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Posted on Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:17 a.m.

Snyder's motives in repealing motorcycle helmet law questionable

By Tom Watkins

Governor Rick Snyder let his "dog years” get ahead of him when he repealed the motorcycle helmet law. I fully expect that after he leaves office, if not before, he will wish he had a do-over on this decision.

It is clear wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle prevents serious injuries and saves lives.

It is interesting to note that Gov. Snyder picked a haunting day, Friday, April 13, to sign the bill allowing motorcycle riders to cruise with their locks flowing freely. It may be a day that will come to haunt him.

I love freedom as much as the next person, and feel the government can involve itself in too many aspects of our lives, but believe it is sensible and reasonable for the government to protect people from spattering their brains along the public byways.

I remember resenting mandatory seat belt usage when that law passed. Yet clearly, it is sensible and good public policy that has prevented countless serious injuries and deaths.

Did the governor gladly sign the helmet repeal law today for another vote on a controversial piece of legislation tomorrow? Would the governor be so crass as to play, “let's make a deal,” a good old-fashioned political horse trade?

Would he? Certainly he would not be the first politician to trade good politics for bad public policy. But clearly, the signing of this bill might make a reasonable person question his motives.

With three months of data under our belts since Gov. Snyder signed the helmet repeal law the trend line does not look good. According to a new MLive Media Group analysis a higher percentage of motorcycle riders involved in Michigan crashes are not wearing helmets, and they are suffering a higher rate of serious and fatal injuries than those who do.

The longtime sensible voice of AAA¹s Nancy Cain fears the “Lack of a helmet law will ultimately drive up deaths and serious injuries on Michigan roadways.”

The government has a responsibility to protect us, even from ourselves.

The governor claims to be driven by metrics and data. He has a dashboard to keep track of how the state is doing on benchmarks of performance. As the data is bearing out, signing this legislation was a bad bet.

Scott Shoup, a motorcycle enthusiast and board member of the SMARTER rider-responsiblity group (, said he continues to wear a full-faced helmet for safety and calls for the reinstatement of Michigan's helmet law.

Shoup is not surprised by the latest injury and death statistics. He and his organization predicted it. They testify to the Michigan legislature that the repeal of the helmet law will result in an increase of deaths, injuries and monetary and non-monetary quality-of-life costs.

The research is undeniable, overwhelming, clear and easy to find: helmets help prevent injury and death.

On some issues, just because you have the power does not mean you have to use it.

This new law is going to cost people their lives and families a lifetime of grief. Sadly, as we are witnessing — it is just a matter of time.

Injury and death statistics will be the measure to determine just how bad the decision to repeal the motorcycle helmet law truly is. The data is deadly.

Tom Watkins served as a former state mental health director, state superintendent of schools and is currently a U.S./China consultant. He can be reached at:



Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 4:11 a.m.

The helmet law is a drop in the bucket as far as unreimbursed health care costs go. In Mi, the unreimbursed health costs run about $1B a year. If we had national health care, we would not be arguing about who pays when an unhelmeted rider has an accident. It's funny how many people pay the health care costs of the indigent through higher insurance premiums and $60M Michigan state payments for indigent care from tax revenues but, with their heads buried in the sand hate Obamacare.

martini man

Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 2:49 a.m.

I am not sure if Snyder repealing the helmet law will prove to be a disaster or not ..BUT ..this does not mean a person is forbidden to wear a helmet does it ???? It seems the Harley crowd are riding without helmets more than the regular type folks. Probably a macho personna to show their contempt for death. Sort of like water skiing without a life jacket, altho I think it's the law to wear one. What's next ...Sky diviing without a chute ????


Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

Commercial companies will imprint their drivers with the message that all accidents are preventable. That said, every rider should owe society the added expense of their faults. But least ye be too quick to condem those bikers sans their helmets, I know that - you never use the cell phone while driving - you never speed while driving - you never race the red lights - your vehicle is safe to drive - you are not too old to be driving - you are never under any influence while driving - everyone in the vehicle is securely buckled up - and you never are at fault in any vehicle accident, ever. If this were true, however, there would be no need for accident insurance that must be paid for by society in this state.


Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 11:15 p.m.

Do you also know that I didn't stop for the motorcycle accident I witnessed because the biker was not wearing a helmet? What was the sense in wasting my time?


Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

Meet all those. How about the $20k limit on the insurance coverage of the helmet less riders -- that will hardly cover the ED (Emergency Room) costs, let alone serious health costs? How does that work, please? Irresponsible legislation, plain and simple. And the rest of us responsible people will be picking up the tab.


Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

The insurance industry should just refuse, i.e. write it in your policy, that they refuse to pay on any rider not wearing a helmet! This is how it is in Europe. So you have a choice: to wear a helmet or not and to be insured or not!


Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 5:29 a.m.

hey, if you don't want to wear a helmet then go ahead... more organs for me!

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

Careful. I made that point and got deleted, even though it is a very valid point. Every person can donate organs and tissue to several other people, saving and improving the lives of many.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 11:04 p.m.

Thanks, Governor Rick. I've been watching the statutory MCCA (Michigan Catastrophic Claims Assoc.) fee going up each year. (Some insurance companies don't list it under MCCA, but as part of the Personal Protection Insurance fee.) This compulsory insurance is paid by every Michigan driver with insurance. It covers medical claims over $400,000 and is unlimited and the payments can last for a lifetime. According to data a few years old, there are more than 10,000 claimants actively being paid, and they will be paid over 55 billion before they die. That's $55,000,000,000, folks. The governor doesn't care because you and I and every other Michigander will be paying it as long as we buy insurance. Thank you, Gov. Rick.


Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 10:37 p.m.

$55 billion? Link please (and not to some insurance lobby website). And not just one link -- there ought to be at least 2 that detail how you arrived at the $55 billion.

David Busak

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 10:37 p.m.

The driving reason for the appeal was the new tourist revenue that would now come to the state by repealing the law. That was a very flimsy reason for doing it but now no one is telling us about the extra revenue that is now coming. I'm guessing the government doesn't know or care to tell us. Where is the accountability!


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 6 p.m.

We all know that motorcycles are dangerous--mostly because of the cars, vans and trucks sharing the road with them. They danger is that these vehicles' drivers often do not see the motorcyclist. The Emergency Departments refer to motorcycles as "donor cycles" because of all the fatalites and organs that become available. It was NOT arrogant in any way, shape or form for Gov. Granholm to repeal the helmet law. She was doing her job as governor just as Gov. Snyder is doing his. Some like her decision, some his. Personally, I agree with the author of this column due to the increased risk of TBI. It was incorrect to post that the motorcycle driver does not have to carry more liability insurance--they do! The helmet law was there for exactly the same reason as the seatbelt law. It doesn't make sense to wear a seatbelt in a car, but no helmet on a bike. All the name-calling and judging and hating really sickens me. What we can all agree on is to be more careful on the roads and keep a good look out for motorcyclists--those with helmets and those without. Share the road and be aware of bikers.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

If the helmetless rider paid for all the concequenses himself/herself when a serious injury or death occured, fine. But they don't - children who lose their parents or their parents income get benefits from the state and federal government, disability payments, higher insurance rates for all, Medicaid costs, unpaid medical bills, ect. To me it's no diferent than a seatbelt law, protection for self and financial protection for society.

Bob W

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.



Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

So yet another sensationalist headline. Stop the madness. The content backing up the headline is just a question. No data presented whatsoever. Here's what I see: "Did the governor gladly sign the helmet repeal law today for another vote on a controversial piece of legislation tomorrow? Would the governor be so crass as to play, "let's make a deal," a good old-fashioned political horse trade? Would he? Certainly he would not be the first politician to trade good politics for bad public policy. But clearly, the signing of this bill might make a reasonable person question his motives." "Clearly" and "might" in the same damning sentence. Wow, what a strong argument. This speculation hardly justifies the headline. If you've got anything on the bum, then present it. If not, pick a more appropriate headline. It can still be an interesting article about how bad a decision it is.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 10:02 p.m.

clownfish: You and your rotten facts always spoil the fun!


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 5:27 p.m.

The new three-month analysis shows: • Of the 288 riders identified as not wearing a helmet at the time of a crash, 25 percent were incapacitated and five percent were killed. • Of the 936 riders identified as wearing helmets at the time of a crash, 15 percent were incapacitated and two percent were killed. • Overall, 33 individuals died in motorcycle crashes since the law took effect. Fourteen were not wearing helmets and 19 were. • Of those 33 fatalities, 15 occurred in the most recent month. Eight of those 15 individuals were not wearing helmets. What we don't know yet is what the total health care bill will be for those "incapacitated". --- A privately conducted California study put the average cost of hospital admissions for a non-helmeted rider at $17,704. Of this initial amount, 72 percent of the costs for hospitalization were paid by the State of California, with another 10 percent being paid by other tax-based sources.35- Another study found that 57 percent of the patients listed a government program as the principal payer of in-patient hospital costs resulting from motorcycle crashes-


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

As a long time rider I believe in the Motorcycle Safety Course teaching riders to wear helmets. As to the Gov't thinking for us I'm not a believer; BUT when it comes to all of us sharing the additional expenses of injuries then it should be a law. i don't want to pay for others stubborness. Let it stand if the financial burden falls totally on the individual without a helmet. On the Governor? Come on folks the ABATE group has been active in politics for along time. They convinced the legislature to write the law. You sometimes have to let people be foolish before you can change their minds. As stated in many comments "Of course it's politics". Politics means negoating.

Monica R-W

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

A a rider (this year sadly my bike is in the garage waiting repairs for next season) the helmet law was good, safe policy. Sad to read deaths from Motorcycles are going up, according to the statistics because so will my bike insurance rates next year. By the way, did the insurance industry lobby for a removal of the motorcycle helmet law in Michigan? Just wondering....

Bob W

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

I've been riding for more than 45 years. I wouldn't even think of going without not only a helmet but all the gear. There are very few loopholes in the laws of physics and Darwin will take care of the rest. ;0)

Frustrated in A2

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

As long as I and other non riding insurance paying don't have to pay for I say go hit whatever you want without a helmet. If you use a helmet, wise choice and bravo!!!


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

This article is completely lacking in data. How have injuries increased; how many injuries over what time period? I admit that riders who go helmetless are idiots, however protecting idiots from themselves is not what government should be doing IMHO.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

posted by my friend this weeked on FB. My niece and I were just a witness to a pretty serious motorcycle accident on US close that I was tending to the guy before his motorcycle stopped flipping. Let me just say thank God the guy had enough sense to wear a helmet....there was a golf ball size chunk out of his helmet :( . His broken bones and road rash will heal! Wear a helmet people, this wasn't cool!!


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

Governor Snyder should be solely responsible for the additional injuries and deaths caused by his reckless signing of the repeal of the helmet law in this state - and for the health care costs that will be incurred. If he is so reckless in such a decision, is he also reckless in his gutting of the state's education system? Can he be trusted to make sound, fiscal, and educational decisions regarding the safety of our children. Is he going to repeal the child car seat law? Is he going to repeal the seat belt law? And who is going to pay for the additional costs to our health care system for all of the care for the motorcyclists that end up in the hospital? Bet you can guess who ! Not the corporations that have enjoyed all of the tax breaks since Snyder had been in office - but the middle class will wind up paying for his reckless decision. How many more reckless decisions can we tolerate?


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 2 p.m.

"I also believe that it should not be society's responsiblility to pay for medical bills if/when bikers are permenantly disabled." And that's the problem, we are responsible for their injuries. I think that most would agree that you should have a wide leeway and freedom to do what you want as long as it doesn't affect others. Riding a motorcycle on a public road is not an unalienable right (with or without a helmet) and neither is driving. The soda ban is ridiculous because you can't stop people from eating and drinking. It might even make the problem worse if people buy two 16 oz drinks instead of a 20 or 24 oz drink. It would be much more effective to tax the larger drinks more than to ban them completely. But that's a completely different thing than helmets.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

Where in your argument does the operator of the motorcycle assume responsibility? The law and Gov. Snyder don't say the the motorcyclist CAN'T wear a helmet, they just don't require it, and give the biker the choice. Personally, I wish that the law wasn't repealed, since I believe it is in the best interests of the riders to wear helmets. I also believe that it should not be society's responsiblility to pay for medical bills if/when bikers are permenantly disabled. But I also believe that the government should not take on the role of "Big Daddy" and take away many of our freedoms (for example, the new soda law in NYC.)


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

No, although I am deeply disappointed with Gov. Snyder on this one, it took the legislature to pass this nonsense before it got to his desk. As you, and Mr. Watkins, allude however he will have the deaths and injuries on his hands. In spite of all he may otherwise accomplish as Governor, those needless deaths and injuries will be a blight on his record. Hopefully, some brave soul in the legislature will actually look at the data and our state government can admit they were wrong in this unfortunate experiment and reinstate the helmet law.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

Why is there this disconnect in the minds of the "nanny state" whiners? They claim they want "freedom", they claim they don't want Other People draining their tax dollars. But, they want helmetless motorcycle riders to be able to drain money out of the rest of us, either in higher Medicare/aide taxes or higher insurance premiums. By preventing motorcyclist deaths and protecting against injuries, helmet use also translated to economic costs saved. In 2010, approximately $3 billion in costs were saved as a result of helmet use in the United States; however, another $1.4 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets (NHTSA, unpublished data, 2012). Total costs saved from helmet use ranged from $394 million in California to $2.6 million in New Mexico. -CDC Guess who paid the extra cost? Me, and all the Tea Party members.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 1:02 a.m.

Sorry, clownfish, but you're trying to use logic here. As you should know by now, logic generally has no place in on-line comment forums. I've always thought that those who want to ride a motorcycle with no helmet don't have much to protect, anyway.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

Facts make my head hurt; can't we just go with what we want to do rather than what makes sense?

j hampton

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

Here is the text of MCL 500.3114. Also, helmetless passengers are not required to have any insurance and we pay for them as well. (5) A person suffering accidental bodily injury arising from a motor vehicle accident which shows evidence of the involvement of a motor vehicle while an operator or passenger of a motorcycle shall claim personal protection insurance benefits from insurers in the following order of priority: (a) The insurer of the owner or registrant of the motor vehicle involved in the accident. (b) The insurer of the operator of the motor vehicle involved in the accident. (c) The motor vehicle insurer of the operator of the motorcycle involved in the accident. (d) The motor vehicle insurer of the owner or registrant of the motorcycle involved in the accident.

j hampton

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

There are many incorrect assumptions in commenting on this story. The rider of a motorcycle receives no fault benefits from the insurer of the other car involved in the accident. See MCL 500.3114. It does not matter who is at fault. If you are rear ended by a motorcyclist, your no fault insurer will pay benefits to the motorcyclist, including lifetime medical. If a car is not involved in the motorcycle accident, the injured motorcyclist does not receive no fault benefits, but of course must be treated at the emergency room and hospital once he or she is transported there. So clearly, all of us are effected by the cost of medical expenses for an injured motorcyclist. It may sound good to the "Don't tread on me" crowd, but while a motorcyclist has the "freedom" to not wear a helmet, the rest of us do not have the freedom to deny the injured rider medical care.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

Ok, how many accidents are there where the motorcycle rear ends a car, the motorcyclist is heltmetless, and has head injuries? I bet only a couple in the entire State of Michigan in the past year.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

Snyder's motives should be questioned at every turn.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

It's great that most bicycle riders have the common sense to wear helmets - unlike when I was a kid. It's a smart decision. If a motorcycle riders wants to rides sans helmet that his choice. But I don't want my taxes to subsidize his hospitalization, rehabilitation or long term health care. As for riders who claim to be excellent, defensive drivers - ever see a deer bounce unseen out of the woods? I wouldn't bet the rest of my life that wouldn't happen when you least expect it.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

Did Ron Paul draft this legislation from Washington. The tea party mentality has gone way too far with this senseless piece of legislation. Next we will have legislation to do away with mandatory seat belts, then repeal of the public smoking bans, etc. Note to the tea party and libertarians, THERE ARE CORRECTLY LAWS TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC, MOST WHO BY THE WAY ARE TAXPAYERS! When people die, the taxpayers pay the price, through lawsuits and criminal trials. Taxpayers benefit from protective legislation, whether these far right imbeciles understand it or not.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

Those that want the government to control all potentially harmful and dangerous situations should have the government tell them what to eat, where to go, where to work, when to sleep, and what to do all day everyday. This kind of extreme control will ensure your absolute safety. I, however, would rather enjoy myself, take a few risks, and let fate determine my future.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 11:41 a.m.

I think helmets should be required by law, and columns should be written by local residents....


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

You're half right


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 11:10 a.m.

To bad they can't protect us from the drug cartels or even secure our borders.

5c0++ H4d13y

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

Those crappy half helmets you see a lot of cruiser riders wearing aren't much better than nothing. If you can't see a DOT on the back then it's garbage. Prohibitions always have a work around.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:39 p.m.

So let me get this straight. If a licensed driver speeds and crashes into a bridge, which results in permanent brain trauma, he should get free medical for life? But a motorcycle rider chooses to follow the law, not wear a helmet, get hit by somebody not paying attention, and receives permanent brain injuries. You are saying he should not get that same medical treatment? Sounds to me like you want your personal beliefs to preceed anyone elses. How pitiful.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

a2citizen: I'll post here as others (including myself) were interested in seeing the actual data. The information comes from an MLive article ( ) and hopefully the editors will post a link to that story and/or the actual data/graphs. In their article, there were a higher rate of deaths (5% vs 2%) and incapacitating injuries (25% vs 15%) in unhelmeted vs helmeted riders. The concern was that the data were trending to more injuries and more unhelmeted riders as the weather warmed. Their findings are unsurprising because the benefits of helmets are well known and studied. For example, the increased cost of injuries is outlined here:


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

Are you suggesting that we let facts guide policy? Darn silliness!


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

If a person dies as a result of not wearing a helmet and that person has kids under 18 then those kids go on social security-- so it does cost society. If that same person ends up disabled for life and runs out of money-- it does cost society. You can't say the helmet law only effects the driver.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 11:13 a.m.

The same can be said if the driver was in a car or flying.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

"...With three months of data under our belts since Gov. Snyder signed the helmet repeal law the trend line does not look good..." I do not doubt the claims of injuries being more severe, however, I would like to see the numbers and a link to the source for those numbers.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

See my post, two down from yours, as you ask a good question about seeing actual data.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

Taxpayers will pay for excess health care costs, for Medicare and Medicaid costs, for Nursing Home costs, or home modifications, etc. etc. for those with extensive brain injuries unless the laws are changed to absolve taxpayers of responsibility for those riding without helmets. Regardless, there's no way to get out of eligibility for Federal Program eligibility, Medicare and Medicaid, which will cost taxpayers MILLIONS.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 3:47 a.m.

The state paid $80M in 2008, $60M this year to reimburse hospitals for indigent care. These are your state tax dollars. If you have health insurance, you pay more to cover indigent care. Hospitals in Michigan bear about $1B per year in bad debts and unpaid health care. The no helmet law is a drop in the bucket. It surely is a joke that so many people bash Obamacare while paying quietly paying the costs for the uninsured anyway. I guess ignorance is bliss.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

Sounds just like the "Affordable Care Act." Except it won't cost the taxpayer millions, but BILLIONS.

tom swift jr.

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

Can you people really not see the truth here. A governor voting DOWN the repeal of the helmet law loses the support of riders who want to smash their heads on the pavement and leave widows and kids without fathers behind , a governor voting to repeal the law doesn't lose that support. It's all about votes, the heck with what's best for the state or its residents.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 11:18 a.m.

True about the votes in my opinion, but are they going to close all the bars and ban all alchohol in the state,ban all tobacco products in the state. Look how many medical bills that would save.

Boo Radley

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

The helmet repeal law was brought before Governor Granholm for approval at least twice, if I recall correctly. Perhaps Governor Snyder just felt it was time for the Governor's office to stop standing in the way of the wishes of the majority of our elected representatives. It seems rather arrogant to repeatedly strike down laws passed by our legislature.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

Driving and riding motorcycles on public roads is not a right, it's a privilege. The State has a compelling interest not to scoop your brains, guts and other internal goo off of the public roads for your leisure. Accidents, and certainly injury accidents, obviate the intent of our roads to allow for public transportation. So the diversionary tactic of "but my freedom" and "stop the nannying" is wasted on me because you had no such freedom or right. You were welcome to ride without a helmet on your private property. Arguing that it is your right to basically commit public suicide on our roads is selfish and irresponsible.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 7:04 p.m.

great point sir. we have no right to drive so like it or not we all have to abide by the regulations regarding said privlidge. too bad our state legislators are so driven by ideology that they cant make common sense regulations. so go ahead ride without a helmet but regardless of the regualations it doesnt change the fact that your stupid if you do.

Stephen Landes

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 5:02 p.m.

I've been a seatbelt use advocate for 30 years. As for helmets, in my opinion, anyone who rides without a helmet is seriously crazy. HOWEVER, I can see why motorcycle riders want to make this choice. As long as they are solely responsible for their own medical care (that is, as long as I am not required to pay a nickel for their care) they can do what they like about a helmet. Seat belts have an important function beyond personal safety. A seat belt keeps the driver of a vehicle in position to control the vehicle and prevents others riding in the vehicle from becoming dangerous flying objects that can cause the driver to lose control. Loss of control directly impacts people and property outside the car, truck, or bus -- for en example of that loss of control just watch the video of the bus driver who stupidly fell out of his seat resulting in a bus crash. While that driver was apparently just "reaching for something" (hence the dumb de-dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb) anything else that could have knocked him out of that seat would have had the same result. So, I can draw a distinction between these two safety devices even though I support using both: seat belts not only save lives in the vehicle they also save lives outside the vehicle; helmets save lives, but their impact on innocent bystanders and other drivers may not be sufficient to protect others from harm.

John Burdock

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

I think that your distinctions are erred. Have you ever been hit in the face by a June bug while riding a motor cycle at 70 MPH? I assure you this can cause a loss of control even with a helmet. Any way you want to slice it there are liabilities caused by people that are injured by motorcycle crashes as well as auto crashes, there is no real difference. This is where people like to justify what they want or think with what is the actual truth. Nobody, and I do mean nobody, can say that the facts are that helmets don't save lives and lessen injuries therefore reducing State, insurance company, and personal expenses as well as tax payers money. Don't' forget the "hidden" costs as well. It costs a ton of money to investigate fatal crashes and even more to give medical attention to someone who is seriously injured perhaps for life. Additionally there are costs to cleaning up the mess, paying the police to report it, getting rid of the crashed parts and then also consider the expense to council a child because now their parent is gone forever or a vegetable. These expenses make the crash itself seem small. If there is glaring proof that wearing a helmet saves lives and lessens injuries then what more do you need than that? I wear mine because I think, as a parent, it is my responsibility to do my best to make sure that I don't orphan my kids or put a lifelong burden on my loved ones. Now why is it again that you don't wear yours??? Was it because you're not going to be pushed around by the Government or it's your right to choose? I think these people put their "freedom" well above the pain they cause others that might suffer as a result of their decisions. We should not need a motor cycle law – people should care about others enough to wear them without the law.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Great comment, Steve!

Stephen Landes

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 3:46 a.m.

Tim, No it isn't OK for the reasons I stated above. Did you read my comment or just "react"?


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

So it's ok not to wear a seat belt if nobody else is in the car?


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 6 p.m.

"As long as they are solely responsible for their own medical care..." They aren't, so that's it. We'll end up footing the bill - a $20,000 policy (which the police can't check on anyway) wouldn't cover a day in the hospital for life-threatening injuries let alone for the care required afterwards.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 4:56 p.m.

So where does government " nannyism" start or where does it end ? The goverment doesn't allow people to use crack-- heroin -- meth-- etc. Do we really want a Ron Paul utopia where there are no rules? Why not do away with seat belt laws, smoking in the work place laws, driving an unsafe vehicle laws etc.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

Don't tell me I need to help pay for a military to protect me! If I want to be invaded by a foreign power, that should be my right!


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

What's "questionable" is the author questioning Snyder's "motives" just because he disagrees with helmet laws. Everybody that isn't being disingenuous knows that the law's motivation isn't increased safety, it's reduced governmental nannyism. You're free to disagree, buy you really have no right to question his motives. And I'm not a Snyder fan and ambivalent on the helmet law.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

The author didn't question Snyder's motives because he disagrees with helmet laws.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

And why can someone not question another person's motive???? Why should Synder be immune??


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

Not only should we not have to pay for these helmetless riders poor choices, we should maximize their benefit to the rest of us by following them around with organ harvesting teams. Seriously, Rick Snyder lied about everything he promised during his self-funded campaign--where is the data on any decision he has made since taking office? I have not seen actual data one single time, except the time he put out a study and them revoked it the next day after it was shown to be ridiculous.

hvac master

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

There are legal critieria that must be met to ride without a helmet. You must be 21 or older, you must carry a higher liability insurance coverage. And you must have health insurance. Let those who ride decide. The Government can not take care of itself let alone everyone else. Leave us alone!!


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 8:10 p.m.

Nice comment. I like how you state a fact and then all these people completely ignore it and go on beating the same old drum. "I don't want to pay for it! I don't want to pay for it!"


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

The police are not stopping riders and asking if they have the coverage to go w/out a helmet-if they have higher insurance and health insurance. So, anyone w/out those insurances could be riding w/out a helmet.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

The real cost to society is decades of nursing home care required once you are a vegetable......nursing home care is not covered by medical insurance, or by Medicare-- nursing home costs (average $80,000 per year) are mostly paid by Medicaid, which we all pay for with our taxes. Is long term nursing home insurance required to ride without a helmet?


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

Fine, then you pay for your injuries, not the taxpayers. I hope you have good health insurance coverage. Don't expect anyone else to pick up the tab for your decisions.

Mr. Ed

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

It will drive up health care cost in Michigan.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

Exactly. More serious injuries, higher premiums on vehicle insurance and health insurance.

hvac master

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

impossible! more people die from smoking than helmetless motorcycle accidents. Two people were in an accident just this morning in Commerce. the driver of the motorcycle died and his passenger was critically injured, Both were wearing helmets.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

Government should not tell you you have to wear a helmet! Freedom of choice is a major part of what this country is supposed to be about. HOWEVER, those that get damaged because they are not wearing a helmet should not have their medical bills paid for by taxpayers! If those who wish to not wear a helmet die because of a lack of medical care, that is their choice which they clearly made. Expecting free medical care is not proper in any way when caused by knowingly taking chances.

Unusual Suspect

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

When you leave your house in the morning to go to work, you are knowingly taking chances. I don't want to pay for your medical bills when you could have stayed home and taken less risk. Anybody who leaves their home in the morning should be required to pay for all their own medical expenses, with nothing from the taxpayers.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

Except that is not the reality of the situation. The GOP allows riders to go without helmets but did not set up necessary insurance requirements. This means the cost of treatment will be passed on to the rest of us. As they also oppose Romneycare, it sure seems like they want Other People to pick up the tab for personal irresponsibility.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 11:20 a.m.

Look at New York there the government wants to ban baby formula to force breast feeding of infants. To much control.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

Greg, the problem is the law requires that care be given. Ergo a helmet law to protect us from paying for their joyride.

hvac master

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

who gets free medical care? since when do taxpayers pay for YOUR medical care. Same would hold true for people in car accidents who chose not to wear seatbelts.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

I do not want my government to protect me from myself. I forbid it! I do want them, however, to keep me informed of dangers and to protect me and my fellow citizens from others. I'll decide what I'll do.

charles shiver

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

The government has a responsibility to protect us, even from ourselves. Thank you BIG BROTHER