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"31!" - MMA Announces Michigan Helmet Law Modification Signed by Governor

Published on 4/19/2012


"31!" - MMA Announces Michigan Helmet Law Modification Signed by Governor


The Massachusetts Motorcycle Association (MMA) is pleased to share with its members that the state of Michigan is now the 31st State to offer freedom of choice for Helmet use on Motorcycles.  The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) announced this past week that Michigan’s Governor signed into law the right for adults to choose with regard to helmet use on Motorcycles while at the same time toughening standards for Motorcyclists who wish to make that choice.


Anti-Helmet-choice arguments often refer to the 30 states who “don’t have a helmet law”, when in fact, there are really only 3.  With Michigan now joining the other 30, they are also the 28th State to have a specific helmet law which in fact offers adults the freedom of informed choice.  Mandatory Helmet Laws were first instituted in 1966 and eventually repealed in 1975; ironically, the Federal requirement was withdrawn one year after most states finally complied with the 1966 Highway Safety Act and within 3 years, most states had repealed their complying mandatory helmet laws.  The years following the repeal saw the largest growth in Motorcycle Ridership since the years prior.  While one could debate whether the repeal was the actual catalyst, no one can dispute that Motorcycles instill a sense of freedom that should not be taken for granted.

The MMA’s mantra of “Education, not Legislation” espouses that riders should be given the opportunity to be properly educated on not only how to properly operate a motorcycle, but to the risks and rewards of doing so.  To that end, the MMA strongly believes that adults should have the right to choose what and whether to use personal protective equipment.


Also, while the Michigan law toughens the requirements for that choice, they are not unreasonable and with regard to insurance are less restrictive than the requirements in Massachusetts.


The MMA also applauds the arguments used by ABATE of Michigan, specifically that there is a significant revenue bleed to their State’s economy caused by an exodus to surrounding states who did offer Helmet Choice, and that “the key to motorcycle safety, accident reduction and injury prevention lies in rider education, car driver awareness and license endorsement," as noted by Jim Rhoades, ABATE of Michigan Legislative Director.


With a major victory for Motorcyclists across the country, especially those continuing to fight for Helmet Choice, the MMA applauds the efforts of ABATE of Michigan and their Legislators and Governor for endorsing this fundamental right.


To read the entire announcement, see below or Click Here


For more information, see, or contact


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©2012 Massachusetts Motorcycle Association – Documents referenced herein are with permission of their respective Copyright owners.




Your SSMRO Board Reps

Dave Dwyer

Larry Nielson

MRF E-MAIL NEWS Motorcycle Riders Foundation
236 Massachusetts Ave. NE | Suite 510 | Washington, DC 20002-4980
202-546-0983 (voice) | 202-546-0986 (fax) |

Sent to you at the request of ABATE of Michigan


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     Contact: Jim Rhoades (734) 578-6144
Thursday, April 12, 2012     Vince Consiglio (248) 672-0957

ABATE: Governor Signs Helmet Choice Law
Michigan joins 30 other states to allow adult choice on helmet use, toughens standards

       LANSING,  After 46 years, Michigan now joins 30 other states in amending the mandatory helmet law in favor of adult choice.  The Michigan legislature overwhelmingly approved SB 291 with broad bipartisan support, and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed Public Act #98 (SB 0291) into law today. The new law modernizes Michigan's outdated mandatory helmet law, which was a holdover from bygone days leaving Michigan, in the minority one of only 20 states left enforcing an empty federal mandate.
       The proposal to update Michigan,s mandatory helmet law was introduced in the Senate by Senator Phil Pavlov (R) St. Clair. 
       "Every year, millions of dollars leave our state because of Michigan's outdated mandatory helmet law," Pavlov said. "This bipartisan plan will keep our dollars here, attract even more tourists to Michigan and help our state in these tough economic times."  Pavlov's bill also strengthened standards for allowing choice by mandating more stringent provisions then other helmet-free states.
   To ride helmet-free, motorcyclists must:
* Carry at least $20,000 in additional medical insurance.
* Be at least 21 years old.
* Have at least two years of riding experience or undergo special safety training.
       "We believe that the key to motorcycle safety, accident reduction and injury prevention lies in rider education, car driver awareness and license endorsement," said Jim Rhoades, Legislative Director for American Bikers Aiming Toward Education, or ABATE of Michigan. "We plan to continue providing certified motorcycle rider safety courses across the state at affordable rates so every rider can be educated before hitting the road."
   The law was written with input from ABATE, a motorcycle association dedicated to improving motorcycle safety and car driver awareness of motorcyclists on the roads. The new law gives Michigan the strictest requirements for riding helmet-free of any state that has modified mandatory helmet laws for adult choice (30 states). Allowing motorcyclists to ride helmet-free could also generate more than $1 billion in direct and indirect revenue, according to a recent Michigan Consultants study.
   "The problem is, helmet laws have done nothing to improve safety or reduce fatalities or the cost of insurance," said Vince Consiglio, President of ABATE of Michigan. "Motorcycle accidents are a very small percentage of accidents overall.  Data from other states has proven that states that remove mandatory helmet laws do not see an increase in insurance premiums, and states that institute helmet laws do not see a corresponding decrease in insurance rates.  It's never happened.  In addition, the leading insurance lobbyist was videotaped testifying before a senate committee last session that residents in Michigan will not see any rate increase as a result of the passage of this bill. This is yet another reason that we garnered such a large support base from the Michigan legislature".  Consiglio also wanted to extend ABATE's gratitude to "all of the legislative officials and Governor Rick Snyder who courageously supported freedom in the face of an onslaught of baseless and emotional arguments perpetuated by our opponents".

   The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association is a statewide trade association representing bars, restaurants, convenience stores and other class C license holders that also supported a change in the law.  "Every year we watch our customers ride into neighboring states and very few motorcycles ride in because of this law.  Our members near the Michigan borders are ecstatic!"  said Scott Ellis, the Executive Director of the MLBA.  
   ABATE Michigan has partnered with public schools and private driving instructors to teach more than 75,000 new drivers about motorcycle awareness, using resources donated by ABATE members.
       Since 1975, ABATE members have lobbied legislators to modify Michigan's outdated mandatory helmet law, which was a barrier to motorcycle tourism. At the same time, the previous law did nothing to reduce motorcycle injuries and fatalities.
       Statistics about Michigan Motorcyclists*
* 36.5 years of age
* Married
* College-educated
* Average income:
o $35,000/yr
o $57,000/yr for members of American Motorcyclists Association
o $80,000/yr for Harley Davidson owners
* Most are insured to operate a vehicle and a motorcycle
* Are responsible law-abiding citizens
* Have passed motorcycle safety courses
* Have experience on the road
* Pay taxes, registration and operating fees
* Capable of making his/her decision about whether or not he/she should wear a helmet
       *American Motorcyclist Association

       # # #

The MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists' rights organizations and the very founders of the American riders' rights movement among its leading members. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulations, motorcycling safety education, training, and public awareness. The MRF provides members and state motorcyclists' rights organizations with direction and information, and sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists rights activists, as well as publishing a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.