The State House of Representatives voted today to repeal the requirement to wear a helmet while riding on a motorcycle. The vote was 66-37. It was previously approved by the Senate. It now goes to Governor Granholm, who is expected to veto it.
This issue ought to be a simple one for conservatives. If somebody wants to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, he should be able to. But then there's this from the article:
"The Michigan Association of Insurance Agents renewed its opposition Tuesday.
"This so-called freedom of choice issue ends when someone's perceived right not to wear a helmet negatively impacts insurance and medical costs for everyone," the group said."
All too often we hear the argument "well, if you do [unsafe thing] and get hurt, we'll have to pay for your health care." But we don't have to pay for anyone's health care. We choose to. And when I say "we choose to," I mean that the government chooses to spend our money whether we want them to or not.
Similarly, I don't see why insurance companies couldn't charge higher rates to people who don't wear helmets, if they want.
The health care argument is flawed in other ways, as well. It's certainly possible that someone who didn't wear a helmet could have higher health care costs. However, it's also possible that someone who would have required health care after wearing a helmet would die without one and not cost anything. Thus it isn't clear that costs would really increase.
Another argument that I have heard is that while a helmet may protect you more in the event of an accident, it may also make you more likely to have an accident. This is because it restricts your vision and can get hot inside. I don't know whether this is true, but it seems plausible enough.
Motorcycle riders should be able to weigh these risks for themselves. The lesson here is that if government starts out trying to fix your mistakes, it ends up telling you what to do.