The insurance industry calculates risk.
To that end, the industry thrives on data in its continuing effort to calculate more precisely.
A new insurance industry study reinforces our argument that relaxing motorcycle helmet laws — which failed during the recent Missouri legislative session — would be detrimental to public safety and public costs.
The Associated Press reported the average medical claim from a motorcycle crash increased by more than one-fifth after the state of Michigan relaxed its regulations.
A change that required only riders younger than 21 to wear helmets resulted in a 22 percent hike in claims in comparison to four similar states: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. The study was conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute.
We commend Missouri lawmakers for rejecting a law similar to the Michigan statute. The study quantifies common sense.
Nevertheless, motorcycle riders in Missouri fared well during the recent legislative session.
Approved legislation included bills to:
- Declare May as Motorcycle Awareness Month, an observance to promote road safety.
- Permit brake lights to change brightness, but not for more than five seconds, to create a visual effect designed to help drivers identify motorcycles.
- Prohibit law enforcement personnel from establishing checkpoints specifically aimed at motorcycle riders.
These measures promote safety and/or fairness.
We concede the state’s public safety laws remain inequitable; helmets are required for motorcycle riders, but the seat belt law for motorists is a secondary offense.
The solution, however, is not to relax the helmet law. It is to upgrade the seat belt law to a primary offense.
Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.