Missouri House Lifts Motorcycle Helmet Requirement

missouri motorcycle helmet lawsOpponents of this measure agree that it raises the risk to motorcycle riders and could burden the public with high injury costs from riders who don’t wear helmets.

On Wednesday, April 8th, 2015, the Missouri House gave approval to the measure that would make it legal for people 21 and older to go without a helmet while riding a motorcycle.  Representative Eric Burlson of Springfield says, “it is a matter of personal freedom that the government should not interfere with the choice to wear a helmet.”  He stated that adults should be able to choose on their own whether or not to wear a helmet.

In 2013, we shared another blog about motorcycle helmet laws.  A measure much like this one has passed the House before in years past, but has not gotten through the Senate.  This time, it will move forward after another yes vote in the House.

Public Viewpoint on Missouri’s Helmet Laws

Some members of the public agree with getting rid of the helmet law, while others think it is a bad idea.

Some people agree with dropping the helmet law in favor of freedom of choice, while others say vanity is a foolish reason not to wear a helmet and that it is a safety precaution that should be followed.  Some say bad drivers and riders with no helmets is a deadly combination, but proponents argue that it’s okay as long as the taxpayers don’t have to foot the medical bills for someone with a head injury because they weren’t wearing a helmet. Opinions vary, and people are voicing them.

Professional Opinions on Motorcycle Helmet Laws in MO

According to an article in the Jefferson City News-Tribune, a proposal to ease motorcycle helmet laws has no redeeming value.  The article stated that each year some lawmaker files a bill to relax a law that is just plain common sense, like the helmet law.  Proponents of changing the helmet law say the issue is about individual freedom, but it really isn’t.  It’s all about collective concerns that include the safety of the public, insurance rates, expense with healthcare, and the social cost.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the percentage of riders killed in motorcycle accidents who don’t wear a helmet is higher in states without a mandatory helmet law.  Also, the Highway Loss Data Institute has reported that when Michigan relaxed their helmet law, much like Missouri is proposing, the medical claims from a motorcycle accident increased by 20%.  When insurance claims increase, so do insurance premiums.

Taxpayers have an interest in this proposal because riders who don’t use a helmet are more prone to head injuries.  Many head injury victims end up residing inrehab facilities and long-term care centers, which are often supported by government funding; your tax money.

There is also the emotional toll it takes on the family and friends of the person killed or injured.  The victim is not the only person who is affected by the accident that could have been prevented by a reasonable safety precaution like wearing a helmet.

Do you have an opinion to share on this topic?  We would love to start a conversation! 

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