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The North Wind

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The North Wind

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Chloe Everson
Chloe Everson
Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Chloe and I am a fourth-year senior here at NMU. I am a Public Relations major and have always enjoyed sports. I love being outdoors, shopping, and drinking coffee at all hours of the...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan PoeApril 12, 2024

Michigan helmet law may be repealed

Wearing a helmet may soon become a choice for some motorcyclists with Michigan legislature’s recent consideration of repealing the motorcycle helmet law.

The current law, which has been in effect for over four decades, requires all Michigan motorcyclists to wear a crash helmet that meets the Department of State police regulations.

Under Senate Bill 291, riders 21 years or older who have had a motorcycle endorsement on their license for at least two years or have passed a safety course would not be required by the state to wear a helmet.

Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-Mich., sponsor of the bill, spoke about the current helmet law infringing on personal freedoms in a press release.

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“If someone is 21 and has received the proper training, the choice to wear a motorcycle helmet or not should be left up to them,” Pavlov. “Responsible adults can make their own decisions.”

Supporters of the bill argue many motorcyclists in surrounding states not requiring adult riders to wear helmets, do not vacation in Michigan once they learn of the mandatory helmet law.

Pavlov hopes the bill will increase Michigan tourism by encouraging riders to make their own safety choices.

“It is estimated that Michigan turns away thousands of bikers each year because we don’t let them decide for themselves whether to wear a helmet,” Pavlov said. “These riders go instead to surrounding states. Thousands of bikers turned away means millions in tourism dollars lost.”

Senior NMU student and motorcycle enthusiast Ian Nankervis has mixed feelings about the helmet law possibly being repealed.

Nankervis agrees the new bill may bring more money to the state through motorcycle tourism but feels wearing a helmet is necessary to remain safe on the road.

“It would bring a bunch of new riders into the state, even though having to wear a helmet is a silly reason not to come here,” Nankervis said.

Proper safety equipment is especially important for Nankervis, whose uncle died in an ATV three-wheeler accident.

Nankervis said his life might have been saved if he had been wearing a helmet during the crash.

“If they do repeal the current law I’m still going to wear one because I do it to feel safe,” Nankervis said. “I’ll always wear a helmet; it’s the first thing I put on.”

According to Richard Rovin, a neurosurgeon at Marquette General Hospital, there is a large amount of data showing helmets decrease the risk of serious head and spine injury if a motorcyclist were to get in a collision.

The new bill will also require motorcyclists choosing to ride without helmets have $20,000 of insurance.

Rovin said when it comes to a serious injury, this is not enough.

“While this may cover more minor injuries, if a person needs neurosurgical intervention, $20,000 will disappear really quickly,” Rovin said. “Especially if there is significant brain or spinal cord damage that amount of money will hardly make a dent in a medical bill.”

Many bill supporters, such as Pavlov, expect the bill to be signed into law by Gov. Snyder within the next two weeks.

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