When the Michigan legislature partially repealed the state’s helmet law in 2012, motorcyclists aged 21 or older were free to ride without a helmet as long as they held a valid motorcycle license and had carried the required $20,000 vehicle insurance supplement to provide aid in the event of injury. The law was designed to give greater freedom to motorcyclists and attract out-of-state bikers whose home states did not enact universal helmet laws. Within the first year following the change to the Michigan law, helmets fell by 24% among riders who crashed, with an alarming 14% increase in head injuries.
In a study published in the American Journal of Public Health in November 2016, Dr. Patrick Carter of the University of Michigan Injury Center reported, “Michigan’s partial universal motorcycle helmet law repeal decreased helmet use and increased head injury among crash-involved motorcyclists. Furthermore, helmet non-use doubled the odds of a fatality and tripled the odds of a head injury.” Researchers compared rates of helmet use and motorcycle crash fatality risk for the years immediately before and after the changes to the law were passed. The study showed an increase in the severity of head injuries, with 17% fewer mild concussions and a 38% increase in skull fractures. One thing not revealed in the study was increase in the number of out-of-state riders involved in motorcycle accidents—indicating that the law failed to bring the anticipated increase in tourism. The report detailing the findings of the study advised “Future research should examine the impact of Michigan’s helmet repeal by using additional years of data as they become available and examine the underlying direct and indirect costs associated with the repeal, especially the societal costs associated with providing more long-term head injury care for patients involved in motorcycle crashes.”
For those injured in motorcycle crashes and their families, the costs of long-term care can be devastating. Lost wages, lengthy hospitalizations, surgeries and ongoing occupational and physical therapy can quickly eliminate your life savings. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle crash, it is important to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys have a specialized understanding of negligence law and the many medical procedures, tests and diagnoses associated with injury. At Harris Law, we offer personal injury services with a focus on fighting for the rights of the injured. Call us today at 231.347.4444 or fill out the free consultation form in the sidebar to schedule your personal consultation.