According to The Detroit News, an insurance industry study found that the average medical claim resulting from a motorcycle crash rose by more than one-fifth in Michigan last year, following the state's decision to no longer require most riders to wear helmets. For 40 years, the Mitten State required all motorcycle riders to wear helmets, but now only mandates this for people under the age of 21.
"The cost per injury claim is significantly higher after the law changed than before, which is consistent with other research that shows riding without a helmet leads to more head injuries," David Zuby, chief research officer for the Highway Loss Data Institute, told The Detroit News. When the institute's study was adjusted for the age/type of motorcycle, age of rider, gender, martial status, weather and other factors, the rate increase was found to be 22 percent, compared relatively to four surrounding states (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin).
Of course, there's always the other side of the story, which is that even if a state's legislation does not require a rider to wear a helmet, that doesn't mean people automatically dismiss the fact that this is a key safety factor. "No one is forcing anyone to ride without a helmet," Jeff Hennie, vice president of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, told the News.