Helmet law repealed by Michigan senate but conditionally


Helmet law repealed by Michigan senate but conditionallyIt has been a decades-old dream for motorcyclists in Michigan to ride without a helmet. With the passage of the bill by the Senate, they are now closer to realizing that dream. Now, those who are over 21 years of age need not wear a helmet while riding but it comes with some conditions. It has been approved on a bipartisan vote (24-14) but those who wish to ride without a helmet will have to fulfill other requirements. They have to purchase medical payment coverage of $100,000, which would translate to around $1,000 if we go by today’s rates.

As of now, medical coverage is only optional for motorbikes. Under the no-fault coverage in Michigan, a cyclist is entitled to full lifetime medical coverage if they collide with a truck or a car. Approximately, 60 to 70% of the accidents normally get this coverage from the insurance cover on the car.

However, if a cyclist happens to just run off the road and hit a tree, then there is no cover other than the optional coverage that the cyclist would have purchased. It is pretty expensive despite having the state’s helmet law that supposedly lowers the insurer’s exposure – $50 to $75 per $5,000 coverage.

According to the reports from Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, the exposure is pretty high even with the helmet law. Although motorcycle-related injuries account for over 7% of the medical claims, the motorcycle owner assessments only make up to less than 2% of the sum paid into the funds annually.

If there is no helmet, there will be a rise in risk for insurers and the $100,000 coverage is likely to go up more than what it is now. However, Peter Kuhnmuench from the Insurance Institute of Michigan states that he will have to check and see by how much it will increase. He also stated that the entire society will have to bear the higher auto insurance costs as this is the direct consequence of an individual’s decision not to wear a helmet.

Governor Rick Snyder states that he wants to take a broader look at the helmet rule as well as the no-fault insurance in Michigan as there is a huge connection between the helmet law and the auto insurance costs.

Snyder said in a statement today that they are having an internal dialogue with some of the groups about the components in auto insurance they might have to work at, to make it a part of the reform package.