THE US state of Michigan has announced an 18% rise in motorcyclist fatalities between 2011 and 2012.
In April 2012, Michigan removed its mandatory helmet law for bikers.
Michigan State Police have stated that a single year is not enough time to judge whether or not repealing the helmet law is the cause of the spike in motorcycle deaths. Anne Readett, of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, said: 'That number is very sensitive to what happens in terms of weather from year to year,
'If we have a cold rainy summer we know that motorcycle riding is going to be down and we would likely suspect that crashes and fatalities would be down as well.'
Last year, Michigan experienced a notably hot, dry summer - at times hitting a record 80-degrees in the lower part of the state. This likely contributed to an increased number of riders on the roads. Anne Readett also indicates that the number of bikers in the state has been increasing steadily over a number of years, which may also have contributed to the increase.
In 2011 there were 109 motorcyclist deaths investigated, 2012 saw 129. Information on the exact injuries that caused the deaths in question, and helmet use (or otherwise) in those cases, has not yet been released.
At the time of the law change, supporters argued that preventing accidents is more important than legislating for the wearing of helmets when it comes to saving lives.
But wearing a helmet probably helps, right?