April 16, 2014

House bill would allow motorcycling without helmets for riders 21-and-up

The House has given its blessing to letting people 21 and older ride motorcycles on Missouri highways without helmets.

Legislation repealing Missouri's motorcycle helmet law for riders over age 21 (HB 555) is sponsored by Representative Eric Burlison (R-Springfield).  (Photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Legislation repealing Missouri’s motorcycle helmet law for riders over age 21 (HB 555) is sponsored by Representative Eric Burlison (R-Springfield). (Photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representative Warren Love (R-Osceola) says he chooses to ride with a helmet for safety, but there are many who don’t … and those riders carry good money.

“We’re surrounded by states that does not have a helmet law … if there are people¬†riding southwest of Missouri and they’re getting ready to come across Missouri, they’re going to go down through Arkansas and journey around and they’re going to bypass Missouri. We’re losing thousands and thousands of dollars because people aren’t coming to Missouri because of our helmet law.”

The idea had bipartisan support … and bipartisan opposition. Representative Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton) says as a health care professional, she has seen what happens to people who have been in motorcycle accidents.

“Wearing a helmet does not just¬†affect the individual. It affects everyone in the state of Missouri. It affects insurance premiums. Not wearing a helmet is allowing people to be injured when there’s no need for it. It’s not just a matter of personal choice. It’s not like a chronic condition or any other kind of medical condition like obesity, where there is more than one contributing factor. This is something that can easily be taken care of.”

The proposal goes to the Senate for consideration.