Motorcycling News and News Releases

Motorcycling Laws and Legislation

Support for Motorcycle Helmet Laws

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Causation, Prevention, Mitigation,
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Motorcycling General Interest

Agency and Association Position Statements and Papers Supporting Motorcycle Helmet Use and Helmet Laws

SMARTER Aligns with National and State Agencies in Campaign to Inform Michigan Lawmakers Helmets Save Lives and Costs—Governor Rick Snyder Ignores All

  • Skilled Motorcyclist Association–Responsible, Trained and Educated Riders (SMARTER) News Releases and Letters
    • The Devastating Costs of Helmet Repeal - a news release issued April 4, 2012, by SMARTER cites the March 2012 UMTRI findings from its analyses of 2009 motorcycle crash data (the latest available)
    • Future Looks Scary for Michigan Motorcyclist Safety - a Halloween 2011 news release from SMARTER expresses concern for Michigan's comprehensive motorcyclist safety efforts
    • It Is Not Too Late to Avoid a Mistake: Keep Michigan's All-rider Motorcycle Helmet Law - a statement issued May 26, 2011, cites research by the University of Pittsburgh, saying, "We shouldn’t have to conduct our own human experiment to know that repeal of our current lifesaving and dollar-saving helmet law would be a huge mistake.”

      Pennsylvania has learned the hard way. They have unnecessarily killed and injured citizens who ride motorcycles and have forced the general population to pay for the irresponsible decisions of a few who chose to ride helmetless. There is no need for Michigan to repeat the Pennsylvania experiment.
      —Dan Petterson, Ed.D., SMARTER President

  • National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Unveils New "Most Wanted List" - the list released June 23, 2011, includes the issue area "improve motorcycle safety" among its top 10 critical changes needed to reduce transportation accidents and save lives

    Using a motorcycle helmet that complies with U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 is perhaps the single greatest measure a rider or passenger can take to reduce the risk of injury or death. Helmets meeting this standard are designed with a hard outer shell, an impact-attenuating liner, and a retention system to protect the head, especially the brain. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to riders and 41 percent effective for motorcycle passengers.

  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention - Motorcycle Safety: How to Save Lives and Save Money - a 26-page guide to inform readers about the public health significance of motorcycle crashes, the best way protect riders (showing the anatomy of a helmet and what helmets do to prevent injuries), how states compare with one another in terms of motorcycle-related deaths and economic costs, and what can be done to increase motorcyclist safety

    Our role is to identify ways to prevent injury and death and rigorously check what works and what does not work. For motorcycle safety, the research shows that universal helmet laws are the most effective way to reduce the number of deaths and traumatic brain injuries that result from crashes.
    —Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC Director

    • Save Lives, Save Money - see how Michigan measured up BEFORE the repeal of the state's mandatory all-rider helmet law 

      WHAT CAN MICHIGAN DO? [Reinstate] your universal helmet law. Keep in mind that public support is high for helmet laws, averaging 84% in states like yours [used to be] with a universal law.

      ⇒Do Michigan Voters Think Motorcycle Riders Should Wear Helmets? - the 2011 Spring Marketing Resource Group Michigan Poll of likely Michigan voters found an overwhelming 81 percent believe that motorcycle riders should be required to wear helmets

    • How Does Your State Measure Up? - click on your state to see what number it ranks in the nation, along with a regional comparison for lives saved and economic costs saved, due to helmet use and helmet-law impact
  • "Fewer Helmets, More Deaths" - a March 31, 2014, New York Times interactive article by Alastair Dant and Hannah Fairfield graphically demonstrates the immediate rise in motorcyclist fatalities after the repeal of universal motorcycle helmet laws    
  • Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety (Advocates) - Advocates releases a Sept. 11, 2007, statement lauding the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB's) motorcycle safety recommendations

    We are encouraged by NTSB's announced support for effective state legislative solutions - adoption of all-rider helmet laws in all states without them. We know what works. What's missing is the political will and leadership to make it happen.
    —Judith Lee Stone, Advocates President

  • Who supports universal motorcycle helmet laws? April 2004 NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts: Motorcycle Helmet Use Laws
AAA Epilepsy Foundation of America
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety GEICO
Allstate Insurance Company General Federation of Women’s Clubs
American Academy of Family Physicians Indian Health Service
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Motorcycle Industry Council
American Association of State Highway and Transportation National Association of Orthopedic Nurses
American Academy of Pediatrics National Association of Public Hospitals
American Coalition for Traffic Safety, Inc. National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
American College of Emergency Physicians National Association of State EMS Directors
American College of Preventive Medicine National Association of State Head Injury Administrators
American College of Surgeons National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association National Conference of Black Mayors
American Insurance Association National Flight Nurses Association
American Medical Association National Safety Council
American Nurses Association National Sheriffs Association
American Public Health Nationwide Insurance
American Trauma Society Native American Injury Prevention Coalition
Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics, and Neonatal Nurses Prudential Insurance
Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine State and Territorial Injury Prevention Directors Association
Brain Injury Association Students Against Destructive Decisions
Center for Rural Emergency Medicine State Farm Insurance
Emergency Nurses Association Think First Foundation
Emergency Nurses CARE Wellness Councils of America
  • Michigan Office of Highway Safety and Planning (OHSP): Data Trends after the Repeal of Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Laws in US and Estimated Socioeconomic Effects of Repealing Michigan's Universal Helmet Law - an eight-page document supplementing earlier findings, compiled Feb. 14, 2011

    Based on analysis conducted by our office, if Michigan’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law were to be repealed, the state should expect to see an annual increase of at least 30 fatalities, 127 incapacitating injuries, and $129 million in economic costs.
    —Michael Prince, Director, MI OHSP, June 2008 letter to editor

  • University of Michigan Traffic Research Institute (UMTRI) - a Nov. 10, 2011, letter to Michigan Governor Snyder, coauthored by the directors of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the University of Michigan Injury Center
    • Studies Show Motorcycle Helmet Use Saves Lives and Reduces Financial Burdens - a University of Michigan Sept. 8, 2011, release referencing the study below, a succinct three-page document citing 17 references

      ⇒The Safety and Economic Costs of Repealing Michigan's Helmet Law - analyses conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) using actual 2009 motorcycle crash and cost data reveal the devastating monetary and nonmonetary quality-of-life effects of helmet-law repeal

      Estimated impact of repeal of Michigan's helmet law: [S]ocietal costs for Michigan in 2009 would have been $497.1 million in monetary costs, $655 million in non-monetary quality of life costs, and $1.2 billion in total comprehensive costs.

  • Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI) - BIAMI has identified seven key points that substantiate opposition to repeal with FACTS not FEELINGS:
    1. Michigan Medicaid is already paying nearly $20 million annually.
    2. Michigan taxpayers cannot absorb the increased public cost of care that will result from the repeal of the Motorcycle Helmet Law.
    3. Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning predicts an annual increase of at least 30 fatalities, 127 incapacitating injuries and $129 million in economic costs.
    4. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that within 30 months of Florida’s 2000 Helmet Law repeal, head-injury hospitalizations skyrocketed 80 percent and total cost for acute care of head injuries doubled to $44 million.
    5. ABATE of Michigan, the organization that actively lobbies to repeal or weaken Michigan’s universal helmet law and claims to represent all Michigan motorcyclists, represents significantly less than 1 percent of Michigan’s license-endorsed motorcyclists.
    6. The Constitution and the first ten amendments do not give individuals the “right to do as they please” to the detriment of other citizens.
    7. The “freedom” to ride with the wind in your hair isn’t free when Michigan’s taxpayers are expected to pay for the selfish choice of motorcyclists who simply do not want to wear a helmet.
  • Heads First Coalition - a broad coalition of Michigan law-enforcement agencies, health-care practitioners, municipal leaders, insurance companies, and motorcycle riders and rider associations took a strong stance at a June 22, 2006, news conference at the Capitol in Lansing, MI, in opposition to efforts to repeal the state's nearly four-decade-old mandatory motorcycle helmet law—a repeal ultimately vetoed by then-Governor Jennifer Granholm

    No matter how you spin this, helmet law repeal represents, at best, blatant disregard for common sense; at worst, reckless endangerment of Michigan citizens. We've forewarned our elected representatives that people will die and their answer, apparently, is: "Let them die.”
    —Michael Dabbs, Heads First Coalition Chair

    • Michigan Helmet-Law Supporters - a compilation of 55 agencies and organizations and a dozen media opinions all supporting a mandatory all-rider helmet law in Michigan
  • Motorcycle helmet use saves lives and reduces financial burdens, studies show: UMHS and St. Joseph Mercy stand with Washtenaw County Medical Society and other organizations against repeal of Michigan's mandatory helmet law - a University of Michigan Health System September 8, 2011, release
    • A coalition of county medical societies - a follow-up letter to Michigan Governor Snyder, posted September 8, 2011, and promulgated by the Washtenaw County Medical Society and co-signed by 17 other Michigan medical societies and health care groups, which emphatically states why "We can't afford helmet law repeal!"
  • Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan - In a June 9, 2011, letter to Michigan Governor Snyder, President Arlene Gorelick, MPH, states 25 percent of all cases of epilepsy are attributed to head injury and expresses support for the mandatory helmet law
  • Michigan Association of Traffic Accident Investigators (MATAI) - President Kim Cole addresses concerns officers on the street have about the enforceability of partial laws and insurance requirements and shares firsthand experience working crashes where helmets have saved lives or reduced injuries

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