Facts Instead of Fiction on Michigan’s Helmet Law Modification
In recent months 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 who died in fatal crashes were un-helmeted which means 60% of riders were wearing helmets. More riders died wearing a helmet than without.
The real problems are UNENDORSED MOTORCYCLE RIDERS and car drivers violating a motorcyclist’s right of way, by making a left turn in front of the rider.
Every year since 1989 (a total of 27 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.
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 reality is that deaths fluctuate with miles driven, which is affected by weather,” wrote Jarrett Skorup of the Mackinac Center. “At the end of the day, the fatalities this year are well within the range of what is normal.
The recent fatality of State Representative Peter Pettalia from a right of way violation, shows the need for a state funded motorcycle awareness program. Pete was an experienced rider. He rode with a defensive riding mindset. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and kids. Left turns in front of a motorcycle rider are one of the leading causes of motorcyclist’s fatalities.
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.