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Lax Michigan Helmet Laws Have Led to More Motorcycle Head Injuries

motorcycle head injuries

7 Years Later: Head Injuries Increase Thanks to Michigan’s Weak Motorcycle Helmet Law

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets cut the risk of a motorcycle fatality by 37 percent. Michigan’s weak helmet law is ignoring that risk as increases in the number of head injuries among hospitalized trauma patients and injured riders with skull fractures continue to rise each year. Michigan repealed its mandatory motorcycle helmet law in April 2012. Advocates of the repeal claimed it would positively impact tourism, somehow convincing thousands of riders to visit the state (without helmets). But additional helmet research supports the claim that without enforcing helmets, more head injuries will occur.

  • In 2016, University of Michigan researchers found the state’s trauma centers saw a 14 percent increase in head injuries among motorcyclists since the helmet repeal.
  • A study published in The American Journal of Surgeryin 2016 found that the average acute care cost of unhelmeted riders at a single Michigan trauma center was nearly $28,000, 32 percent higher than for helmeted riders.
  • Emergency physicians and trauma surgeons are seeing a shift in the types of head injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes, with the proportion due to mild concussions falling 17 percent, while the proportion due to skull fractures increasing 38 percent during the same time period.
  • Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital found that 10 percent of riders involved in a Michigan crash who weren’t wearing helmets died, compared with 3 percent of riders involved in a crash who wore helmets.

Although helmet use is an important preventive measure against some of the most serious accident injuries, such as closed head or brain injuries that can cause paralysis, permanent disability, or death, Michigan is one of 28 states that have helmet laws covering only some riders, usually those under 18. Only 19 states and the District of Columbia require helmets for all motorcyclists.

Understanding Michigan’s Helmet Law

Today, motorcyclists 21 and older in Michigan may ride without a helmet if they have either passed a motorcycle safety course or have held the motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license for at least two years. In addition, riders who choose not to wear helmets must have at least $20,000 in medical payment coverage and higher coverage for any passengers who ride unhelmeted, too.

We hope if you ride, you enjoy the dozens of beautiful roadways that hug Lake Michigan shorelines and travel safely along some of the most scenic rides in the country. Do yourself a favor though. Do not drink, use drugs, or take prescription medications while riding and also – wear a helmet.

Michigan Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyers 

Michigan motorcycle accident injury cases demand specific detail and expertise. If you or your family member is suffering from physical and emotional pain due to a motorcycle accident caused in some part by another person, the motorcycle accident attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm can help.

In an initial consultation, we can discuss your claim in depth and help you to understand all your legal options. Even if you or your loved one were not wearing a helmet, you may still have a strong personal injury case and could recoup a huge portion of your medical expenses, as well as damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Please call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) if you have any questions about Michigan motorcycle accident injury law.

Additional Reads for Michigan Riders: 

7 Ways to Minimize Risk of a Nighttime Motorcycle Accident
Do I Have an Injury Case If I Don’t Have Motorcycle Insurance?
Tips for Your Michigan Motorcycle Trip