Michigan had an 18% increase in biker fatalies from 2011 to 2012

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01 topshot x helmet law michigan

Michigan has seen an 18% increase in biker deaths between 2011 and 2012 since removing the mandatory helmet law in April 2012.

The Michigan State say that a year isn’t enough time to determine whether removing the helmet law was the cause of increased motorcycle deaths. Last year, Michigan had an unusual summer — it was hotter and drier than normal with higher temperatures and caused an increase bikers riding.

In 2012, there were 129 biker deaths compared to the 109 deaths in 2011. Whether those deaths could had been prevented by helmets is unknown.

  • Random

    129 deaths is only 2 more than their previous highs from 2004-2011: http://publications.michigantrafficcrashfacts.org/2011/10yr_9.pdf

    • http://twitter.com/bloodfalcons motoguru.

      Precisely. Repealing the helmet law only evened out the ratio from helmets to no helmets a bit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003526070112 Facebook User

    Like the saying goes, if you think you don’t need to wear a helmet then you probably don’t

    • nick2ny

      If you can’t handle the responsibility of deciding for yourself whether or not to ride with a helmet, you probably shouldn’t be riding a motorcycle.

      Are you implying that the perceived safety increase of wearing a helmet is less than the actual safety increase? Because if the perceived increase in safety is greater than the actual increase (as has been my experience), then riding with a helmet is actually more dangerous than riding without one, if you account for the changes in a rider’s actions that result from being inside a helmet.

      Without a helmet, I’ll ride maybe 30 mph. With one, the sky is the limit.

      • tbowdre

        he probably meant, if you are ignorant enough to think you do not need a helmet when riding a motorcycle, the planet is better off with out you. At least that was my interpretation. stupid hurts

        • nick2ny
      • roma258

        I’m gonna go ahead and assume that smacking your head on pavement at 30 mph can do plenty of damage.

        • nick2ny

          Of course it can. Nobody is arguing about that.

          • orthorim

            Definitely true about ABS – I go way faster, especially in the wet, knowing ABS will save my butt.

            About helmets, not so clear cut. I might go slower from the wind buffeting alone but I don’t think I am taking more risks thanks to the helmet. I don’t want to crash even with a helmet on, thankyouverymuch.

            On the flipside I’ve seen a couple of deadly traffic incidents here in SE Asia, and all of them were basically just some guy falling off his scooter and on his head, and seriously injured and / or dead, and those could have been prevented easily with a helmet.

            Last accident I saw a guy pulled out onto an intersection and got hit by a car at a very low speed. Just a bump, really. With a helmet on, he’d just have walked off, no harm done. As it was, he was bleeding from his head, semi-conscious, getting carried onto the sidewalk by bystanders and waiting for the ambulance.

            • http://www.facebook.com/jay.stevens.5682944 Jay Stevens

              “Definitely true about ABS – I go way faster, especially in the wet, knowing ABS will save my butt.”

              That is stupid. ABS MAY save your butt, but you are betting your life on “may”. There are plenty of unavoidable risks associated with motorcycle riding. Why search for avoidable risks?

          • http://www.facebook.com/jay.stevens.5682944 Jay Stevens

            You are reaching with most of your “what if’s”.

            Be honest. If you are over 21 and you choose not to wear a helmet FOR WHATEVER REASON, it is your choice – and responsibility. Just do not ask me to help with any medical bills.

            Me? I am anti-manditory helmet laws, but I will be wearing a helmet every time I leave my driveway.

      • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

        I love it when you bring some intelligent thoughts to these discussions.

      • Mark Desrosiers

        You make a lot more coherent arguments than most people who don’t like helmet laws, but I’ve always found those, “Oh, I’m just going around the block/giving a friend a ride home” trips to be the most dangerous. Just look at Wes; by all accounts, a moderately competent motorcyclists, but even he took a tumble just taking a left hand turn in the city and hitting some unseen glass. Oil spills, old ladies in Buicks, drunk pedestrians; all of these dangers can strike at anytime, and they don’t care if you’re going around the block or across the country. I know, helmets are annoying sometimes, and I’m definitely guilty of riding in minimal gear, but the knowledge that a 10 mph get-off could turn me in a vegetable and a burden on my family for decades makes dealing with the helmet-hair ok. And helmet laws send that message very clearly, and give an extra monetary incentive to wear one.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jay.stevens.5682944 Jay Stevens

        There are a couple of things happening here. An older, more experienced rider is more likely to be able to afford the price premium of ABS and and older, more experienced rider is likely to have fewer accidents.

      • SJ_Phil

        You’ll ride at 30 MPH? That’s laughable!

        • nick2ny

          I know it’s not fast, but it’s the speedlimit of countless residential roads and ALL of New York City besides the highways.

  • Bruce Steever

    Anybody got a spare dead horse?

    • Case

      You make me miss the paywall.

      • Bruce Steever

        I make me miss the paywall.

  • http://twitter.com/GaneshBell Ganesh Bell

    why did you choose to run this picture of a kid and dad helmet-less to associate with this “news”

    • Bill

      Because he wants to show that same as religion, the adult can choose for himself but not for the kid!

  • Speedo007

    What? helmets can help protect from fatal head injuries???

    • http://hangaround.tumblr.com/ hangaround

      Nah, they just look bitchin’ and they hide our ugly mugs.

    • Speedo007

      I think they need to redo these graphics with a head instead of a helmet.

      • http://notthemessiah.net/ Dean

        Actually, they should do a helmet with that graphic.

      • Guest

        It should be noted that Speedo007, has added up everything on the front of the helmet save the 0.4% disk on the top of the head to reach his 67.1%. Everything, including upper and lower forehead, shield, temple, as well as jaw.

        Looking at a helmet like this one (attached), I’d say that you could count parts of the 19.4% and the 15.2% chin areas, and perhaps part of the shield area (again, more information would be needed). But 67.1%? Are you trying to mislead other commenters here?

        • nick2ny

          Speedo007, I’ve highlighted the portions you added up for your 67.1% figure.

  • DucMan

    Found one:

    [url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/90414387@N04/8300912835/][img]http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8353/8300912835_f8ed341667.jpg[/img][/url]
    [url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/90414387@N04/8300912835/]deadhorse[/url] by [url=http://www.flickr.com/people/90414387@N04/]Shooter158[/url], on Flickr

  • DucMan

    Found one:

  • Guest

    This is my helmet after I crashed wearing it. I sometimes wonder how would my face look if I hadnt been wearing it.

    • Justin Henry

      you’d probably find out how your skull looks if you hadn’t had a helmet.

  • Khali

    This is my helmet after I crashed wearing it. I sometimes wonder how would my face look if I hadnt been wearing a helmet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/raphaelsassi Raphael Sassi

    I can’t determine what actual point of this article is. Why not write it when there’s actually a testable data pool from which you can determine causality? Or were you just chomping at the bit to make fun of FZ riders? The low hanging fruit.

  • TraderJoesSecrets

    http://publications.michigantrafficcrashfacts.org/2011/10yr_9.pdf

    User ‘Random’ notes that the recent total of 129 is only marginally higher than the previous peak years of 2007-8. But there’s more to glean from the available stats. Note that the number of total accidents was far higher around 2008, which was the last year of the recent ‘motorcycle boom’. That’s not surprising; the first few months on a motorcycle are far more dangerous than subsequent seasons, and the longer you ride, the safer you get (either because Darwin’s theory’s taken effect, or because you’ve learned from close calls.) The H4L post gives us fatalities but not gross number of accidents for the most recent year. What we want to see is the probability that an accident will result in a fatality. Food for thought: In a decade of steady improvements in tire technology, and widespread adoption of ABS and now traction control, not to mention parallel improvements in cars that should result in fewer crashes; and at a time when gasoline prices are at highs resulting in fewer miles being put on the fleet, which should also be associated with fewer crashes, fatalities seem to be up. As noted, we also need to confirm that fatalities are up as the result of head injuries, but let’s (full)face (helmet) it: it’s looking as if ABATE is poorly named, at least as far as traffic fatalities go.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jay.stevens.5682944 Jay Stevens

      “That’s not surprising; the first few months on a motorcycle are far more dangerous…”.

      Something like 2/3′s of all accident happen in the first 6 months of riding OR on a new or borrowed cycle. In the first case, the rider loses situational awareness because he is wrapped up in the mechanics of learning how to ride. That makes a good case for learning on a dirt bike away from traffic.

  • Matthew Mason

    no one is looking at the bright side, think of how much faster the organ transplant waiting list is in Michigan now! Let the dumb people part with their kidneys.

    on a side not it is kinda funny how the organ donation box is like 20 times bigger on a motorcycle permit form at the dmv than a normal drivers license (at least in ny).

  • nick2ny

    Oh no!

    • http://www.facebook.com/davidabl.blankenhorn Davidabl Blankenhorn

      If you chose to ride without a helmet, ok, but you should have to insure for it.
      And the state should issue you a special “Helmet-optional” license plate.
      It should be called a Darwin plate..if you’re insured for a helmet less passenger you’d get a double Darwin..

  • RT Moto

    It isn’t just about crashing with or without a helmet on. How many times have you had small debris (rocks/bugs/random debris) hit your full face helmet while on the road? At times I have been hit in the head with such force that it has me asking myself what would of happened had I been wearing a half/quarter helmet. The fact is that you take a chance riding every time you hop on a bike, so there is no need to increase that risk by choosing to not wear a helmet. I suppose the choice is up to you (in some states), but I will take the lid every time.

  • yipY

    Most deaths in M/C crashes are from massive chest injuries.A helmet may mean you stay conscious long enough to experience the bleeding out or a crush shock death.

  • sevier3

    …or you might need a helmet just as that passing bird changes direction in front of you at 100+mph ….

    • http://www.facebook.com/dashjae Dash Stewart-Wild

      lol! That is an awesome pic.

  • nick2ny

    My favorite comment here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jay.stevens.5682944 Jay Stevens

    But, but these kind of accidents happen to someone else.

  • SJ_Phil

    I’ve lived in Calif. for most of my life. Many years ago the State laws changed and helmets were mandatory. I didn’t like it one little bit! Thought big gov’t was getting involved in my personal decision making, telling ME what to do. How dare they!

    Then, the stats started coming in. MC deaths went down. Major head trauma’s went down. Then, I crashed at high speed. I bounced around like a BB in a boxcar. My full face helmet was smashed. I’m alive and feeling fine (now)…b/c I wore the dreaded the helmet!

    So, in regards to this specific article…I’m left wondering why the writer went to a “helmets only” argument and left out the other meaningful parts of a more “complete” analysis…an important piece of the “total experience” equation like measuring all falls (determine the total pop.), measuring all falls with injuries, (determines all injuries as a result of falls pop.), +/- major head trauma’s, +/- riders on the road (to get per capita data), +/- age of those riders (going to experience), +/- traffic violations issued from a crash event (goes to fault identification) that would demonstrate “other stats” correlations, if they exist.