Michigan Motorcycle Helmet Law: What You Need to Know

Michigan motorcyle helmet law

In 2012, Michigan’s legislative changed a 45-year-old law that required motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.

How has that legislative change impacted Michigan drivers and motorcycle riders since that law was passed?

Senior author, Dr. Carols Rodriguez, wanted to find out. He decided to conduct a study after he started noticing an abrupt change at Spectrum Health Hospital in Grand Rapids.

For his study, the study team looked at records for patients admitted to Spectrum Health Hospital and at state transportation department records of fatalities at crash scenes for the motorcycle season from April to November.

The study team used this period of time from 2011, the year before the law was repealed, and compared it for the same period for the following years – 2012, 2013, and 2014.

According to this specific study, there were a few key findings that were reported by Reuters.

  • Among the accident victims brought to the hospital, the proportion of riders who had not been wearing a helmet when from 7 – 28 percent.
  • The percentage of riders who died at the crash scene rose from 14% to 68% after the law was changed.
  • 3% of motorcycle riders brought to the hospital wearing helmets died, compared to the 10% of the riders that were not wearing helmets.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also conducted a study. They found that approximately five times as many deaths occur for no helmet bikers in states that have less restrictive helmet laws, as reported by Fox News.

Rebecca Neumann, an epidemiologist and the study’s leader stated, “These laws save lives.”

The Argument Against Wearing Helmets in Michigan

In contrast, some have argued that wearing a helmet can restrict vision. Others have said that they believe more tourism will come to the state of Michigan and that Michigan has lost millions of dollars each year because of Michigan’s prior helmet laws.

Michigan is not the only state that allows riders to go without a helmet. They are one of 28 other states that have a similar law. Michigan upheld the helmet law to “comply with U.S. Department of Transportation requirements for federal funds. That requirement is no longer in place.”

There are some requirements for a motorcyclist to go without a helmet. In Michigan, the motorcyclist must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have no-fault medical coverage of at least $20,000
  • Have a motorcycle endorsement for the past two years or pass a motorcycle safety test.

Many have argued that these requirements are hard to enforce. It is clear that all drivers need to be aware of the implication of what this means.

What does the Michigan Motorcycle Helmet Law mean for drivers?

When driving in Michigan, it is important to realize that this law impact all drivers.

When a crash happens between a motorcycle and a car, truck, or van, regardless if the motorcyclist is wearing a helmet or not, the motorcycle rider can still sue the driver of the other vehicle if that driver is at fault.

With the potential for accidents of having a more serious injury or death because of a lack of helmets, it can raise the possibility of punishment, fines, and substantial lawsuits.


If you have been in a car accident with a motorcycle and you need an experienced defense attorney, look no further. The David J. Kramer Law Firm PLLC has experience in diligently protecting our clients’ rights. Please call today.

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