Michigan Motorcycle Death Jump After 2012 Helmet Repeal

According to a study released last Wednesday by the University of Michigan and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, during the year after Michigan allowed motorcyclists 21 and older to ride without helmets, the fatality rate among bareheaded riders was double that of their helmeted  fellow bikers.

“We still saw an increase in head injuries and that can have a big impact on motorcyclists after the crash and to their families,” said Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research and coauthor of the study.
(Via: Detroit Free Press)

The research covered the 12 months immediately prior to and after April 2012, when Michigan repealed its universal helmet law. The study researched reported motorcycle crash death and head injury data. For that two-year period there were 7,235 reports of riders who crashed in the state. Of those, 1,094 were hospitalized at trauma centers.

Over the two-year period, the number of motorcycle fatalities overall did not increase significantly, but the fatality rate among unhelmeted riders who crashed was 5.4%, nearly double the 2.8% rate among helmeted riders.

A separate study of one Michigan trauma center published earlier this year in the Journal of Surgery  found the average care given to unhelmeted riders cost about $28,000, or 32% higher than care cost for helmeted riders.

On the brighter side, Cicchino said that 75% motorcyclists 21 or older still choose to wear a helmet.

“We found from other research, for example, in Texas and Kentucky, that percentage still wearing helmets dropped to about 65%,” Cicchino said.
(Via: Detroit Free Press)

Advocates for repealing the helmet law argued it would boost tourism. If it has, fortunately, those visiting riders aren’t getting injured at a very high rate. Of all motorcycle crashes studied by IIHS and U-M, 95% of the bikes were registered in Michigan.

As of today 31 states allow those 21 and older to ride without helmets, while 19 states and the District of Columbia require helmets for all motorcyclists.


Photo by veggiefrog