OUR VIEW: Kudos to local lawmakers for voting ‘no’ on helmet repeal

Last week, Michigan’s Senate passed a repeal of the law requiring motorcycle riders to wear protective helmets while out on the road.

Local legislators, Sen. Darwin Booher and Rep. Phil Potvin, voted against the act in its respective forms. The Senate version of the bill allows motorcyclists to ride without a helmet if they are at least 21 years old and have been licensed to operate a motorcycle for at least two years or have successfully completed a motorcycle safety course. The bill also would require a person who rides without a helmet to have $20,000 of insurance.

While Gov. Rick Snyder has yet to sign the repeal into law, he may do so.

Some motorcyclists want to feel the wind whipping through their hair, and they believe wearing a helmet in some way restricts their inherent freedom.

The thing is, it has been proven time and time again that while helmets may not lessen the chance of an accident, it can certainly reduce the possibility of death or devastating injury.

The fact is, laws are passed that not only protect the life of the primary victim, but also protect the people back home – husbands, wives and kids left caring for a victim of a disastrous head injury. This law also helps protect taxpayers – the people who will pay for the treatment for injured riders. How much will $20,000 cover, really?

Truth be known, even on a motorcycle, there simply aren’t individual victims. There never are. There always is someone else who will need to pick up the pieces – and in the long haul those who pick up the bill for long-term care will be the taxpayers of Michigan.

Helmets save lives. Helmets lessen the possibility of devastating injuries. Weighing that against the “right” to feel your hair blow free in the wind is no contest.

Those legislators who voted against the repeal, like Booher and Potvin, deserve a word of thanks, even if they were outnumbered.

Hopefully the governor will do the right thing as well. Let’s keep the helmet law in intact and in place.


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