Liberalizing helmet law in Missouri takes state down deadly path

04/24/2014 10:58 AM

04/27/2014 6:05 PM

The wrong way seems to be the only direction the Missouri General Assembly is taking this year on legislation.

That’s certainly true with the House vote endorsing a bill that would let motorcyclists over age 21 ride without helmets. The current law mandates that people on motorcycles wear helmets or be subject to fines if stopped by a police officer.

Opponents charge that cyclists should have the freedom to decide whether to wear helmets. They also say Missouri is losing tourism dollars because bikers who don’t wear helmets can ride through the state.

The helmet requirement not only is a reasonable law, but it is a sound safety measure. A minor accident like a bike tipping over in travel could result in riders or passengers hitting their heads on a curb and dying.

A helmet would prevent that awful outcome. More people are buying motorcycles as a good economical, carefree means of travel.

The helmet law protects them and others in the state from the medical expense of a serious injury or funeral costs of an unexpected death. The Senate should reject efforts to liberalize the helmet law.

If members of the Senate go the wrong way like the House, it will be up to a veto from Gov. Jay Nixon to set things right.

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