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Facts Instead of Fiction on Michigan's Helmet Law Modification

June 21, 2016

In recent weeks, many advocates of mandatory helmet laws have attacked Michigan’s ADULT CHOICE motorcycle helmet law passed in 2012. In these “reports” the claim is that 40% of riders in fatal crashes were not wearing helmets which means 60% of riders were wearing helmets. More riders died wearing a helmet than without.

The real problem is UNENDORSED MOTORCYCLE RIDERS.

Every year since 1989 (a total of 26 years) when Michigan started keeping track of this data, 40% OR MORE of the motorcycle riders did not have a motorcycle endorsement and, were thus, riding illegally. In 2013 and 2015 that number reached 57% or nearly 3 out of 5 riders involved in fatal accidents, according to Michigan’s Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP).

ABATE of Michigan President Vince Consiglio stated, “With the extended riding season and the outrageously high number of unlicensed riders, it is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. Why are motorcycle riders allowed to get insurance without an endorsement?”

Additional claims are taken out of context and show a lack of integrity in their reporting. The claim that there was a 23% increase in motorcycle fatalities from 2014 to 2015 is misleading since they do not state that 2014 had the lowest number of motorcycle fatalities in ten years while 2015 had the highest number. The helmet law faction claims “The very low figure in 2014 appears to be an anomaly.” Thus the truth, buried in their report is that 2015 was normal.

ABATE Statistician, Vince Piacenti, finds this “cherry-picking” of data to falsely represent motorcycle safety records to be unprofessional. He added, “Comparing a high year with a low year is not statistically valid.”

The objective of ABATE of Michigan has and will always be to promote motorcycle safety and car driver awareness programs in Michigan. Legislative Coordinator Jim Rhoades said, “ABATE has initiated and helped pass four separate bills in the last four years aimed at the issue of unendorsed riders and motorcycle safety and awareness. The helmet law question is an adult freedom issue.”

The insurance industry continually hammers motorcycle riders on Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) coverage which ALL motorcycle riders are required to pay for. The fact is that motorcycle riders are NOT covered in a catastrophic accident unless the incident involves an auto or truck. There is no coverage in a single vehicle accident, if another motorcycle is involved, or if a cyclist hits a deer or other animal.

Motorcyclists represent approximately 5% of the catastrophic costs to the insurance industry while injured pedestrians and bicyclists use more than three times for medical costs and do not pay anything into the MCCA.

ABATE of Michigan, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the rights and promoting the safe operating practices of all Michigan motorcyclists.

ABATE has partnered with public schools and private drivers schools to teach more than 80,000 new drivers about motorcycle awareness, using resources donated by ABATE members.

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