LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation that will give many Michigan motorcyclists the option of riding without a helmet.
The Republican governor announced Friday that he signed the bill a day earlier, ending a multi-year effort to change state law. Lawmakers had passed repeals of the mandatory motorcycle helmet law before, but the measures were vetoed twice by then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
The new measure will allow riders 21 or older to go without helmets if they carry extra insurance and meet training or experience criteria.
"I'm going to continue to wear a helmet," said Jennifer Loberman of Novi. "I think safety is important but I am very glad people will have a choice."
Snyder said he expects many riders will continue to wear helmets. But he said those who choose not to wear a helmet deserve "the latitude to make their own informed judgments" if they meet legal requirements.
Critics say the change will lead to more deaths.
"The repeal of the motorcycle helmet law will result in at least 30 additional motorcycle fatalities each year," said AAA Michigan in a written statement.
The Brain Injury Association of Michigan also expressed concern.
"The argument of freedom-of-choice mixed in with the allure of increased tourism dollars has obviously won the day," said Michael Dabbs in a statement from the Brain Injury Association of Michigan. "We will reluctantly prepare to welcome even more brain injury survivors to an already-growing population over the coming months."
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