Michigan Motorcycle Helmet Law - Lee Steinberg Law Office

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Michigan Motorcycle Helmet Law

Michigan Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Riding on a motorcycle is a fun and carefree adventure. Hitting the open road is an invigorating experience. However, because motorcycle operators are exposed with no protection, and must deal with other motorists who are often not as careful, it is vital operators and their passengers are protected and are familiar with the Michigan motorcycle helmet laws.

The Michigan motorcycle accident attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. assist clients everyday throughout the state of Michigan. We specialize in motorcycle accident law, with our team of attorneys and legal professionals handling all types of motorcycle claims for clients injured while riding a bike or moped. These claims are compensation for pain and suffering and emotional distress, as well as Michigan no-fault cases for benefits such as the payment of medical expenses and lost wages.

There are different ways to protect yourself when operating a motorcycle. Wearing a leather or synthetic jacket that is designated for a motorcycle is a smart way to guard against road rash if a crash occurs. Wearing basic eye protection, such as glasses or a helmet visor is important to prevent bugs and other items from obstructing your vision. Boots that are high enough to cover the ankle bone with also provide a sturdy sole and toe area is also important. However, perhaps the most important safety equipment when operating a motorcycle is the helmet to protect against head injuries. 

The Michigan motorcycle helmet law is dependent on certain criteria and the law allows motorcycle riders to decide if they want to wear a helmet while riding. To legally not wear a helmet, a motorcycle operator must:

  1. Be at least 21 years old;
  2. Have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits;
  3. Have held a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years, or have passed an approved motorcycle safety course.

Motorcycle Passengers who wish to not wear a helmet are allowed to do, so as long as they:

  1. Are at least 21 years-old;
  2. Have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits insurance in addition to the insurance required of the motorcycle operator.

Under Michigan motorcycle helmet law, a person under 21 years-old must wear a helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation when operating or riding on a motorcycle. A person under 19 years-old and operating a moped on a public highway is also required to wear a helmet.

Head Injuries Increase After Repeal of Motorcycle Helmet Law

Michigan repealed its mandatory motorcycle helmet law in April 2012. Advocates of the repeal claimed it would positively impact tourism, somehow convincing multitudes of motorcyclists to descend upon the state (without helmets). New research conducted jointly by the University of Michigan and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) confirms an unintended, not certainly not unforeseeable, side effect: increased head injuries.

In the year after the universal motorcycle helmet law was repealed, there was a 14% increase in the number of trauma center patients with head injuries as a result of motorcycle accidents. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, there was not a notable increase in the motorcycle accident fatality rate though data continues to show the risk of death doubles for motorcyclists who get in an accident without a helmet on their heads. The increase in traumatic head injuries is a significant concern, however, as they may leave survivors permanently disabled.

Whole Families Are Changed By Head Injuries

Closed head injuries and traumatic brain injuries impact more than the survivor of the accident. Usually, an entire family will undergo serious life changes when adapting to a new world involving a family member with a head injury. The learning curve is steep, and physical, emotional, and occupational therapy can be extensive and go on for a lifetime. Home care requirements depend on the severity of the injury, but can quickly turn family member’s lives upside-down. Private home care or skilled nursing can go a long way toward easing the burden of care, but both are expensive and require resources. Even if home care is not required at all, family members may have difficulty adapting to other symptoms related to the accident and head injury, such as depression or PTSD. These psychological illnesses have costs as well, both to the victim and to their family.

Buying a Safe DOT Motorcycle Helmet in Michigan

When looking to purchase a new helmet, choose a reputable store with a wide array of helmet types and brands. Don’t be afraid to ask the sales person at the store questions about the helmet’s positive and negative aspects and what type of motorcycle the helmet is usually used for.

You should also ask the sales person about whether the helmet conforms with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and motorcycle helmet safety standards. DOT approved helmets have been tested for impact at four different places on the helmet. They also have been tested for penetration to ensure the helmet can withstand a certain amount of force at impact.

A reputable store will also show you how to properly fit and adjust the helmet so it fits comfortably and safely on your head. Some shops will even allow a test drive with the helmet to ensure the helmet is the right option for you. If the helmet moves too much during use, it is not a safe helmet.

Most motorcycle helmets should last several years. Helmets with removable inner padding can last longer if the padding is removed and cleaned. Cleaning the inside of a helmet removes sweat and other corrosive elements.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

The experience of riding on a motorcycle is extraordinary. Individuals from all walks of life and backgrounds can come together and experience a shared bond that creates lasting memories. However, when tragedy strikes, and a crash with a motor vehicle or other type of wreck occurs while on a motorcycle in Michigan, the team of lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. are here to help.

Please call our law firm toll free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). Our personal injury attorneys can answer all your questions and assist you on the road to recovery. There is no charge ever until we win your case and we treat each client as a special member of our extended family.

Video transcript

There’s now a specific motorcycle helmet law for Michigan riders. You are now permitted to not wear a helmet, but you have to meet certain conditions. First, you have to be at least 21 years old, okay? You have to have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits, meaning under your own insurance policy for your motorcycle, you have to have at least 20 grand in medical benefits. Most people don’t, they usually have about five, so make sure you check your policy first. You also have have to have held a motorcycle endorsement for two years, or I think … The last thing is you have to have held a motorcycle endorsement for two years or have passed and improved motorcycle safety course. If you’re a new rider and you just got your endorsement, you still have to wear a helmet. If you’re under 21, you still have to wear a helmet.

If you’re not adequately … If you don’t have enough insurance coverage, you still have to wear a helmet. Make sure you do those things because if the police pull you over and they find out that you’re not wearing a helmet and they see that you don’t meet those requirements, they are going to give you a ticket every single time. There’s no reason for that. Just be careful. If you’re a passenger, you also do not have to wear a helmet, but again, you have to be at least 21 years old and you have to have at least have $20,000 of that medical coverage on the motorcycle that you’re riding on, okay? Make sure that is done before you elect not to wear a helmet.