Helmet Law Protects Riders, Michigan Motorcycle Accident Attorney Says

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With legislators poised to repeal Michigan’s helmet law, Bloomfield personal injury lawyer Thomas L. Stroble highlights safety and economic costs of lifting requirement.

I understand and respect motorcycle enthusiasts’ concerns about their personal liberty. But my experience as a personal injury attorney has convinced me that the dangers of not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle are simply too great.

A proposal to roll back Michigan’s helmet law is once again making headway at the legislature, but it remains a bad idea for motorcyclists’ safety, says Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer Thomas L. Stroble.

“I understand and respect motorcycle enthusiasts’ concerns about their personal liberty,” says Stroble, founder of the Bloomfield Hills personal injury law firm, Stroble Law Firm, P.C. “But my experience as a personal injury attorney has convinced me that the dangers of not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle are simply too great.”

Two different versions of a helmet law repeal bill are before legislators this session. Senate Bill No. 291 would allow motorcycle riders age 21 and older to go without a helmet after they meet certain criteria. A House version would add a mandate that bikers buy $20,000 in personal liability insurance if they choose to go without a helmet.

Political analysts predict that a repeal of Michigan’s helmet law has enough support in the legislature to pass. It’s less clear what would happen if it landed on Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

“The governor has not taken a public position on the repeal of the motorcycle helmet law, and there is concern about what he will do with the bill if it passes the Legislature,” says Stroble, who regularly represents Oakland County motorcycle crash victims.

Stroble cited a recent editorial in the The Daily Tribune, whose writers advocated for the Michigan motorcycle helmet law to stay in force.

“It’s a disaster waiting to happen, including, we’re sure, a disaster for some of the fiercest proponents of the legislation: bikers who will be killed or suffer grievous head injuries as a result of their hard-won freedom,” the editors of the southeast Oakland County newspaper wrote.

Stroble, the Bloomfield Hills motorcycle crash attorney, pointed to statistics in the editorial that show the repeal of motorcycle helmet laws in other states have led to steep increases in both fatalities and economic losses.

“The House’s proposal that motorcyclists who ride without a helmet must buy $20,000 of extra insurance is a drop in the bucket when you consider how much it costs to treat someone seriously injured in a motorcycle accident,” Stroble said.

He added that independent studies have repeatedly shown that helmets significantly reduce the potential for serious head injuries in motorcycle wrecks, contradicting some riders’ arguments that helmets are ineffective.

Stroble also noted that insurance companies often argue that a motorcyclist was to blame for an accident if the biker was not wearing a helmet. There is also anecdotal evidence that juries return smaller verdicts for motorcyclists who rode without a helmet, even though jurors are not supposed to consider such evidence.

Reports show that money is one of the key factors in Gov. Snyder’s analysis of whether to sign the helmet law repeal if it reached his desk. He has highlighted concerns that the costs related to more injuries could fall in the lap of Michigan’s citizens. He told The Detroit News that there are “studies on both sides of the question.”

Stroble said wearing a helmet is smart from a safety standpoint regardless of the economic arguments. He also advised anyone who has been injured in a motorcycle accident — regardless whether they were wearing a helmet or not — to contact a qualified attorney who has experience with the complexities of motorcycle crash cases.

About The Stroble Law Firm, P.C.
The Stroble Law Firm, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which represents car accident victims and their families throughout the state of Michigan, including Macomb County, Oakland County, Warren, Clinton Township, Sterling Heights, St. Clair Shores, Mount Clemens, Utica, Roseville, Troy, Farmington Hills, Waterford, Southfield, Pontiac, Birmingham, Rochester Hills, West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills. The firm’s personal injury practice areas also include truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, birth injuries, slip and falls, dog bites and wrongful death cases. To learn more about The Stroble Law Firm, P.C. call (248) 454-0800 or (888) 454-0801 or use the firm’s online contact form.

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