Once again, the motorcycle helmet law in Missouri could change with the signature of the governor. If this year’s attempt to repeal the state’s universal helmet law succeeds, it would mean more injuries and deaths from car accidents involving motorcycles.
Missouri Legislature Passes Another Bill to Repeal Motorcycle Helmet Law
In what seems to have become an annual tradition, lawmakers at the Missouri House of Representatives passed House Bill 2193, with just minutes to spare in the legislative session. It still has to be signed by Governor Parsons before becoming law.
If signed, the bill would repeal Missouri’s universal motorcycle helmet law and replace it with one that lets drivers over 26 years old to ride without one, so long as they had eligible health insurance.
The bill originally called for motorcycle riders over 18 to have the choice of driving without a helmet. That age limitation was raised to 26 to get the necessary votes.
Passengers on motorcycles would still have to wear a helmet. Drivers who do not have adequate insurance or who are under the age specified in the final bill would also still need to wear a helmet.
Earlier Attempts to Repeal Law Failed
This is far from the first time that Missouri lawmakers have tried to repeal the state’s universal helmet law, found at Missouri Statute 302.020.2. Earlier in our blog, we covered the 2017 bill that aimed to repeal the law, as well as the repeal attempt in 2019.
Both of the earlier bills failed.
Bill Proponents Claim It Would Stimulate the Economy
Proponents of the most recent bill say that motorcyclists should have the choice of wearing a helmet or not. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Missouri is one of 18 states to have a universal helmet law for motorcyclists. Only three states – two of which are Illinois and Iowa – let all motorcyclists choose not to wear a helmet. All others require some bikers to use a helmet, but not all, with most of those states requiring a helmet for people under a certain age.
But the bill’s backers are also claiming that it would stimulate Missouri’s economy by attracting riders. These lawmakers are claiming that bikers avoid Missouri so they don’t have to wear a helmet.
Repeal Would Raise Insurance Rates for Everyone
According to the executive director of the Missouri Insurance Coalition, though, repealing motorcycle helmet laws would actually end up raising the car insurance rates for everyone in the state. Without a mandatory helmet law for everyone, any head injuries suffered in a car crash involving a motorcycle would get much more expensive to treat. This cost gets passed back to consumers who buy car insurance or motorcycle insurance policies.
St. Joseph Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office
The sense of personal freedom is one of the most enticing things about riding a motorcycle. However, not wearing a helmet drastically increases the risks of injury or death in a crash, and would increase insurance rates for everyone else in Missouri.