The Michigan Senate has passed a bill that would make it legal for motorcycle riders aged 21 and older to ride without a helmet.
The bill was approved by a vote of 24-14, and will now move forward to the House, which is currently Republican-led and is expected to pass the bill. Governor Rick Snyder has not yet stated whether or not he will sign the bill once it arrives on his desk.
There are additional requirements which must be met by the motorcyclists in order to qualify not to wear a helmet. An amendment made to the bill also included the necessity for riders to carry insurance of a minimum of $100,000 for injury coverage. Currently, the Michigan law says that a rider must pay into a catastrophic injury insurance fund, but does not require riders to purchase coverage for personal injury.
The original bill, four years ago, and two bills to repeal the helmet law were vetoed by Governor Jennifer Granholm. The motorcycle helmet law itself has been bounced around over the last two decades among lawmakers.
Insurance companies are pushing to change the current Michigan law which makes unlimited coverage for medical care mandatory, into an optional coverage.
The current helmet law’s supporters say that by repealing it, motorcycle accidents will lead to more serious injuries which will then cause the insurance rates for non-motorcycle riders to increase.
Mandatory helmet law opponents argue that wearing head protection should be a personal choice and that the current regulations are keeping out-of-state bikers away from Michigan.