May is Motorcycle Awareness Month, which means you may be seeing more signs encouraging drivers and riders to share the road safely. However, in a strange twist, the Missouri House of Representatives is celebrating by considering repealing the state’s motorcycle helmet law, which has been in effect since 1967. The law currently makes it illegal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet anywhere in the state, but this bill could relax those restrictions significantly.
Under the new bill, which passed in the House and is awaiting approval or veto by the governor, motorcyclists would be able to ride without a helmet if they are at least 21 years old and have additional health insurance coverage on their auto policy. Similar bills relaxing motorcycle helmet rules have been proposed before, and have usually been defeated early. The last time a bill concerning helmets got as far as the governor’s desk, in 2009, it was vetoed.
How Would Repealing Missouri’s Motorcycle Helmet Law Affect Road Safety
Those who support the new bill and the elimination of the helmet law are arguing that it is an issue of personal freedom. Motorcycle riders, they say, should be able to choose whether or not to wear a helmet, and that helmet requirements do little more than punish tax paying citizens. The health insurance provision included in the bill is meant to offset any additional risk of serious personal injuries that could result from a motorcycle crash involving a helmetless rider. The fact that only 19 states and Washington, D.C. have mandatory motorcycle helmet laws may work in their favor.
However, opponents of the bill have argued that helmets should stay mandatory because they have been proven to reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury for motorcycle riders who are involved in car accidents by as much as 67 percent. Traumatic brain injuries are among the most severe and most costly motorcycle accident injuries, which can have lifelong effects on the victim and his or her family. For these reasons, opponents of the bill are hoping to keep the mandatory helmet law in place.
Still, no matter what happens with Missouri law, you should always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle in order to protect yourself from traumatic brain injury in the event of a crash. This along with other safety precautions, such as wearing protective body gear and observing the laws of the road, will help you get where you are going safely.
Our Illinois and Missouri motorcycle accident attorneys can answer your questions about personal injury cases involving motorcycle and car crashes. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation. The information provided by Walton Telken, LLC in this Blog is not intended to be legal advice, but merely provides general information related to common legal issues. This Blog, and the information contained within it, is Attorney Advertisement. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.