The media is abuzz with the results of a recent study by the insurance industry, claiming that since Michigan changed its helmet law last year to require only riders under the age of 21 to wear helmets, the average medical claim from a motorcycle crash has risen by more than a fifth.
Now, 19 states and the District of Columbia require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, 28 states require only some motorcyclists – usually younger or novice riders – to wear a helmet, and three states have no helmet use law. States have been gradually repealing or weakening mandatory helmet laws for nearly two decades,
leaving adult citizens with freedom of choice in the matter.
Advocates for mandatory helmet laws say that there is no free ride, and counter the argument that adults should be free to make their own decisions by pointing out that all taxpayers are ultimately burdened by paying for someone who suffers a devastating head injury due to their choice not to wear a helmet.
Meanwhile, advocates for choice such as Jeff Hennie, vice president of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, says that the insurance industry can not be impartial in this matter because “life has gotten more expensive for them and they have to pay out more.”
“The fact is our highways are bloody,” Hennie said. “This (the Michigan helmet law change) doesn’t make helmets illegal. … No one is forcing anyone to ride without a helmet.”
Whether you are a biker and choose to wear a helmet, or assert your right not to, this is certainly food for thought.
See a map of Helmet Laws in the US here.