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Motorcycle safety

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It’s been four years since the repeal of a Michigan law that required motorcycle riders to wear helmets – an effort that was led by American Bikers Aiming Toward Education (ABATE) of Michigan.

Vince Consiglio is the president of ABATE of Michigan and has averaged 25,000 miles a year on his motorcycle since 1974. He believes wearing a helmet should be a choice made by motorcyclists.

“If you are riding at 50 miles an hour and you hit [a car] head-on,” Consiglio said on Stateside. “There’s no helmet that can protect you.”

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An annual report by the Governor's Highway Safety Association finds that motorcyclist traffic fatalities rose 10% across the nation between 2014 and 2015, and the increase was substantially greater in Michigan.

Fatal motorcycle accidents rose 23% in Michigan.

Co-author Richard Retting says there could be many factors responsible, including better weather in 2015, along with more vehicles of all kinds on the highways.

But he says Michigan's repeal of its mandatory motorcycle helmet law in 2012 very likely was a factor, too.

Morguefile

The number of motorcycle deaths in Michigan in 2013 was almost the same as the year before. During the same period, motorcycle fatalities nationwide dropped 7%.

These are the preliminary findings of a report issued Tuesday by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Dr.  James Hedlund, a former senior official with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, authored the report.