Pettalia, a third-term member of the House, was a well-known motorcycle advocate. He served as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Pettalia was the sponsor of the 2012 law that repealed the helmet requirement for motorcyclists. A recent study found motorcycle fatalities in Michigan jumped by 23 % between 2014 and 2015 and researchers say the repeal of the helmet law almost certainly played a role.
Authorities are not sharing many details other than the 61-year-old lawmaker was riding a motorcycle on M-33 in northern Michigan’s Montmorency County, Michigan Radio reported. It is not known if he was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
According to the Michigan Information and Research Service, the Montmorency County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan State Police were working the accident scene.
A Presque Isle resident since 1977, Pettalia is survived by his wife, Karen, and two grown children.