Missouri getting closer to amending helmet law

by Jeff on March 16, 2009

By Jeff Cobb
Motorcycle Safety News

The Missouri Senate voted Thursday for Senate Bill 202 (SB202) which would allow motorcyclists at least 21 years old to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet as long as they’re not traveling on an interstate highway.

The legislation now must still clear the Missouri House and be signed by the governor to be made law.

A representative from the governor’s office said today that the belief is that the House has generally favored the bill more than the Senate, and proponents are hopeful it will make it all the way to the governor’s desk.

Some motorcycle enthusiasts contend that riding without a helmet is more fun and that the state shouldn’t micromanage their lives.

“At some point in our society, you have to allow people who are 21 to make a conscious decision and weigh the risks of their own decisions,” said Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, who has a motorcycle license but no longer owns a bike.

Missouri has required riders to wear helmets for decades, but some lawmakers have been trying to overturn that law, arguing that it infringes on civil liberties.

Supporters of the current helmet requirements argue the state should keep people safe during a potentially dangerous activity. If helmets aren’t required, “the state fails to protect those riders from brain injuries and ultimately even death,” said Sen. Yvonne Wilson, D-Kansas City.

Her son was killed in a motorcycle accident 10 years ago on Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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