EDITORIAL: Local politicians deserve kudos for helmet law

On Wednesday, Michigan’s Senate passed  a repeal of the law requiring motorcycle riders to wear protective helmets while out on the road.

That’s too bad.

Local legislators, Sen. Darwin Booher and Rep. Phil Potvin, both (in their day) voted against the act in its respective forms.

That’s a good thing. Despite the repeal of the motorcycle helmet law, local legislators acted in good faith and did the right thing for the people of their represented districts.

While Gov. Rick Snyder has yet to sign the repeal into law, he may yet do so.

Time will tell.

The bid to repeal the motorcycle helmet law was loosely based on a weak theory that riders should be able to decide for themselves what is best for them as they hit the roads.

If a motorcyclist wants to feel the wind whipping through their hair, and if wearing a helmet in some way restricts their inherent freedoms, they should be allowed to ride without being encumbered by distracting headgear.

The thing is, it has been proven time and time again that while helmets may not lesson the chance of an accident, they certainly reduce the possibility of death or devastating injury.

“But,” the free-riders cry, “It’s my decision. It’s my right.”

So why can’t automobile drivers motor down the road without seatbelts? Why can’t car drivers sip a beer on the way home ...just one?

The idea is suggested that there is a difference. A motorcycle rider in an accident is a lone victim, while in a car there may be more than one person at risk.

The fact is, laws are passed that not only protect the life of the primary victim, but also protect the people back home — husbands, wives, and kids left caring for a victim of a disastrous head injury.

Truth be known, even on a motorcycle, there simply aren’t individual victims. There never are.

There is always someone else who will need to pick up the pieces - and in the long haul those who pick up the bill for long-term care will be the taxpayers of Michigan.

Helmets save lives. Helmets lessen the possibility of devastating injuries.

Weighing that against the “right” to feel your hair blow free in the wind is no contest.

The Michigan Senate has disappointed in the worst way.

Those voting “Yes” on the repeal decided to pander to a very small base while addressing some mythical “basic right.’

Those legislators who voted against the repeal, like Booher and Potvin, deserve a word of thanks, even if they were outnumbered when it came to a final vote.

They did the right thing — even if it meant going against some delusional party trend.

Now, hopefully the governor will do the right thing as well.