Michigan Helmet Law Revision May Save Lives, But Hurts Heads

“Make sure you wear your helmet.”  Many people recall this statement from their parents when they said that they were going outside to ride their bicycle.  As an adult, the government plays the role of a parent about helmet safety issues.  While 3 states have no law about helmet use for motorcycle riders, “28 states require some riders to wear helmets; and 19 states and the District of Columbia require all motorcyclists to wear them.”  In April 2012, Michigan law changed from requiring all riders to wear helmets to merely some.  The purpose of the loosening of the helmet law was to increase tourism to the state.  Unfortunately, all it increased was the number of head injuries.

As the Michigan Secretary of State says, “Michigan law now allows motorcyclists to decide for themselves…”  Granted, there are certain legality conditions that must be met, but for most cyclists, helmets are optional.  Many may find it surprising and positive that some studies show that the revision of the Michigan helmet law has had no effect on, or even lessened the number of motorcycle-related fatalities. However, the law has resulted in a 14% increase in head injuries.  Specifically, reported mild concussions fell by 17%, “while the proportion [of injuries] due to skull fractures increas[ed] 38% during the same period.”

Ultimately, whether or not the government should be telling you to wear a helmet is debatable.  However, there can be no debate on the fact that any law that increases the chance of a head injury is negative.

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