One year after relaxing its motorcycle helmet law, Michigan has seen a 22 percent rise in medical insurance claim costs associated with cycle crashes. The data is clear: When helmets are off, injuries and death increase.
The average medical claim rose to $7,257 in the wake of the change, according to a new study by the Highway Loss Data Institute, an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The revised rule eliminated the helmet requirement for riders over 21, as long as they had completed a rider safety course and carried sufficient insurance coverage ($20,000 in medical coverage). Helmet use immediately declined as a result.
Up until the law was changed, a University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study found that 98 percent of riders involved in crashes were wearing helmets. That number dropped to 74 percent after the law was changed.