Darwinism Working Overtime

April 30 2012

The State of Michigan has repealed its law requiring motorcyclists to wear a helmet when riding their machines. Has the state lost its collective mind, or did it never have one to begin with? 

The repeal, which was signed by Republican Governor Rick Snyder, was put in motion despite protests from the medical and insurance communities. Understandably, they felt that the repeal posed a serious threat to the safety of riders and would lead to a large increase in the costs associated with accidents.

News of the repeal was however welcomed by those who lobbied against the State’s helmet law over the past thirty years. The argument against the mandatory use of helmets focused on the law being an infringement of a citizen’s freedom. For proof that this mentality has nothing to do with the drinking water in the area, Michigan became the 31st state to make helmet use an option.

Vince Consiglio, President of motorcycle safety and advocacy group ABATE, commented that “Motorcycle accidents are a very small percentage of accidents overall.” His logic escapes us; just one rider who suffers brain damage from a crash because he wasn’t wearing a helmet is one rider too many in our books. Consiglio continued: “Data from other states demonstrates 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.” There was no mention as to the effect removing mandatory helmet laws has on incidents involving death or brain damage.

Critics of the change in Michigan’s helmet law described the move as being poor public policy that would increase the number of motorcyclist fatalities.

The repealed law does come with a number of caveats: Riders who chose not to wear a helmet must be 21 years old, have held a motorcycle licence for two years or passed a safety course, and carry an additional $20,000 in medical insurance. Similarly, helmetless passengers must also be 21 and have the additional $20,000 insurance coverage. We assume that the additional $20,000 is meant to cover funeral expenses.

 

 

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