OUR VIEWS: Helmets are not optional

Aug 21, 2012


We don’t know enough about the riders’ critical injuries to say a helmet would have prevented them, but we are saying the law approved earlier this year by the Michigan Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder to make helmets optional is a big mistake.

The only good we see coming from the repeal of the helmet law is cooler heads and more organ donors.

The negatives far outweigh those positives — more deadly crashes, critical injuries and the potential for high insurance costs for all drivers.

The monetary cost to society is another problem cited by safety advocates. Annual medical and other costs for cyclists not wearing helmets involved in crashes averaged $310,000 per cyclist compared with $71,000 for cyclists wearing helmets, federal regulators say.

As you can see, the $20,000 insurance coverage that helmetless cyclists in Michigan are supposed to have doesn’t go very far.

We don’t like more and more regulations being pushed on us, but what a mess society would be if we didn’t have some rules to keep us safe.

And if cyclists don’t need a helmet, one could argue occupants of cars shouldn’t have to buckle up. But we all know that law has saved countless lives.

We all believe in freedom — but if motorcyclists want to use public roads, they should be required to abide by a few, sane rules.

We don’t know what was in the heads of our state legislators and Gov. Snyder when they made helmets optional, but more logical thinking should prevail, and wearing helmets should once again become mandatory.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



People who don't wear helmets and pay the ultimate price (their lives) deserve a Darwin Award.


I don't mind if a motorcyclist chooses to not wear his/her helmet - but if they choose not to, the public should not be obligated to pick up a dime of their medical care should an accident occur. Please don't whine that if the accident isn't there fault, blah....blah....blah. Accidents happen. It's a part of going out on the road, and it ought to be part of a persons calculation as to whether they want to take that risk. If you wear a helmet, you lower your risk. It's obvious. If you don't wear a helmet, you assume all the risk.


i agree. There are to many laws as it is, while not wearing a helmet/seatbelt is stupid; its an individuals right to choose...its called freedom. I don't need more rules to keep me safe, what I need is the individual fundamental thinking of consequences. If a biker gets into an accident without a helmet, and does not have the 'extra' insurance, then they should be denied care. People need to stop worrying about what others are doing. I wear a helmet!


I disagree, somewhat. They should not be denied care, but they should not expect anybody but themselves to PAY for that care. They should get the care that they can pay for.
THEY made the choice to lose their house to pay for medical bills.

Insurance rates in Michigan are high enough. They should NOT go higher to pay for people who risk themselves for their "freedom". They should have to buy insurance that reflects the risk....and should NOT be eligible to use the lifetime benefits we are forced to pay into. Their care stops when the insurance they pay for stops.
I don't mind paying for accidents. I resist when I have to pay for idiocy.l


"Hit something hard i don't want to limp away from the wreck." That is Ron Whites drunken comedy thoughts on crashing in his plane that seems to be the attitude of some motorcycle riders. There is a potentially high price for all that wind in your hair. That needs to be counted before you get on to ride and then no whining if you loose (if you can). We are a nation of doofuses who eat or smoke until we are fat and or sick and get upset when what we wanted, what we demanded hurts us. The motorcycle helmet law is just a reflection of a this larger issue of this culture of irresponsible living.


It's freedom. BTW. It amazes me how people will rant and rave over how people should be forced to wear a helmet or a seatbelt due to tax payer costs for medical bills. However, if you make mention the word "abortion", they'll go to bat all day long to defend a womans "freedom" to choose to kill her baby. Talk about expenditures from taxpayer $$$$. SAD.


I certainly don't support helmets being mandated.....but....I also don't particularly want to be responsible for paying health care costs for someone who kept the helmet off when we all know that helmets are one way to help protect ourselves while riding motorcycles. If you want to have the wind blowing in your face without a helmet - go for it. I just don't want to be responsible for your foolishness when we all know that there are risks - and mistakes - by drivers everyday.


For those who believe a helmet will make the difference in a collision, impact, or lay-down... please take a moment and read DOT standards.
You may wish to note S7.1.4. (17.1 ft/sec = 11.65MPH.)
I will place my trust in the One in Power, defensive driving skills, and situational awareness LONG before a bucket.
For those who wear- great. For those who have been given the freedom to make a decision- fine.


The statistics actually show that helmets save lives - 37% more lives are saved. Now, to be clear, I do not advocate that helmets should be mandated - but I also believe that you're foolish to not wear a helmet. If you want to be foolish - go for it - I just don't want to pay for your long-term care when your brain turns to mush. For more detail, see here: http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehicles...


Then we might as well start calling them what they really wind up being, in the end, for those who don't wear helmets - donor cycles.




I guess I am still confused as to why as a car owner, in Michigan only, I have to carry unlimited medical coverage in my car insurance. But now, thanks to the coverage this new law has received, it should be a well known fact that motorcycle insurance in Michigan, used to require no medical coverage. Now they have to go purchase $20,000 of medical coverage before taking off the helmet.
That is laughable! I would imagine $20,000 would barely cover the LifeFlight to get the organ donor to the hospital.


I never understood in the first place why the helmet law was repealed. Just plain dumb.


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