LANSING—The state Senate voted Tuesday to allow certain motorcycle riders to choose whether or not to wear a helmet when riding, said bill sponsor Sen. Phil Pavlov.
Senate Bill 291 would exempt anyone at least 21 years old from wearing a helmet while operating or riding a motorcycle if they have had a motorcycle endorsement on their license for at least two years or have passed a motorcycle safety course.
“If someone is 21 and has received the proper training, the choice to wear a motorcycle helmet or not should be left to them,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “Responsible adults can make their own decisions.”
Pavlov said about half of the motorcycle crashes in Michigan occurred with a rider who had not taken proper training or acquired the state endorsement.
“Requiring this training should decrease the number of crashes involving motorcycles,” Pavlov said.
Repealing the motorcycle helmet law is expected to bolster Michigan tourism, the state’s second-largest industry. None of the states surrounding Michigan—Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio—require adult riders to wear helmets.
“It is estimated that Michigan turns away thousands of bikers each year because we don’t let them decide for themselves whether to wear a helmet,” Pavlov said. “These riders go instead to surrounding states. Thousands of bikers turned away means millions in tourism dollars lost.”
SB 291 now heads to the House of Representatives for further consideration.