On Tuesday, July 14, I was pleased to hear the governor signed House Bill 1963 into law. This legislation dealt with various transportation related-bills, including my Senate Bill 590, which lifts the requirement that everyone operating a motorcycle or motortricycle must wear a helmet. The bill signed by the governor also has an age requirement of 26 years to ride without a helmet and the rider has to meet certain health insurance standards.
In 2019, a similar proposal was approved by the General Assembly as a part of a larger legislative package, but was ultimately vetoed by the governor. This year, I was thrilled to see the helmet legislation make it across the legislative finish line and signed into law. This is an issue I have been working on for several years, and I am humbled and proud to see it finally become a reality for so many of the motorcycle riders in our state.
In my opinion, wearing a helmet should be a personal choice. I have heard from countless experienced motorcycle riders that they prefer not to wear a helmet, and they believe it should be up to the rider as to whether or not they wear a helmet.
Over the past several years, I believe Missouri’s helmet requirement may have had a negative effect on to our state’s bottom line. Several of our neighboring states do not require individuals to wear a helmet, and since Missouri did, I believe it may have caused bikers to avoid driving through Missouri entirely. By lifting this requirement, like our neighboring states, I believe we are putting our state on an equal playing field with its neighbors when it comes to attracting motorcycle riders to the Show-Me State.
While I am excited to see the impact this policy change has on tourism in our state; ultimately, lifting the helmet requirement is about protecting our personal liberties. As an elected official, I will always be committed to protecting the freedoms enjoyed by every Missourian. From my perspective, the action taken by the governor in signing this bill into law sends a strong message that our state values personal freedoms and the responsibility that comes with it.
Please visit Sen. Burlison’s official Missouri Senate website at senate.mo.gov/burlison for more legislative and constituent resources.