• Kenneth Powell

Does Missouri Have a No Helmet Law for Motorcycles?

It is a well-known fact that riding a motorcycle has its risks. After all, riders are 29 times more likely to get injured or die in crashes than other vehicle drivers. To make riding safer, motorcyclists should wear protective gear, including helmets. This equipment can significantly increase the chances of survival if accidents do occur.

However, not many states have laws requiring that all riders wear helmets. Some of them, like Missouri, have more relaxed regulations, especially for older drivers.

Missouri Helmet Laws

Missouri Helmet Laws

Up until August 2020, everyone riding on a motorcycle was required to wear a helmet or a similar protective head covering. But ever since the state’s governor approved new regulations and signed them into law, drivers have had to abide by new rules.

Under the provisions of the new law, only those under the age of 26 have to wear a helmet while riding. Older drivers aren't required to wear a helmet under a single condition.

Namely, people must have valid health insurance to be eligible for this law. Also, the insurance has to be high enough to cover treatment for head injuries that the motorcycle rider might sustain if they are in an accident without a helmet.

If a person older than 26 rides without protection and insurance, they will have to pay a fine. The same is true for anyone younger than 26, regardless of their insurance status. The amount they have to pay depends on whether it is their first offense or not.

It is also important to mention that drivers with instruction permits have to wear a helmet at all times whether they are older than 26 or not. These licenses are for those who are still learning and haven’t become eligible for a full permit yet. Thus, the law does not apply to them.

Helmet Law Controversies

In theory, this law is well-grounded, as it emphasizes one’s personal freedom. But in practice, it encounters the same roadblocks every time. Namely, police cannot always gauge which helmetless drivers have health insurance just by looking. And since officers cannot stop a driver only to ask about their age, many get away with breaking the law every day.

The only time that the police can really intervene is when they catch a driver speeding or breaking another law. In that case, they can ask for proof of age and health insurance if the driver is not wearing a helmet. Only then can they write a ticket.

In addition, having health insurance does not guarantee survival in case of an accident. The injuries are often too severe for doctors to treat, and there is not much that they can do. But wearing a helmet makes a significant difference, which is constantly emphasized by healthcare professionals.

The new law also led to a sudden increase in insurance rates for drivers. After all, companies would rather avoid paying for medical bills that are easily preventable by wearing a helmet.

These facts have resulted in many citizens protesting the new legislation. From doctors to insurance experts, people from all fields have come out against the law, claiming it can do more harm than good.

All controversies aside, the law still remains in place, with the governor blocking all attempts to repeal it. It is a law that protects one’s personal freedom, and many citizens and legislators support it.

What The New Law Means for Drivers

Any Missouri rider older than 26 with valid insurance can choose whether they will wear a helmet or not. It is their decision to make, and is based on their preferences and conscience. However, they should still consider statistics and the advice from healthcare professionals.

Taking a look at statistics reveals the real results of the new law. In the first ten months of it being in place, the number of fatalities in helmetless accidents rose by 414.29%.

In this period, 72 riders lost their lives because they weren't wearing helmets. Comparatively, the number of casualties before the law went into effect was 14 in the same number of months.

It is every rider’s duty to ensure that these numbers don’t continue to rise. As inconvenient as it might feel, wearing protective gear is pivotal for staying safe on the road because it is the best way to prevent severe injuries and tragic outcomes. Other than that, there are also other aspects to consider in terms of motorcycle safety—such as having blinkers on a motorcycle in Missouri. This is also why a motorcycle needs a safety inspection in Missouri, which comes with certain terms and conditions.

To understand the new helmet law better, speak to experienced motorcycle accident lawyers in St Louis MO.