Missouri Bill Could Modify Helmet Requirements For Motorcyclists

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Jefferson City, Mo – Senate Bill 1067, sponsored by Sen. Luann Ridgeway, R-Smithville, could exempt “persons 21 years of age or Helmet Imageolder from wearing protective headgear except when operating or riding motorcycles upon interstate highways”.

Supporters of the bill have argued that Missouri would see a significant increase in motorcycle tourism. The bill’s supporters point out that along with increased tourism comes increased revenue for both the state and local businesses.

In addition, the proponents argue that while helmets may provide a margin of safety at lows speeds, the helmet has little effect at high speeds. They contend that the forces exerted at speed often exceed the helmet’s ability to absorb impact energy and that the mass of the helmet actually adds energy to the impact which, many times results in more severe injuries.

They argue that a better way to reduce injuries is through education and training, for both motorists and motorcyclists. The bills supporters add that while other activities, such as horseback riding or climbing a ladder are equally or more hazardous, there are no helmet laws for those activities. They say motorcyclists are being unduly singled out and adults should have the right to choose which gear is appropriate to wear while riding.

The bills opponents disagree. They say helmets save lives and reduce injuries. The opponents add that injured motorcyclists burden the general public with high medical costs.

The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) are also opposed to the bill. During Wednesday’s hearing, Kathryn Higgins of the NTSB testified against the proposal stating that the decision to repeal helmet laws would be poor public-safety policy.

Note: Last year the NTSB issued a statement urging all states to adopt universal helmet legislation – Click here to read the 2007 NTSB Safety Recommendation.

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National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB)
Missouri Senate

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