Constitutional Law–Police Power–Michigan Statute Requiring Motorcyclists To Wear Protective Helmets Held Unconstitutional

The effects of the helmet decisions on the law in general may be substantial. On the one hand, if a helmet statute is held constitutional, inroads could be made upon personal liberty; the legislature might rely on similar strained and unproved relationships to the general welfare in order to justify regulations impinging upon other areas of individual conduct. On the other hand, to hold such a statute unconstitutional may require the judiciary to interfere unreasonably with the legislature’s conception of public welfare. In light of these considerations, courts dealing with challenges to such regulations in the future should pay closer attention to the difficult factual questions underlying the reasonable relationship test; they must also attempt to answer the basic questions surrounding the burden of proof and the burden of going forward with the evidence in these cases.