For the first time in more than 30 years, motorcycle enthusiast and member of ABATE (American Bikers Aiming Toward Education) Herb Rials can ride without a helmet and not break the law.
Governor Snyder signed a bill on Thursday repealing the state's mandatory motorcycle helmet law. Those 21 and older can now choose not to wear a helmet if they carry extra insurance and have passed a motorcycle safety course or have had their motorcycle endorsement for at least two years.
"I went riding this morning at 9:30 without a helmet. It was my choice not to do so. I'm a veteran and I believe in freedom and personal choices and I think that's what America needs to get back to," said Rials.
However, insurance companies say the new law could be costly, not just for them but for all Michigan motorists.
"The repeal of the helmet law requirement is going to expose motorcyclists to a lot more dangers. Our Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning estimates the loss of 30 additional lives each year, about 127 incapacitating injuries in addition," said Pete Kuhnmuench from the Insurance Institute of Michigan.
According to Kuhnmuench, that translates to $129 million in additional costs, which will be compensated mostly through higher insurance rates.
If that happens, Rials argues motorcyclists shouldn't be blamed.
"They [insurance companies] want to use that as an excuse they can. No more than they can say you know it's a sunny day so we're raising the rates. They may use us for an excuse but they shouldn't."