In The News

In The News

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Michigan Motorcycle Accident Injury Prevention: Helmets! A New Study Reveals our Choices

By Michael Nichols
Categories: Wendy M. Schiller-Nichols

It’s been a half-decade of helmet-free riding for some motorcyclists in Michigan. New numbers show a substantial number of riders are going helmet-free. In Michigan a motorcycle operator is not required to wear a helmet subject to certain conditions. Michigan is one of 31 states that allow motorcycle riders over the age of 21 to ride without a helmet.
In April 2012, Michigan repealed its motorcycle helmet law. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (“IIHS”) and the University of Michigan (“UofM”) conducted a study of motorcycle fatalities and helmet use. The study covered one year prior to the date the helmet law was repealed to one year after.

IIHS and UofM looked at police-reported motorcycle crash deaths and other head injury data. There were 7,235 reports of motorcycle crashes during the two year period analyzed. Of those crashes, 1,094 resulted in trauma center hospitalization. The study compared helmeted crashes and unhelmeted crashes and found that the fatality rate of an unhelmeted crash was 5.4%, almost double the 2.8% fatality rate suffered by helmet wearing motorcyclists involved in crashes.
Of those motorcyclists who required hospitalization in a trauma center, head injuries increased 14% in the year after repeal. The study found a 17% decrease in concussion-related injuries, but 38% increase in skull fractures. Another study in the Journal of Surgery took a look at one Michigan trauma center and found that the average care given to an un-helmeted motorcyclist cost $28,000, which they found to be 32% higher than the average cost of care given to riders who were wearing a helmet at the time of injury. A motorcyclist in Michigan is required to carry at least $20,000 in insurance for first-party medical benefits if they choose to ride without a helmet.

According to the IIHS and UofM study 75% of motorcyclists aged 21 and up still choose to wear a helmet. That means a full 1/4th of the riders who are eligible to go without a helmet choose to feel that wind in their hair … at a great risk. A closed head injury can be one of the most debilitating and life changing tragedies a person and their family can go through. If your friend or loved one suffered from a motorcycle tragedy or an auto accident with a motorcyclist, call Wendy M. Schiller Nichols at 517.432.9000 or email her at wsnichols@nicholslaw.net - find out why she’s collected over 2 million dollars for injured people in her career. Find out why she is committed to results.

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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.