Motorcycle injuries worsen with weaker helmet law

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WASHINGTON (AP) — An insurance industry study says the average cost of medical claims arising from motorcycle crashes rose by more than one-fifth last year in Michigan after the state stopped requiring all riders to wear helmets.

The study by the Highway Loss Data Institute found the average insurance payment on a motorcycle injury claim rose 22 percent during the 2012 motorcycle riding season, compared with the same period in the two previous years.

For decades, Michigan had a law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. But some motorcyclists opposed the requirement, and legislators changed the law last year so that only riders younger than 21 must wear helmets.

An official at the Motorcycle Riders Foundation dismissed the study, saying the insurance industry is upset because increased claims cost it money.

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