Michigan governor Rick Snyder has signed into law a bill repealing the state’s mandatory helmet laws. As of today, motorcyclists can ride without wearing a helmet.

Senate Bill No. 291, introduced Republican State Senator Phil Pavlov, amends state law to allow riders 21 and older to ride without a helmet provided they have carry an additional $20,000 in medical insurance and have either passed a motorcycle safety course or had their motorcycle endorsement for at least two years.

Passengers over 21 may also ride helmet-less provided the passenger is covered by a $20,000 insurance policy purchased by the passenger or rider.

Various groups have tried to repeal Michigan’s helmet law in the past, with former Governor Jennifer Granholm twice vetoing legislation. Gov. Snyder supported repealing the law, arguing helmets do not make up for rider training.

“While many motorcyclists will continue to wear helmets, those who choose not to deserve the latitude to make their own informed judgments as long as they meet the requirements of this new law,” says Gov. Snyder. “There is no substitute for proper training, education and awareness when it comes to operating any motor vehicle. We must continue working together to keep our roads safe by making sure that everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car or on a motorcycle has the proper skills. Traffic safety is a responsibility shared by all motorists.”

Pavlov says the amendment will help attract motorcycle tourists who would otherwise avoid traveling through Michigan because they do not wish to wear helmets.

“Every year, millions of dollars leave our state because of Michigan’s outdated mandatory helmet law,” Pavlov said. “This bipartisan plan will keep our dollars here, attract even more tourists to Michigan and help our state in these tough economic times.”

Vince Consiglio, president of the Michigan chapter of American Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) welcomes the new law arguing the legislation will not lead to an increase in insurance premiums.

“The problem is, helmet laws have done nothing to improve safety or reduce fatalities or the cost of insurance,” said Vince Consiglio, President of ABATE of Michigan. “Motorcycle accidents are a very small percentage of accidents overall. Data from other states demonstrate 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. It’s never happened.”

Critics however argue the legislation will lead to an increase in serious injuries. AAA Michigan says the helmet law repeal will result in at least an additional 30 fatalities and 127 injuries, resulting in $129 million in medical costs passed onto taxpayers.

States with Mandatory Helmet Law:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

States with Age-Restricted Helmet Laws:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

States with No Helmet Laws

  • Illinois
  • Iowa

[Source: Michigan.gov, ABATE, AAA, BikersRights.org]

  • Hagador Spartacus

    Yeah. I’m wearing mine.

  • Money hungary governor – More motorcyclers riding in Michigan because the lack of a mandatory helmet law – it all comes down to tourist dollars! MONEY MONEY MONEY… What’s next repealling the seat belt law? Open liquor in the car first seat? What crap… vote the law out along with our governor!!

  • I think everyone should be required to wear a helmet. The only place I have ever been where there was no helmet law was Hawaii. I am from California, and I was in shock to see a guy on a gixxer with no helmet, flip flops and board shorts. Sadly while I was there I witnessed the aftermath of a motorcycle accident on a small road. I asked a witness and she said it was a head injury.

    Helmets save lives. Period.

    -full face helmets, I hate half helmets, but they are better than nothing.


  • Bill

    I’ll always wear a helmet while riding regardless of the law. But, Yeah he is a money hungry governor. Taxed my pension. I didn’t vote for the fool. Won’t vote for him next time either. His next law will give vegetables the right to vote. There should be few more around by then.

  • David

    I belive that the it passed both house and senate, this being the 3rd time. So you blaming the current governer because of your obvious bias is so shallow, shouldnt you also blame the money hungry house and senate 3 times over? Hummmm.

  • Brian

    Thank you Governor for recognizing me as an adult who doesn’t need mommmy taking care of me.

  • Phill

    Um… So at the time of me making this comment, Florida is definitely not on any of the lists… It should be under Age-Restricted… Is Florida no longer part of the United States of America?

  • JD

    Really? Helmets don’t save you from texting, cell phone talking and otherwise distracted soccer moms and young drivers. We need to start writing tickets to the idiots not looking at the road while driving. Period.

  • Russ

    Riders who don’t ride with a helmet would have an empty helmet even when they put one on.

    The passenger on a motorcycle must wear a helmet in Connecticut with it’s no helmet law… that’s so somebody can identity the body of the driver after an accident.

  • Oops. Thanks for caching the omission.

  • mark

    you should have a choice either way to wear one or not the goverment should make these choices for you next they will make mayonaise illigal becuse its dangerous for you its rediculous

  • larry

    I have been riding for over 40 years and out of the last 20 years I have been riding lid free hit by 3 brain died jackwagons and guess what I still here and living fine.I work in Detroit and live in Ohio but now that the helmet law is repealed I will be moving back into Michigan.
    Most of the people that are against the freedom of choice are the ones that don’t ride or don’t know how to ride 2 wheels.

  • Bill DeRuiter

    I’m amazed at the show of anger by some on this matter. It’s nice to see less government involvement in our lives. Guess some really do like Big Brother looking over their shoulder at all times.

  • Charlie

    Thank You, I will now be visiting your Great State with our riding group
    The American Legion Riders Post 1205 Wood Dale, Il.
    We are Americans and we believe in it!!
    Our right of Freedom of Choice!!

  • Alex Kovnat

    Without getting into a palaver about the merits versus demerits of mandatory helmet laws, let me point out that six months or so ago I was browsing magazines at my local pharmacy. My eyes fell on a magazine aimed at those who like to ride horses. I looked through it, and there was an article which strongly recommended that equestrians wear head protection. Another point is, there’s a guy at my workplace who likes to ride a bicycle whenever the weather is reasonable. Not a motorcycle, a moped, or a motorscooter – a bicycle. HE wears head protection!

    OK, I’ve given my observations. Helmet or no helmet? Your choice.

  • J

    Awesome! Not only did the government back off of its nanny-state ways, but now anti-helmet morons can go back to killing themselves.

  • Deacon

    While I advocate wearing a helmet because it’s a good idea, I agree with the governor’s view on this matter. A helmet is merely a piece of equipment, that may or may not save your life if you or someone else does something stupid. However, Rider Training (and increased driver awareness) will directly impact the “doing something stupid” side of the equation. Safe riding is a proactive solution, whereas helmet laws are a reactive safety measure. Which is more effective at preventing accidents in the first place? Helmets do nothing to prevent an accident, barring the occasional bee in the face. They just mitigate (slightly) the effects of the accident.