A new controversy has hit the Missouri lawmakers and there are strong proponents for each side. Recently, the Missouri House endorsed a bill that would allow motorcycle drivers and riders over the age of 21 to choose whether or not they want to wear a helmet. If they decide to put this proposal into law, it would change the law currently in place. The current law states that every person on a motorcycle must wear a helmet, otherwise they will risk getting fined by law enforcement officials.
For Helmet Law Change
One of the biggest arguments that come from this side of the question say that once you get to a certain age, it should be up to you whether or not you want to wear a helmet. You are an adult, after all, and can make your own educated decisions when it comes to your safety. Some motorcycle enthusiasts argue that helmets are restricting for peripheral viewing and limit hearing of what is going on around you. Another argument for this side of the question says that the current helmet laws cause a dip in tourism prices. These people believe that a less strict law would attract more motorcycle traffic during events like Sturgis, potentially raising Missouri’s tourism numbers.
Against the Law Change
The strongest argument against the relaxation of the law is that it would cause more injuries and fatalities than there already are on the road. These opponents say that helmet laws keep riders safer from impending accidents and without it there will be more serious injuries that are not only unfortunate for the person, but will also cause a spike in Missouri’s medical costs. The people on this side of the matter are concerned both for the health and safety of riders, as well as the expected increase in deaths and serious injuries that will surely occur if the law was to pass.
Some that are for the law say that it only affects those who drive motorcycles, but opponents for the law change strongly disagree. They say that the head injuries that are likely to happen without a helmet not only affect the drivers, but also their families, friends, and children watching their behavior.
One compromise that could possibly make each party happy is to make the helmet free law only valid during one month of the year. Some lawmakers say that suspending the current law for the month of August would bring in motorcyclists in from all over and help support local businesses, while still promoting safety for a majority of the year.
No matter what your views are on the matter, it is up to the House to pass or veto this proposed matter in the next few weeks. Whether you are for or against requiring helmets, remember to always be safe when operating motorcycles, helmet free or not. Proper attire and safety equipment is always encouraged.
Written by Kellie Bertels, an attorney with the firm Bandré, Hunt & Snider, LLC where they are the leading attorneys in Jefferson City MO.