Missouri bill would allow some motorcyclists to ride without a helmet

Proposed legislation in Missouri would repeal the state’s universal helmet law for motorcyclists.

In Missouri and across the country, May has been designated as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. While law enforcement officers will focus on ensuring motorists in Missouri are traveling safely, some legislators are working to repeal the universal helmet law in the state.

Currently, all motorcyclists in Missouri are required to wear helmets when on the road. Recently, the Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill that would limit that requirement. Under the proposed legislation, motorcyclists over 21 years of age would be able to decide for themselves whether they want to wear a helmet.

Safety advocates argue the passage of the bill would increase the number of motorcyclist fatalities in Missouri significantly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Missouri's universal helmet law saved 46 lives for every 100,000 registered motorcycles in the state in 2010.

In addition, other states have seen a sharp uptick in the number of motorcyclist fatalities following the repeal of a universal helmet law. For instance, Florida repealed its universal helmet law and motorcyclist fatalities jumped from an average of 160 per year to 246 deaths in 2001 - the year after the law changed.

The Missouri Senate will consider the bill next.

Prevent dangerous motorcycle accidents in Missouri

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, 104 motorcyclists lost their lives in collisions with other motor vehicles in 2012. In addition, 2,404 people were injured in motorcycle accidents in Missouri that year.

Across the country, motorcyclist fatalities have been on the rise in recent years. The CDC reported that two times as many motorcyclists were killed in 2008 than 1999 in the United States. In all, over 34,000 motorcyclists died in collisions in the U.S. between 2001 and 2008. During the same period, over 1.2 million people suffered injuries that required emergency room care following a motorcycle collision.

Missouri motorcyclists would be wise to continue wearing helmets, in accordance with the law, to reduce the severity of injuries should a motorcycle collision occur. Motorcyclists should be sure that their helmets were approved by the Department of Transportation.

If you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle collision in Missouri, you may be able to recover damages because of the harm resulting from the crash. In such situations, you should take the time to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney, who will work with you to make certain your rights are protected.

Keywords: Missouri, motorcycle, accident