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Another US state has rolled back helmet laws, as the idea of freedom of choice is embraced by Michigan governor Rick Snyder

The issue mandatory use of motorcycle helmets has once again reared its head, as motorcyclists who ride in Michigan will now be allowed to cruise around helmet free.

Michigan governor Rick Snyder instigated the new rule, and signed the bill into law, meaning that motorcyclists aged over 21 in the US state can now ride without helmets.

"While many motorcyclists will continue to wear helmets, those who choose not to deserve the latitude to make their own informed judgment," said Snyder.

The pro-choice helmet legislation follows the 'voluntary' theme, where riders can choose to wear a helmet, or not wear one.

The issue is a divisive one, particularly in the USA where some states enforce helmet wearing, and others don’t. If you were to ride across America, you would find yourself with the choice of being able to remove your helmet in some states, while having to wear a lid in others.

All told, less than half (19) of 50 US states legally require a helmet to be worm at all times when riding a motorcycle.

Three states, Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire, have no helmet laws whatsoever, while the rest of the states, including Michigan have stipulations that require riders to undergo advanced rider training or be of a certain age before they can remove their helmets while riding.

We reported on an incident from mid 2011 when a Harley-Davidson rider died from head injuries sustained while protesting his right to ride without a motorcycle helmet; a death that would have been avoided had he been wearing a helmet, said paramedics afterward.

In Australia the various states and territories have adopted the same laws - motorcycle helmets must be worn at all times right across the country. And Australian helmet laws are some of the strictest in the world, meaning that you can be fined for wearing a helmet that is not up to the minimum standard.

Legislation for the mandatory wearing of helmets in Australia have been around for roughly half a century, with the Australian state of Victoria enacting the law in 1960 and most other states followed suit shortly after.

If ride in America in states such as Michigan or Iowa, or are planning to, would you exercise your right to ride without a helmet?

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Published : Monday, 16 April 2012
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