Page 12 - Volume 69, Number 4
P. 12

Impact of Changes in Michigan Motorcycle Helmet Law
By William J. Meurer, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Please note: the opinions in this article represent my own and do not represent the opinions of the University of Michigan or any entity which provides grants for my research. My research focuses on stroke and other forms of brain injury but has no direct relation to motorcycle injuries.
Growing up in Ohio, I quizzically observed many motorcyclists riding without helmets. When I saw these folks it brought to mind the “rugged individualists” from the earlier days of our nation that I read about in history class. Then I went to medical school and did a residency in Emergency Medicine (both in trauma centers in Ohio). A new name came to mind for these people: morons. When I moved to Michigan in 2006, I no longer observed this and I thought: what an intelligent state I have relocated to!
Then, in 2012, the Michigan legislature repealed the law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. Since legislators are term limited, they appeared to be fine with kicking the costs of the long-term care of head injured crash victims down the road to be covered by Medicaid. I have some small degree of sympathy for these legis- lators, since the folks from ABATE (American Bikers Aiming Toward Education - A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments) who advocated year after year for repeal, would basically hassle them almost every day. The folks from ABATE can be quite annoying, so I can see why they passed the bill – so they wouldn’t have to see those guys or talk to them anymore. Since medical providers have better things to do during the day than hassle legislators, our voices were not as loud and previous governors had been wise enough to veto similar
12 Washtenaw County Medical Society BULLETIN OCTOBER / NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017

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