Personal Injury Protection Insurance for Motorcyclists



HB 2454, Helmet Law Amendment

June 9, 1997

This year, as in previous years, BikePAC has requested legislation to amend Oregon’s helmet law to require helmet use for minors only. During the legislative process an amendment was added that changes the age of application of this bill to 21 instead of 18. In addition, the Senate Transportation Committee has placed an amendment on the bill which would require all Oregon motorcyclists to purchase PIP insurance.
It is BikePAC’s official position that the PIP insurance amendment is not relevant to the issue of the helmet law. The PIP mandate needs to be removed from HB 2454. It is economically and socially unacceptable to motorcyclists.

1. Motorcycle PIP is not consistently available from all insurance vendors. Some vendors currently will add PIP coverage to motorcycle policies at 300 to 800% increase in cost. Various insurance companies offer other kinds of additional medical insurance coverage that riders can purchase in a free marketplace. A variety of insurance offering allows the consumer to purchase what he or she needs rather than a “one size fits all” approach.

2. Legislation makes no rate guarantees or requirements on insurance companies that would tie rates to real actuarial data. Thus, costs could easily skyrocket even further out of realistic proportion. It seems apparent from quotes we have received that PIP for motorcycles is outrageously expensive. If mandated, we will see many more motorcyclists forced to ride without insurance at all (including liability, uninsured motorist, theft, comp & collision) leading to even greater economic losses.

3. Many motorcycle riders already have other insurance coverage that applies in these situations, and therefore have no need for PIP insurance. The requirement would mandate everyone to purchase PIP regardless of need. It would also require motorcycle owners who insure more than one bike to repeat the same coverage for each bike, even though they can ride only one at a time. Again, double charging that puts the motorcyclist’s income directly into the pocket of an insurance company without any need for their service. The current PIP mandate for autos has similar problems, requiring additional expense for many citizens who have no need for some or all portions of PIP coverage.

4. Oregon’s insurance laws are haphazard and create a condition of obligation for Oregon citizens to purchase services/products that do not logically interrelate. It is not in our best interests to add more fragments to this problem. It would be better to separately address Oregon’s insurance laws to assure an economically productive insurance industry that serves the citizenry rather than taking advantage of them.

5. A PIP requirement implies that motorcyclist risk is exceptional, above and beyond any and all other risks in our society. This is untrue. Many commonplace activities in our society carry elevated risk similar to motorcycling. It is consistent with the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights that we as Americans support each others’ diversity in the pursuit of happiness. Informed risk-taking is a socially productive activity. Throughout the history of mankind, risk taking activities have consistently led to societal and technological innovation and progress.