Michigan Compiled Law 257.658 repealed the law requiring all operators of motorcycles in Michigan to wear a protective helmet. The repeal is effective immediately. Michigan’s mandatory motorcycle helmet requirement was repealed for certain motorcycle operators and passengers.
A motorcycle operator is not required to wear a helmet if all of the following conditions apply:
• The operator is at least 21 years of age
• The operator has had his or her motorcycle endorsement for
at least two years or has successfully passed a motorcycle
safety course conducted according to MCL 257.811a or MCL 257.811b
• The operator has in effect security for the first-party
medical benefits payable if he or she is involved in a
motorcycle crash for at least $20,000 for the operator or
$20,000 per person if the operator is carrying an additional
passenger and the passenger does not have at least $20,000 security
A motorcycle passenger is not required to wear a crash helmet if all of the following conditions apply:
• The passenger is at least 21 years of age
• The passenger has in effect at least a $20,000 security for
the first party medical benefits payable if he or she is
involved in a motorcycle accident or the operator of the
motorcycle has in effect security that covers the operator
and the passenger for at least $20,000 per person
Michigan motorcycle operators should know that MCL 257.658 does not require a motorcycle operator to carry proof that he or she has possessed a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years or has successfully passed the motorcycle safety course.
Additionally, the law does not require a motorcycle operator or passenger to carry proof of the $20,000 security required to operate or ride a motorcycle without a helmet.
Operators and passengers who violate MCL 257.658 are responsible for a civil infraction as detailed in MCL 257.656.
Police officers and county sheriffs must have articulable and reasonable suspicion that a violation of the Michigan Vehicle Code has occurred in order to lawfully stop a vehicle for a violation of the Michigan Vehicle Code. This includes motorcycle operators who are not wearing a helmet. For example, officers may not stop a motorcycle operator for not wearing a helmet based on the mere possibility the operator or passenger may not be exempt from the requirement to wear a helmet. For a stop to be legal, officers must possess facts rising to the level of reasonable suspicion that the operator or passenger is required to wear and helmet and is violating the requirement.
If a stop is made based upon the failure to wear a helmet alone, any evidence seized as a result of that illegal stop and seizure would be ripe for a Motion to Suppress.
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