Here we go again with helmet repeal

Guest Editorial
We have had praise for state lawmakers this year, who have gotten much accomplished precisely because they moved past the gridlock and time-wasting issues that have clogged previous legislative agendas in Lansing.

So, when it comes to the state’s motorcycle helmet law, why go back to the same old, same old?

A repeal of the helmet law moved closer to reality Wednesday when the state House easily approved a bill. The legislation goes to the Senate, where it is likely to pass; senators approved a similar bill previously.

Is repealing the helmet law a priority for the state? It certainly would not create the jobs that a second Detroit-to-Canada bridge would, yet that legislation bogged down in committee this month. It would not have the broad impact of reforming the workers’ compensation or auto insurance systems; at least those weighty issues are still alive and being debated.

No, the helmet-law repeal is the pet project of a small, vocal, libertarian lobby that has glued itself to this cause for years. They have done so despite a mountain of evidence that they merely are putting their own lives — and the public’s money — in jeopardy.

The medical community has made clear that helmets save lives and lessen the severity of bikers’ injuries. Michigan requires seat belts for people riding in cars and trucks. Helmets are no less a basic bit of protection.

Even if there wasn’t a humanitarian or moral case for helmets, there is a financial one. The injuries that motorcycle riders would sustain without helmets would be treated with money that all drivers pay into the Michigan Catastrophic Care Association. One person’s private decision has public consequences.

The only consolation so far is that Gov. Rick Snyder appears apathetic about the issue. He has not said if he will sign or veto any legislation.

Still, a governor who is as concerned about dollars and cents as Snyder should see the foolishness of this proposed repeal. We strongly urge him to veto it, if necessary, just as his predecessor, former governor Jennifer Granholm, did.