Economic Impacts of Modification of Nebraska’s
Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law
report was put together by Larry Schutt and Dan Spotten for the purpose of
bringing greater understanding to the issue of how modifying Nebraska’s
mandatory motorcycle helmet law will affect the economy of Nebraska in terms of
tax revenues, licensing, registration and tourism. A great many people
contributed to this report along with individual motorcyclists from at least 20
What is ABATE?
ABATE stands for “American
Bikers Aiming Towards Education”. ABATE is a motorcycle rights organization
consisting of motorcycle enthusiasts throughout the State of
Promoting Safety Safeguarding
On February 6, 2006 James
"Doc" Reichenbach II, President of ABATE of Florida and Chairman of the Board
for the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, released the following economic
impact report covering the five years since Florida modified their mandatory
helmet law to exclude most adult riders.
To all Motorcycle Rights
Organizations and interested parties
The following is
an economic impact study done for the first five years of our amended helmet
law. The motorcycle registration figures are compiled from the statistics of the
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The fees come from the
The following is
the estimated revenue increase from the registrations and bike purchases:
278,331 new Motorcycles at an
average of $10,000 each = $2,783,310,000
Sales tax on Motorcycles at 6% =
Registration Fees for Motorcycles =
Change of title = $8,280,347
Total = $2,968,636,696
This is almost three
billion dollars in five years that has been put into the economy of the
The Logical Perspective
Helmet laws can also COST
states significant amounts of money. After passage of the mandatory helmet law
dropped by 18%. This cost the
state over $1 million in gasoline tax, $15 million in lost sales and payroll
taxes, and $1 million in lost registration fees. There is of course no way to
estimate how much was lost by the hotels, motels, gas stations, and restaurants
across the state as bikers visited helmet free states for their vacations and
day trips. The amount of money that motorcyclists spend in
According to a UCF survey,
The one thing all of these
states have in common is that they are states that allow motorcyclists freedom
of choice when it comes to wearing a helmet. These biker rallies are not
insignificant sources of income for these communities. Every dollar that is
spent locally creates an additional $3 of economic ripple effect. These
figures do not take into account the hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists who
will visit these states for day trips, weekend stays, and longer vacations. In
the end, mandatory helmet laws end up costing states far more money than is
apparent to the average citizen.
There was a 26%
drop in new motorcycle sales in 1992-1993. Ridership was down an estimated 18%.
How does that compute to dollars lost to
The helmet law
ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF
Nationally, motorcycle registrations increased annually for eleven straight years though 2002. A key influence has been the aging baby boomers. The median age for motorcycle owners was 38.0 in 1998, compared to 24.0 years in 1980. A 1998 study found the median income of motorcycle owners to be over $44,000, almost three-fifths were married, and over one-half had furthered their formal education after high school.
In 2002, there
were 197,735 motorcycle registrations in
the helmet law holds clear potential to increase the sales of vehicles and
accessories, as well as retaining a portion of the tourism spending of
The key estimates are as
increased............................................... $27.7 million
Impact including ripple
effect............................. $1,200.6 million
Direct (sales and tourism)
Total jobs, including from
The report emphasizes that
conservative estimation techniques and assumptions are used throughout. The
actual potential, particularly in the area of attracting the tourism spending of
motorcycle enthusiasts from other states, is actually far greater than
enumerated in the estimates.
document will show the results from a twelve month survey that was conducted by
ABATE of West Virginia, Inc. The information provided in this document has been
voluntarily submitted by 328 enthusiasts from ten different states:
This document has
been designed to help the legislators of
3. Number of days spent at motorcycling events per year
4. What states do you most frequently travel?
5. Do helmet laws play a pat in decision?
6. While traveling, do you avoid states with helmet laws?
7. Would a change in
8. Approximately how much do you spend per day?
9. How many estimated miles do you travel per year?
10. Estimated number in party while traveling
The manner, in which this survey has been conducted, was aimed towards getting an average figure to show one individual motorcyclist's cost per day while traveling. The above categories were totaled and divided by the amount of participants to reach this average.
1. “Events per year”:
represents the number of events the average motorcyclist attends per year. The
average per year according to this survey is 37.29 events. This
figure will be used at a later point in this survey to show the yearly
associated cost to a motorcyclist while traveling. The yearly cost to
motorcyclists while traveling could be potential tourism dollars for
2. “States most frequently traveled”: represents the choice made by adult riders as to what states they wish to travel: A. Mandatory Helmet Law States-7.32% B. Freedom of Choice States-75.15%or C. Both-16.77%
3. “Do helmet laws play a part”: represents the choice made as to what states motorcyclists are more likely to travel. [YES-93.59%] represents those who do not prefer mandatory helmet law states, [NO-6.4%] represents those whom it makes no difference.
4. “Avoiding states with helmet laws”: represents the amount of motorcyclist's who avoid states due to adult mandatory helmet use laws. [YES-85.06%] represents those who avoid states due to mandatory helmet laws; [NO-14.94%] represents those whom it makes no difference.
5. “A change in
6[a]. “Approximate spending per day”: [Part 1] represents the percentages of where motorcyclists stay while traveling. This category has been broken down into four different sections for the purpose of showing the dollars spent by the different lifestyles within the motorcycling community when traveling. The four sections and percentages are as follows:
4. None [Those who don't stay overnight]-6.71%
6[b]. “Approximate spending per day”: [Part 2] represents the actual dollars that are spent by the motorcyclists from the four different sections in the previous chart. These dollars will be shown in relationship to their percentages from the previous chart. For the purpose of finding an average, the dollar amounts that fall in the hotel/camping section have been added together and divided by two to help better see an average for this section. The following results:
4. None [Those who don't stay overnight]-$32.41
7. “Miles traveled per
year”: represents the average number of miles a motorcycle enthusiast
travels per year. The average per year according to this survey is 8,580.9
miles. The average motorcycle gets approximately 40mpg while traveling on the
highway. 8580.9miles, divided by 40mpg equals 214.52 gallons of gas per year,
8. “Estimated number in party while traveling”: represents the number of enthusiasts traveling together while enjoying the sport of motorcycling. The average according to this survey is 5 per traveling group. Using the earlier stated 328 participants, multiplied by 5 equals 1640 of the possibilities, according to the American Motorcyclist Association there are 30 million motorcyclists across the nation.
The previous documentation more than clearly points out that tourism to our state can be increased if the requirements for adult mandatory helmet laws were lifted. 75.15% of motorcyclists travel to freedom of choice states. Motorcyclists do examine the laws before making a choice as to what states they wish to travel through. Motorcyclist's definitely travel around states with adult mandatory helmet use laws. The results of this survey based on one individual’s spending shows the tourism dollars we could be receiving if we offered freedom of choice.
I do NOT go through
I ride about
30,000 miles per year. I travel to Sturgis every year from
I do “Run for the Wall” every year also. My average room cost is $65.00 per day, and the trip is a month long trip all together. I spend an average of $20.00 on food each day, and about $20.00 on fuel. With incidentals I average spending $120.00 per day on my annual trip across country. My cost for this trip is usually about $4,000.
I do an annual trip to
None of these costs include any wear and tear on my bike or any repairs that I may need to do.
(Received 10/26/06 via
The Bottom Line
professional people who can afford a $15,000 - $35,000 luxury mode of
transportation on top of their mortgages, college funds, sedans, SUV’s and
pickup trucks. They spend at a minimum $100 a day while traveling. When states
enact mandatory motorcycle helmet laws - motorcycle ownership, registration and
ridership sharply fall off. When states repeal or modify mandatory motorcycle
helmet laws – sales, ownership and ridership sharply increase.
1,000,000 motorcyclists ride to Sturgis each and every year. The majority of
those ride up to
If only 5%
(5 percent) of those 1,000,000 (one million) motorcyclists going to Sturgis
every year rode through Nebraska on their trip and spent an average of $100 a
day that would be $5,000,000 (five million
dollars) pumped into the Nebraska economy in the three week period before,
during and after the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally!
Not only is
the State of
How can YOU help bring motorcycling tourists to
There are many ways you can help:
Join ABATE of
Contact your State Senator
personally – via phone, letter, email
or in person and explain to them that the people of
Spread the word
– tell your friends, family, co-workers, employees, bosses and ANYONE who will
listen about how much money the people and the State of Nebraska is loosing
because of the mandated motorcycle helmet law and how they should also get
involved to help bring motorcycle tourists to Nebraska. If
you’re not sure how to explain it to them, send them
Work with other
like-minded people or organizations –
Just as ABATE of Nebraska understands how important tourism is to the citizens
of Nebraska, you have all learned how allowing motorcyclists the right to choose
will reap huge benefits for everyone in Nebraska. ABATE of
Nebraska, Inc. thanks you for taking the time to read our report. We urge you to
check our sources and stats. We look forward to talking further to any one who
has questions and working with any one who shares our goal for a helmet-free,
tourism friendly State of Nebraska. Please, do not hesitate to get ahold of us
at any time for any reason. We want to see
Todd C. Miller
State Newsletter Editor/State
February 5, 2006
ABATE OF FLORIDA, INC.
 (Excerpted from “ECONOMIC
IMPACTS OF MODIFICATION TO