Gov. Nixon has vetoed one of the most controversial bills approved this legislative session: the repeal of the motorcycle helmet law.
A spokesman for the governor, Scott Holste, says the governor carefully considered SB 202 before deciding against allowing it go into law. The bill would have lifted the requirement that adult motorcycle riders wear helmets. Riders under 21 would still be required to wear a helmet.
"This certainly was an issue that the governor thought about and deliberated very intently on," Holste says. "He wanted to look at all the information available to him and, at the end of the day, the cost of repealing the helmet law in terms of lives and dollars was just too high."
The governor’s office issued a news release that outlined reasons for the veto, including the experience of other states. The office says the cost to treat patients with head injuries from motorcycle wrecks doubled to $44 million in Florida after the legislature there repealed its helmet law in 2002. It cited an academic study that estimated the total cost to treat motorcycle accident victims who hadn’t been wearing helmets was $250 million more than the cost of treating patients who had been wearing them.
Holste says the prospect of sharply increased health care costs combined with concerns about the safety of motorcyclists led to the veto.