Missouri bill would lift motorcycle helmet mandate

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri House Transportation committee heard a bill Tuesday that would allow motorcyclists 21 years or older to ride without a helmet. The riders must also have at least $50,000 of personal medical insurance to qualify.

The motorcycle community have mixed feelings about the proposal.

"I think everybody should wear a helmet because pretty much every accident on the street impacts your head," Trevor Williamson, a mechanic at Revlimit Power Sports, said. "So on a street bike it really doesn't take much to injure or kill you."

But others do believe bikers should have the option.

"I think everyone should have the choice as to whether they do or don't wear a helmet," Revlimit Power Sports owner David Swindell said. "I just don't think they should be able to sue someone if they have a head injury in the case of an accident. They have accepted the responsibility to choose not to where a helmet."

But Swindell said the change would not affect the way he rides his motorcycle.

"I personally would never ever not wear a helmet," Swindell said. "I wear every article of protection that they offer. I wear neck braces, knee pads, leathers, you know full protection gear."

He said texting and driving is one reason why he would not consider driving without a helmet.

"Five years ago people were driving, now they're all texting," Swindell said. "So none of us are safe, let alone if you're on a motorcycle."

Illinois and Iowa are the only two states that do not have any helmet laws. Missouri is currently one of 19 states that mandates helmets for all ages. You can find out more about other state helmet laws here.

Missouri would be the ninth state to have a mandatory helmet law for people 21 years and younger.

The committee did not vote on the bill Tuesday.