Protect your noggin: Keep the helmet law intact

On March 28, I read a very interesting and concerning headline from National Public Radio.

It read “State Senate set to vote on Michigan motorcycle helmet law.”

The State Senate was voting to repeal the law that currently requires people to ride motorcycles with proper headgear. If it gets repealed, those 21 and older will no longer be required to wear helmets while operating the bikes.

All the time this appeal has wasted is kind of saddening.

It seems as though Gov. Snyder has been delaying this law because he wants to bring around a larger discussion of finding savings to Michigan’s no-fault insurance system, which will inevitably make the average motorcycle insurance prices go up if this appeal gets passed.

I don’t understand why people would want to ride without a helmet or even without some kind protective equipment for that matter. If this law gets appealed, it’ll make me nervous to be around any helmetless riders on the road.

This is due to knowing that, if for some unlucky and unfortunate reason that I or someone around me got into an accident with the rider, there will be a drastically increased chance that you critically injure or even kill the rider.

There are currently only three states that do not have a helmet law — Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire. Of those, New Hampshire is the only one that requires kids 15 years and younger to legally wear a helmet.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has done numerous tests on helmets, and what their impact is on accidents.

Helmets alone “reduce the risk of death by 29 percent and are 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries to motorcycle riders.” To me, this is more than enough to even think twice about the matter.

I do realize that if it becomes legal to not wear a helmet, not everyone will be riding without one. But, it will increase the number of people you come across that don’t use them. And this is an appallingly scary thought to me.

A large portion of the group trying to get the appeal passed is only doing it so they have a choice of whether or not to wear their helmet. I feel they think it’s necessary to appeal the law because they don’t like being told what to do.

The supporters think it will boost motorcycle tourism in this state, but I don’t see how something like requiring a helmet or not would make someone want to travel farther, especially in the current economy with gas prices as high as they are.

I think this would be a poor choice should the governor decide to sign this and make the law disappear. We would end up seeing a lot more critical accidents appear in the news.

If you ever do see me on a motorcycle you’ll be safe to know that I will be doing the smart thing by wearing the proper protective equipment and I will benefit from it.



Josh Solar is a guest columnist for The Oakland Post. He can be reached via email at [email protected]