Do you want to be free to ride your machine, without being hassled by The Man? And does that include striking down the most oppressive rules of all, motorcycle helmet laws? Then ride on over to Missouri, because it’s proving to be the latest battleground in America’s bold stand against brain buckets.
Silly exaggeration aside—this is more or less what’s happening. As of the start of this month, Missouri state senator Eric Burlison, R-Battlefield, has started work again on a bill to get rid of the state’s motorcycle helmet laws. You can see a summary of the proposed legislation here; essentially, Burlison is looking 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 changes, law enforcement would not be allowed to pull anyone over to check to see if they had that insurance, either.
The reasoning? Burlison says it’s because he thinks it’s wrong to deny people’s individual responsibilities and freedoms. He’s been persistent on this; he tried to get similar rule changes enacted in 2019, but the state’s governor wouldn’t sign off on them. He’s got the current bill working its way through the legislative system now. Should it pass, it will be enacted on August 28.
Wherever you stand on the helmet law issue, there is one good thing in all this: It does show that legislators across the US are still willing to re-examine motorcycle safety laws, and that could be the key to getting other beneficial rule changes, like lane sharing laws.