Media and Public Oppose Repeal of Helmet Laws
Varied Viewpoints Support Maintenance of Universal Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Much of the following emanated in response to the introduction of bills in 2011 to repeal Michigan's universal helmet law, with the hoped-for result that Governor Rick Snyder would exercise the same intelligent judgment that former Governor Jennifer Granholm did in vetoing similar legislation in June of 2006 and 2008.
Repealing the requirement that motorcyclists wear helmets would be costly to all Michigan families.
—Governor Jennifer Graholm
in her veto letter to state officials June 23, 2006
Following the signing into law the repeal bill SB 291 by Snyder on Friday the 13th of April, 2012, and as other states nationwide faced threats or suffered the effects of efforts to weaken or repeal their own helmet laws, media outlets and individuals expressed their support for mandatory helmet laws and called for creating, retaining, or reinstating this lifesaving measure.
- The Oakland Press: State should restore motorcycle helmet law - June 21, 2012
- Macomb Daily: Lawmakers should reverse helmet law to save lives - May 23, 2012
- Detroit Free Press: Michigan's new helmet law kicks sense to the curb - April 13, 2012
- Detroit Free Press: Motorcycle helmets protect lives and wallets; Snyder should veto new legislation - March 30, 2012
- Detroit Free Press: Protect good sense; keep state's helmet law - March 26, 2011, reprint
Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm vetoed similar legislation. Now it's Snyder's turn to protect the safety, and economic interests, of Michigan citizens by maintaining the state's sensible helmet law.
- The Jackson Citizen Patriot: Snyder Should Veto Motorcycle Helmet Law Repeal - April 4, 2012
- Grand Rapids Press: Why lawmakers should keep Michigan's mandatory motorcycle helmet law - April 14, 2011
The only sensible choice is to require a helmet, just as mandatory seatbelt use makes sense. Repeal will mean lives lost.
The state has enough big problems to address. More serious head injuries shouldn’t be among them.
- Star-Tribune: Wyo needs to restore motorcycle helmet law - May 15, 2007
It's time for Wyoming lawmakers to bring back the state's mandatory motorcycle helmet law.
The 2008 session will mark 25 years since the Legislature repealed the universal helmet law. Since 1983, only those 18 and under have been required to wear motorcycle helmets.
National and state data from the past quarter-century show that many lives could be saved - and fewer serious accidents would occur - if helmets were mandatory for all ages.
- Snyder's motives in repealing motorcycle helmet law questionable - viewpoint by guest columnist Tom Watkins, former state mental health director, former state superintendent of schools, and currently a U.S./China consultant, posted July 29, 2012
- Helmets make riding motorcycles safer - commentary by John Burns, posted July 20, 2012, by Cycle World, wherein Mr. Burns poses the question, "Is wearing a helmet a good idea when riding a motorcycle?" and answers it by saying, "Only if you value your life and would like it to continue"
- Why rise in motorcycle deaths hasn't meant tough helmet laws - the video interview premiering June 19, 2012, of Rick Schmitt, a reporter for FairWarning (see below), by host Judy Woodruff, on PBS NewsHour, is introduced with the line, "More and more states are repealing and relaxing helmet laws, even as the death toll continues to rise from motorcycle accidents"
- Despite Death Toll, Motorcycle Groups Strive to Muzzle U.S. Regulators - FairWarning, an online, nonprofit publication that seeks to provide robust, public interest journalism on issues of health, safety, and corporate conduct published a June 7, 2012, article that provides a historical overview of the politics of motorcyclist safety, inciting the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) to issue action alerts to their members and followers calling for comments in opposition to the contents of the article
- Oakland Connection video interview - host Tim Burns talks with motorcycle accident lawyer Steven Gursten, from Michigan Auto Law, about no-fault insurance and the helmet law in Michigan
- Ignore the Spiel on the Motorcycle Helmet Law Repeal - Gursten shares a cartoon Animoto on the absurdity of the campaign to repeal state motorcycle helmet laws; even if you're smart enough to ignore the repeal spiel, you'll like this video and its accompanying blog post of December 13, 2011
- Blog About Reasons Why States Should Have a Motorcycle Helmet Law - a blog by Gursten inspired by "Top Reasons Why Every State Should Pass an All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law," to which a reader named Clay responded about the seven reasons "why I should be forced to wear a helmet," after which Dan Petterson, president of SMARTER, was invited to respond to each comment
- Detroit Free Press: Let motorcyclists go helmetless? No - reprint of October 1, 2009, guest commentary by SMARTER president Dan Petterson, Ed.D., on Motorcycle Helmets and Helmet Laws: An Issue That Should Not Need Debate
- Wear a Motorcycle Helmet - Please? - a March 24, 2009, posting on Insurance.com that includes a Massachusetts federal court judge's response to the argument that wearing a helmet should be a personal choice because only the rider is harmed in an accident:
The public has an interest in minimizing the resources directly involved. From the moment of injury, society picks the person up off the highway; delivers him to a municipal hospital and municipal doctors; provides him with unemployment compensation if, after recovery, he cannot replace his lost job; and, if the injury causes permanent disability, may assume responsibility for his and his family's subsistence. We do not understand a state of mind that permits plaintiff to think that only he himself is concerned.
- Brain Dead: Why Are There No Mandatory Helmet Laws?
- Health Watch: Non-bikers Bear Costs of Helmet-Free Motorcyclists' Head Injuries - June 20, 2008 Ann Arbor Business Review
- Think Wearing a Helmet Makes You Look Stupid?
- Mandatory Helmet Laws? Ask Tom. - a September 22, 1983, recounting by Ralph Nader of a personal encounter with a 27-year-old man who five years earlier had ridden his motorcycle without wearing a helmet and crashed
Our country was doing the humane, sensible thing until 1976. By that year, 49 states and the District of Columbia had passed mandatory motorcycle helmet requirements for anyone traveling on public highways. A federal statute prodded this action by promising to subtract a small percentage of highway aid funds from non-complying states. In 1976 that federal stimulus was repealed. By 1980, 29 states had rescinded their helmet mandates. Fatal head injuries in motorcycle collisions and spills skyrocketed. There were 4800 motorcycle deaths in 1981 and many more riders totally and permanently disabled. The tragically accurate prediction is that there is a sudden increase in fatal or serious head injuries in states that revoke mandatory helmet use.
- MLive survey: Poll shows a near 'super majority' oppose new law lifting motorcycle helmet mandate - a poll commissioned by MLive Media Group, conducted December 3 through 5, 2012, by Marketing Resource Group, of Lansing, shows 63 percent of 600 registered Michigan voters do not support allowing motorcyclists to ride without helmets
“That's nearly a super majority. When you get upward of 60 to 65 percent, that’s a mandate, “ said Paul King, director of research services for the polling firm. “That’s about as strong as you get.”
- 1,179 Michigan citizens sign online petition opposing repeal - a page here on SMARTER's website that compiles and categorizes the compelling comments made by several of the petitioners who signed the online petition SMARTER initiated in December 2011 opposing repeal of Michigan's mandatory helmet law, many of which described firsthand experience as to the effects of brain injury, summed up simply and eloquently by one: "the brain is a slow healer"
- Medical professionals see firsthand the consequences suffered by unhelmeted motorcycle riders who have crashed
- TBI survivors and their families and friends share firsthand experience with closed-head injuries
- Families and friends of motorcycle riders involved in crashes share their firsthand experience
- Motorcycle crash survivors and riders share their firsthand experience wearing a helmet to protect their head and eyes
- Petitioners share outrage over costs of unhelmeted motorcycle riders who crash and claim freedom of choice
- Petitioners share common-sense reasons for motorcycle riders to wear helmets and logically compare the helmet law to the seat belt law
- AAA reports new poll shows Michigan voters oppose repeal - results released March 26, 2011, of a poll by Marketing Research Group (MRG), Inc., of Lansing, show that 81 percent of some 600 likely Michigan voters statewide believe the current mandatory helmet law should be maintained, and surveys of AAA Michigan members found that 90 percent favored keeping the helmet law
- Do Michigan Voters Think Motorcycle Riders Should Wear Helmets? - a chart reveals the results of the 2011 Spring Marketing Resource Group Michigan poll
- Motorcyclist Awareness Advocate Expresses Disappointment - this thought-provoking follow-up letter to Governor Snyder on April 20, 2012, by SMARTER member Eric Larson cites instances of lives saved by helmets and expresses the disappointment we share that "safety, awareness, education, and mandatory protective riding gear cannot all go hand in hand"
I have been a staunch supporter of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month each year during the month of May.… And it troubles me to think that safety, awareness, education, and mandatory protective riding gear cannot all go hand in hand.
- A Letter to Lt. Gov. Brian Calley - an extensively well-documented November 8, 2011, letter by Injury Prevention Education Specialist Karla Klas, BSN, RN, CCRP, of the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center, succinctly sums up that "[h]elmets are indisputably proven to save costs and lives...." Klas, an avid street and off-road motorcyclist, was one of the authors of a 2002 U-M study that found riders who didn’t wear helmets incurred approximately $26,000 more in inpatient hospital and rehabilitation costs
- A Letter to Michigan State Representatives - Injury Prevention Education Specialist and avid motorcyclist Karla Klas, BSN, RN, CCRP, University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center, in a September 5, 2011, letter, submits compelling rationale for retaining Michigan's universal helmet law.