COLUMBIA - Motorcyclists in Missouri may soon have a choice whether to wear a helmet if they are over the age of 21. The Missouri House has endorsed a bill that would allow motorcyclists to make the decision for themselves.
Current Missouri law requires motorcyclists to pay a $25 fine for each offense if caught riding without a helmet.
If the Senate passes the bill and the governor signs it, Missouri would become only the fourth state without a helmet law for those 21 and older. Iowa, Illinois, and New Hampshire are the only states that currently do not have a law for riding without a helmet.
David Swindell is the owner of Revlimit-Powersports in Columbia. His business sells motorcycles, four wheelers and the many accessories that come with speed racing, including helmets.
Swindell said he sees customers on both sides of the spectrum - those who wear helmets religiously and those who refuse to wear helmets.
"A lot of the cruise guys feel that they ride very controlled and very comfortably. They are not pushing the envelope," Swindell said. "They are not being aggressive and acting stupid so they feel comfortable not wearing helmets and I think that you see that come more from that style of rider."
Swindell is a sport bike rider and he said the majority of sport bike riders wear full body pads and the most protective helmets.
"They want to wear as much gear as they possibly can," Swindell said.
After suffering injuries from sport bike riding accidents, Swindell said he believes helmets are very important to any rider, regardless of age. Even though he said he feels very strongly about helmets, Swindell said the decision really should be left up to the individual.
For detailed state-by-state helmet law information, visit the Governors Highway Safety Association website.