Nation/World

Injury costs rise after helmet law eased

WASHINGTON – The average medical claim from a motorcycle crash rose by more than one-fifth last year in Michigan after the state stopped requiring all riders to wear helmets, according to an insurance industry study.

For more than 40 years, Michigan required all motorcycle riders to wear helmets. State legislators changed the law last year so that only riders younger than 21 must wear helmets. The average insurance payment on a motorcycle injury claim was $5,410 in the two years before the law was changed, and $7,257 after it was changed – an increase of 34 percent, the study by the Highway Loss Data Institute found.

After adjusting for the age and type of motorcycle, rider age, gender, marital status, weather and other factors, the actual increase was about 22 percent relative to a group of four comparative states.

While other studies have shown an increase motorcycle deaths after states eliminate or weaken mandatory helmet requirements, the industry study is the first to look specifically at the effect of repealing helmet requirements on the severity of injuries.



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