The original helmet law in Michigan was enacted in 1969. It required all persons to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Unfortunately, in April 2012, Governor Snyder repealed the 30-year motorcycle helmet law, no longer requiring anyone over the age of 21 to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. With this change in law, unfortunately, there has also been an increase in the number of motorcycle crash fatalities across the state. The Michigan State Police reported that motorcycle fatalities increased from 5% in 2011 to nearly 43% in 2012 when motorcyclists were not required to wear a helmet.
So what is it that makes helmets so protective? Your helmet is made of four basic components: an outer shell, an impact-absorbing liner, comfort padding, and a good retention system. Each of these layers, have their own individual safety mechanisms that will ultimately protect your head from any serious damage if you are involved in a motorcycle crash. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that the risk of a motorcycle fatality decreases by 37% when a motorcyclist uses a helmet.
Motorcyclists involved in motorcycle accidents, while not wearing a helmet—if they survive—typically suffer from a traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a person experiences an external physical force to the head, as well as a loss of consciousness, amnesia (the person cannot remember the crash), skull fracture, traumatic seizure, and/or abnormal brain scan. That external physical force causes your brain to move violently within your skull, pushing through the protective fluid surrounding your brain and slamming into the sides of your skull. These actions will ultimately result in injury such as a brain bleed. Remember, you cannot ever fully recover from a brain injury!
Stay safe by:
- Never riding your motorcycle after drinking
- Don’t let other friends ride their motorcycles while impaired
- Always wear protective clothing—helmet, long pants, motorcycle jacket, gloves, etc.
- Avoid Tailgating
- Maintain a safe speed
- Be cautious of road conditions
If you don’t ride a motorcycle, make sure you are paying attention to motorcyclists around you while driving. Many motorcycle accidents involve cars that just didn’t see the motorcyclist when they pulled out in front of him/her.