St. Louis Public Radio News
6:04 pm
Thu July 2, 2009

Nixon vetoes motorcycle helmet repeal

Jefferson City, MO – Motorcycle riders in Missouri still have to wear helmets.

A bill that would have allowed them to ride helmet-free if they're at least 21 years old has been vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon.

The bill would have still required helmet use on interstate highways.

Nixon says the cost in health care dollars and lives lost would have been too high.

Tom Holloway with the Missouri State Medical Association applauds the governor's veto.

"We believe very strongly that the helmet law serves the state well...it's saved lives, it's prevented injuries, and it's saved countless dollars in unnecessary health care costs," Holloway said.

Supporters of the repeal say motorcycle riders should have the freedom to choose whether or not to wear a helmet.

Tony Shepherd of ABATE Missouri, a motorcycle rider's group, calls the veto a setback.

But he remains optimistic that a repeal will happen someday.

"We've gotten further and further with it every time...maybe we can kind of urge the governor next year to say, 'We've had an overwhelming House and Senate (vote) on it, let's give it a try,'" Shepherd said.

Meanwhile, Shepherd says they will lobby lawmakers during the September veto session to override Governor Nixon's veto.