Motorcycle helmet use steady, despite law repeal

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LANSING, MICH. (WLNS)- From 2014 to 2015, motorcyclist deaths increased by 29 percent, according to Michigan State Police. And Insurance Institute of Michigan’s Lori Conarton thinks the 2012 helmet repeal is to blame.

“Unfortunately, it seems like there is a big increase in fatalities since the year before the helmet law was repealed.”

But American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, or ABATE of Michigan, thinks it’s more important to prevent the crash altogether.

“We all should be looking at distracted driving… motorcycle awareness, and preventing the accidents in the first place,” argues Herb Rials, a member of the ABATE board of directors, who questions the effectiveness of helmets.

“If you get hit by a two ton car, which a lot of people overlook all the time, you’re going to get hurt.”

When it comes to DOT rated helmets there are half helmets that only cover the top half of your head, then there’s a mix of sizes all the way up to the full face which protects the jaw line.

These made a life-saving difference for some, including James Lozada, who described his crash.

“It cracked… right along the side here,” his helmet, that is.

“Had I not had the gear, I would’ve… probably not made it.”

Lonny Thayer, floor manager at Full Throttle Motorsports, says some customers will be more or less cautious depending on the ride.

“People that choose not to wear them, tend to not wear them in in-town rides.”

“…the roads… their traveling… Could be the weather,” adds Graydon Bell, general manager at Capitol Harley-Davidson.

Plus, he says, even as a helmet becomes safer, bikers could still be increasing their risk.

“With the full face, though, it does cut down on your peripheral vision.”

A gamble either way when you hit the open road.

And as recently as last Friday, state police say a motorcyclist and a passenger in Saline Township died on the road-neither was wearing a helmet.

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