St. Louis Public Radio News
4:22 am
Fri March 13, 2009

Mo. Senate passes motorcycle helmet repeal

Jefferson City, MO – Motorcyclists in Missouri are a step closer to not having to wear helmets.

The Missouri Senate has passed legislation that would repeal the decades-old requirement, but supporters of the current law are not giving up.

Tom Holloway of the Missouri State Medical Association maintains that the current law saves lives and keeps medical costs down.

"Coming from the perspective of the neurosurgeons and the trauma surgeons and the emergency room docs who know first hand the tragic part of this debate, we believe the helmet law has served this state well," Holloway said.

Holloway added that opponents of the repeal will lobby against it in the Missouri House, where it goes next and where it's passed before.

Advocates for removing the helmet law cite personal freedom, saying being forced to wear protective headgear violates civil liberties.

For years, bills that would have repealed Missouri's motorcycle helmet law fell short in the Senate.

Luann Ridgeway (R, Smithville) has been the primary Senate sponsor. This year's measure came in the form of an amendment added onto a motorcycle insurance bill.

"Riders under 21 will still be required to wear safety headgear, or motorcycle helmet, but (21 and over), it would be the choice of the individual rider, so long as they are not on Missouri's interstate highways," Ridgeway said.