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Missouri kinda-sorta ditches its helmet laws

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Missouri’s state government has partially repealed its helmet laws for motorcyclists. Now, some riders–but not all–will be allowed to ride helmet-free.

Back in March, we had our first look at Missouri state senator Eric Burlison’s plan to cut back on the state’s helmet laws. At that time, Burlison wanted to remove the requirement for riders over 18 years old to wear helmets, as long as “he or she is covered by a health insurance policy or other form of insurance which will provide the person with medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a motorcycle or motortricycle accident.” As part of the law change, police would not be allowed to pull riders over to check to see if they had that insurance, either.

Burlison’s got his wish, sort of. Missouri governor Mike Parson has put the final stamp of approval on HB1963, which was sponsored by Representative Travis Fitzwater (some other transportation law changes were bundled with the bill). Now, starting August 28, 2020, riders in Missouri can leave their helmets home, if they’re age 26 or older. As Burlison’s previous attempts suggested, the helmetless riders must have proof of health insurance.

Not everyone thinks this is a good idea, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out. Safety-focused organizations like Advocates For Highway & Auto Safety stood against the law change, saying it would result in an increase in brain injuries and deaths due to motorcycle accidents, costing the state government money.

Like we’ve said before, even if you’re all-for helmet laws, and don’t think they should be cut back, there’s still good news in this move. It proves American lawmakers are still willing to re-examine motorcycle safety laws. That’s the key to getting other beneficial rule changes, like lane sharing laws.

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