Friday, June 23, 2006

Granholm vetos repeal of motorcycle helmet law

Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Anti-freedom wins...for now. From the AP

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Friday vetoed a bill that would have allowed adult motorcyclists to ride without helmets.

Granholm said repealing the mandatory helmet law, which dates back to the 1960s, doesn't make sense.

"The social and economic costs of this legislation simply are too high," Granholm wrote in her veto letter to lawmakers.

The veto disappoints American Bikers Aiming Toward Education of Michigan. The group had successfully urged both the House and Senate to pass the bill, getting the mandatory helmet repeal as close to final approval as it has ever been.

ABATE said Granholm succumbed to false claims and insurance industry pressure.

"Her veto isn't about safety but about money," ABATE legislative director Jim Rhoades said in a statement.

Rhoades said the group would hold Granholm accountable for her veto in the November election and will continue to advance its freedom-of-choice and safety education efforts.

The insurance lobbies said "Jump", and Granholm said "How High!."


TheRealMI said...

This seems like a political mistake by Granholm. Ordinarily I would understand wanting to court the insurance company vote; however, in this case, there is no way she can make headway with that group after proposing to double their tax burden. Now she has succeeded in turning a massive group (probably around 1 million since 496,000 riders were licensed in 2005 and only 44% of riders are licensed) against her. I really don't think non-riders care enough about the issue to have it swing undecideds to her side. The DeVos campaign has also done an amazing job capitalizing on her mistake with an impressive motorcycle coalition building campaign.

Pogo said...

I'm a bit doubtful of your math but I do agree with the conclusion. Virtually no voters outside the motorcycle community care about this so it is unlikely to affect their votes. Inside the motorcycle community even helmet users tend to believe that helmets should be a choice, not a law. For many riders this will be THE issue that decides their vote, particularly with those riders that normally skip voting.

So this is bound to help DeVos. How much? Impossible to say since a lot of motorcyclists probably already vote Republican and many others probably won't vote regardless, as is the nature of many adult residents. But this could throw a few thousand extra votes into the DeVos column and in a close election this could be the difference between winning and losing.

Next up: the Castle Doctrine bill. She has been very quiet about her plans for this measure and could go either way. 2nd amendment supporters are very strong in Michigan and this will definitely be a voting issue for many. On the other hand, the anti-gun people are certainly putting a lot of heavy pressure on her to veto it. This is a tough call, but based on her past actions I'm betting that she decides to firm up her base by vetoing the bill.

wilberboy said...

It’s to bad that she vetoed this bill. All the states that surround ours are pro choice. Bikers will bypass us on trips as a result of this( mostly the UP). Though it may be a small amount of money, non-the less it helps tourism. Only 20 States require you to wear a helmet.

anonymous said...

When traveling to Sturgis from the east or southeast the nicest route is through Michigan, skipping the crowded area in northern IL or the boredom of Iowa. But most out-of-state riders skip Michigan due to the helmet law.

Here is an idea: next year after DeVos is in office and the helmet law is gone, hold a motorcycle rally in MI just before the Sturgis rally to celebrate our new freedom.

farlane said...

Read this post and agreed with it:
I would be for removing the helmet law if taxes were raised to pay for the resulting carnage. Call it "responsible libertarianism". I believe that everyone has the right to do stupid things- as long as we figure out how to pay for it and spread the cost evenly.

I'm all for personal freedom, I'd just rather not pay the health costs for the uninsured person who bonks their melon too hard. Since we don't have health insurance that is either compulsory or universal, statistics say there will be uninsured cases. The 10K of additional insurance would probably pay for the FLOWERS you'd bring a brain trauma patient.

Plus Big Ben is on my Fantasy football team and I am opposed to anything that harms that.

JimG said...

Seems teh Governor could get some support from the Organ Donor lobby by signing the bill. I am having a hard time figuring out why we are so fast to promote this bill, yet leave the mandatory seatbelt bill alone. If we were a society that would leave them on the side of the road with their vegetative state, then no harm done. But we will not, hence in the end, the rest of us pay for this.

MESSA said...

Another example of the government intruding into personal lives.

Helmets, seatbelts....I can't even drink a beer before the Lyons games on Sunday mornings because of an over intrusive government!

BattlerB said...

A quick google search (motorcycle deaths) quickly revealed that states with who have recently repealed their helmet laws (SC, Florida) have seen a marked increase in fatalities immediately following the repeal.

A governor, simply to ingratiate themselves to a small electorate, ensures that more people will die.

As a motorcycle owner, I find it sad that your average biker is not objective, mature or honest enough to acknowledge this simple fact and would rather see more people die just so they can feel the wind in their hair.

This is not a personal freedom issue, it will result in higher insurance costs, it will result in higher heatlh care costs and it will affect everyone, not just the careless rider.

If anything, it's another ploy by the republicans to galvanize their base (gay marriage, flag burning, etc) and influence an election. It's just unfortunate that more are not able to see how easily they are manipulated.

MESSA said...

"A quick google search (motorcycle deaths) quickly revealed that states with who have recently repealed their helmet laws (SC, Florida) have seen a marked increase in fatalities immediately following the repeal."

And this will "result in higher health care costs" exactly how?

Last time I checked, dead people cost $0 for health care.....

BattlerB said...


I would direct you to this website:

specifically FAQ #7 which has objective statistics pointing out the increase in healthcare costs. Mainly no helmets not only increase deaths, but injuries overall, which means more money for health care which means higher premiums plus those uninsured hit our medicaid program and hence higher taxes, something I suspect all associated with this blog would seek to avoid.

I find your comment uninformed and at best juvenile. Please advise at which school you teach so as to ensure I send my children elswhere.

MESSA said...


I admit to being uninformed, and I was asking how increased FATALITIES contribute to higher health care costs. (as per the previous post) I don't see the corelation between motorcycle deaths and higher health is counter-intuitive. Like I said before, the dead don't cost money for health care.

I made no attmpt to quantify costs due to non-fatal injuries.

PS: I'm totally suprised that a liberal like you would threaten to "pull your kid" from a school...(You seem to be promoting more government rules and control on our lives.)

BattlerB said...

Good heavens, getting that nit-picky on anticdents to prove your point: it really is like arguing with a fifteen year old who thinks he understands the world because he's memorized all of Metallica's ' lyrics.

I said that the repeal of helmet laws would increase deaths and costs, not that deaths would increase costs. So my statements stand and are correct. At best, I should have added punctuation to clearly deliniate causality.

And I do support public schools, I would only seek to ensure my children don't end up in your specific school.

As to limiting personal freedoms, I think that is a goal of both political idealogies, they just seek to limit or impose different freedoms or behaviors. We're all guilty here.

But to try and close this, I just don't see how any rational person, after seeing that MORE PEOPLE WILL DIE could argue that the veto was financially motivated, personal freedome issue or even a liberal or conservative issue. She saved hundreds of people from dying each year. It was a decision that I would hope any governor of any party would make.

MESSA said...

My underlying premise is this:

Saving your own life or risking you own life should be your own decision. I always wear a helmet when I ride a motorcycle or ATV, even on private property because I value my head. Some people don't. Just like I used to wear a seatbelt before it was legally required: I value my life, some people don't. I just think the government is overstepping its bounds to make that call over the individual.

PS- I don't get the personal attacks, calling my intellect a 15 year old level and such...can't we argue points without resorting to pointless attacks? I have fun arguing points, but pointless personal attacks to make yourself feel good is really the immature behavior around here.

Rich from SC said...

My parents have a small place on Muskrat Lake that we enjoy visiting. However my wife and I won't be back to Michigan Untill we have freedom of choice. We tend to weaa helmet when traveling, but only spend our tourism dollars in states that let us decide. Iwonder how many helmet law supporters they would have if the saftey Nazis were to try and pass a bill to make it mandatory to wear a helmet in thier car. Afterall,using the NHTSA's own numbers, a larger percentage of people suffer head injuries and die from head injuries in truck and automobile wrecks than do motorcyclists.