A pair of bills going through the Missouri Legislature could change whether motorcyclists in the state have to wear helmets. The issue is contentious, because helmets protect bikers in car accidents and motorcycle accidents, but many riders prefer to take the risk.
Missouri Legislature Reviews Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Right now, the state of Missouri is one of the 19 in the U.S. to have a universal helmet law for motorcyclists – Missouri Statute 302.020.2. This requires all motorcyclists, regardless of how old they are, to wear a helmet. If a biker is on the roads of Missouri without protective headgear, they could face a fine of up to $25.
Most other states in the U.S. allow adults to ride a motorcycle without a helmet.
Bills Would Allow Adult Bikers to Ride Without Helmets
Now, Missouri is considering two proposed bills that would allow certain motorcyclists to ride without helmets in the state.
House Bill 576 would still require motorcyclists or passengers under the age of 21 to wear a helmet. However, it would allow adults 21 or older to ride without a helmet, so long as they have insurance and have either been riding for more than two years, or have completed an instruction course.
Additionally, House Bill 588 would prevent police from pulling over a motorcyclist solely to enforce the helmet law.
The Contentious Issue of Motorcycle Helmets
One of the most integral aspects of riding a motorcycle is the freedom. Many of the people who are drawn to motorcycles say the feeling of the wind in their face and their closeness to the road brought them in. Bikers often see cars as cages that isolate them from the outside world when they’re on the road. While not as extreme, helmets do this, as well.
Safety advocates, however, point out that helmets are one of the only things motorcyclists can use to protect themselves in a crash. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of a fatality by 37% and the risk of a serious head injury by 69%.
Nevertheless, these safety benefits are not always what bikers find important.
St. Joseph Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
The two bills currently making their way through the state legislature try to strike a balance between safety and the rights of motorcyclists to ride the way they want to. Unfortunately, if these bills are passed, the reality is that there will be more serious injuries in bike accidents. As motorcyclists choose to ride without a helmet, any accident they get into will likely result in far more serious personal injuries than if they’d worn a helmet.
Regardless of whether you were wearing a helmet or not, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries if someone else caused the crash. After all, if it wasn’t your mistake, then covering your own costs and medical bills would be unfair. That’s where the personal injury attorneys at the Smith Law Office come in. Contact us online or at (816) 875-9373 for the legal representation you need.