMENT (6/11/97)
HB 2454 ISN'T DONE YET!!!!
This is the note that should have gone out with our June 9 Position
Statement on the PIP amendment to HB 2454. Some people may have
misinterpreted the Position Statement as a change in BikePAC policy. It is
not. The position statement is just that, a statement of our belief about
the PIP mandate as attached to our legislation, HB 2454.
BikePAC policy remains that it is inappropriate to attach a PIP requirement
to that bill, and we will continue working to get it removed. This does not
mean that the idea of affordable insurance is a bad idea or something that
should not be addressed. However, it is of paramount importance that PIP
for motorcycles be addressed separately from the helmet law amendment. The
primary reason is that allowing attachment of PIP to HB 2454 sets
motorcyclists apart from all other members of society as being so risky
that they require EXTRA insurance protection to be able to ride.
It might be good to have PIP readily available for motorcyclists. It would
be a good idea to take the time necessary to craft legislation that assures
affordability (i.e. including motorcylcists in the same risk pool as auto
PIP buyers) and availability. There are, however, other kinds of medical
coverage available that might do as well as PIP. Also, many riders have
personal health insurance that covers them much better than PIP ever could.
Properly drafted legislation on this topic would provide for exemptions
from double coverage. It is important that this be done on the way into a
PIP requirement, and not attempted as a correction after it is wrongly put
I appeal to everyone out there to think carefully and to act methodically
to ensure the best results for us all. Results that won't turn around and
bite us in the butt.