Peter “Pete” Pettalia

September 14, 2016

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Peter "Pete” Pettalia

Peter “Pete” Pettalia, the state representative who wrote the legislation that led to the repeal of Michigan’s mandatory helmet law in 2012 died late Monday afternoon, September 12, in a motorcycle accident on State Highway 33 in the Atlanta State Forest.

Pettalia owned an auto repair business and lived in nearby Presque Isle. He was a volunteer firefighter with the Grand Lake Fire Department.

After he was elected to the state House as a Republican in November 2010 he became well-known as an advocate for motorcyclists. He was chairman of the Michigan House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Michigan had had a helmet law for 46 years before Pettalia introduced his “Helmet Choice Law.” The bill was co-sponsored in the state senate by Phil Pavlov and signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. The law stipulated that motorcycle operators who were at least 21-years-old, and who had at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits, and who had held a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years, or had passed an approved motorcycle safety course did not have to wear a helmet if they chose not to do so. The same law says that motorcycle passengers who are at least 21-years-old and who have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits can also ride helmetless. If you are under 21, you have to wear a helmet in Michigan.

The repeal of the helmet law has been relentlessly criticized by the Michigan State Police who have argued that annual motorcycle deaths in Michigan had averaged 112 before the repeal but had “spiked” to an average of 126 after the helmet law reform.

Pettalia was born in 1955 and he had lived in Presque Isle since 1977. He is survived by his wife Karen and his two children, Anna and Peter Jr.

Pettalia died in broad daylight when a pickup truck turned into his lane without warning. He struck the truck broadside and was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver was not cited or charged. Pete Pettalia was 61-years-old.

He was wearing a helmet when he died.

Requiscat In Pace


10 Responses to “Peter “Pete” Pettalia”

  1. moonshiner Says:

    Michigan police agencies almost always give a pass to drivers when they hit a rider. The believe we are 2nd class citizens. There isn’t enough outrage to change their minds.

  2. lorelei Says:

    I have a real BIG PROBLEM with the fact that the driver of the truck was not cited, and nothing more has been heard of this. Do any of us really believe that the driver will be cited at a later date WHAT KIND OF CRAP is that? The driver will never be cited, charged, or given any consequences for their law breaking “driving non-skills”, oh except definetly a “high five” from the “powers that be.” RIP and Ride on in Heaven Pete Battalia and special blessings and prayers to his family.

  3. Chief Says:

    Similar law here in PA. Thankful to anyone who fights for freedom this way.


  4. Phuquehed Says:

    All terh best to his family and a thanks to him for what he did.

    A ‘Fuck You Pigs’ to the air-wasters who fought his law and who didn’t cite the driver for right-of-way.

  5. sherides Says:

    RIP Pete Battalia.

    It’s not unusual that no citations are issued at the time of the accident in MI. Often times, the investigation continues and charges are filed at a later date.


  6. R&R Says:

    RIP Pete Pattalia. It’s unbelievable the driver wasn’t at **least** cited for failure to yield right of way. Negligent manslaughter is what I’d like to see the driver charged with.


  7. Paladin Says:

    It would seem that in MI, if the State Police don’t like you, anyone participating in your demise gets a “high five” and a pass.

    My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Pettalia.

    Long May He Ride,


  8. Bone Head Says:

    Godspeed Mr. Pettalia.

    And for the ignorant bastards who didn’t cite the driver of the truck, too bad Mr. Pettalia couldn’t get a bill through repealing you.

  9. IronRider Says:

    RIP Pete. While I do believe the choice is the rider’s to make whether to wear a helmet or not to wear a helmet (I do wear a helmet) I believe in the majority of collisions with other vehicles, motorcyclists dont really stand much of a chance.

    Not all but there are a lot of drivers out there who dont even pay attention to other vehicles let alone motorcycles. When yoyu ride iron you are alert because you feel the wind, rain or sun, you feel every bump in the road, you adjust for every turn.

    When your in a vehicle iliken it to sitting in an easy chair, you get comfy, your listening to your tunes, have your big gulp or coffee by your side and your just travelling along. Some drivers are really aware of their surroundings and others just are oblivious.

    In a lot of collisions ,motorcyclists usually bare the brunt of it, whether a helmet would have helped is very debatable, but when your on a bike and getting hit your bike and body are really taking the impact and chances are your getting knocked down or thrown off of it. getting hit in a vehicle by another vehicle your body has some protection, not so on a bike.

    A rider is always going to be at risk, just like a pedestrian and other vehicles are at risk of being hit. Helmet laws and mandatory use for younger riders I have no issue with, but a helmet is not going to save a rider in a crash every time, not possible

  10. Dripy Says:

    RIP and thank you for fighting for freedom.

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