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Ralph Nader > Special Features > Letter to Governor Granholm on Motorcycle Helmet Law

The Honorable Jennifer M. Granholm
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909

I am writing to urge you to veto SB 297, legislation repealing the all-rider motorcycle helmet law. Public opinion strongly favors all-rider motorcycle helmet use laws. Last week’s crash involving NFL star Ben Roethlisberger demonstrated the recklessness of not wearing a helmet and the crucial role of state laws in requiring helmet use for everyone. He now says he will always use a helmet. Emotional opposition from some helmet haters ignores fundamental respect for life, as well as taxpayer and state health care burdens which occur without these laws in place. We have both seen the research. Statistics show, undeniably, a dramatic increase of motorcycle fatalities and serious injuries in all states having repealed this legislation. It is more than disheartening that only 20 states currently require all motorcycle riders to use helmets. Governors of states with all rider helmet laws should stand steadfast in their support of these laws knowing that they are saving lives and public dollars. Signing this bill into law would be an abandonment of enlightened public policy in this nation relating to trauma prevention.

Speculative loss of business and tourism does not remotely compare to the tragic loss of life, agonizing permanent disability and staggering financial obligations suffered by states that do not adopt all-rider motorcycle helmet use laws. That saving lives and injuries are always good for the economy is an assertion beyond question.

SB 297 is fiscally irresponsible and cheapens the value placed on human life. I hope you will not even waiver in your decision to veto this legislation and come out as a stalwart defender of lives on the public highways. In doing so I am confident you will set a positive example for other elected officials. Oftentimes, as chief executive you are faced with difficult decisions. However, this decision is easy. Veto SB 297. There is enough carnage on the roads and grief among families without adding to that tragic toll.


Ralph Nader