Reactions to new helmet study mixed among bikers
Updated: Wednesday, April 10 2013, 08:22 PM EDT
LANSING, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A shocking new study showed that more motorcyclists are getting killed on state roads after the Governor repealed the state's helmet law last year.
The University of Michigan study estimates there would have been 26 fewer deaths and 49 fewer injuries last year if Michigan had not changed its law.
The study also shows that not wearing a helmet doubles the risk of fatality and increases the injury risk by 60 percent.
While many say they aren't surprised by the data, it still boils down to choice.
Those for the law say they know the risks, and those against say a helmet is a lifesaving tool, but both agree that wearing one is more about preventing injury than death.
As bikers in Kalamazoo prepare for the warmer weather, anxious to hit the open road, many are going without the helmet.
Despite the new numbers, it's not changing the minds of those people happy that Michigan's helmet law was repealed at this time last year.
"For me, riding without a helmet makes me more aware," Lummis said. "I can see better and hear better."
Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller says he has ridden motorcycles for years, and pushes for the safety a helmet brings.
"The helmet is a great way to mitigate some of the injuries," Fuller said.
Sheriff Fuller does add that both fatalities in Kalamazoo County since the law took effect occured while the riders were wearing helmets.
He feels the law is more likely to prevent serious injury than death.
Fuller says the University of Michigan study "proves there is a real good mreason to wear a helmet."
Others, unfazed by the data, continue to prepare for the summer season, and maintain a helmet can do more harm than good.
Sheriff Fuller says that bikers are at more risk now than ever before, with distracted drivers on roadways talking or texting while driving.