JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – One of the longest-running debates in the Missouri capitol involves motorcycle helmets.
The House Transportation Committee held a public hearing on proposed legislation that would repeal the requirement for motorcyclists over the age of 17 to wear one.
Supporters say bikers should have the freedom to choose and argue helmets actually give some bikers a false sense of security.
Opponents included the mother of a severely injured biker.
She testified a helmet saved his life.
Supporters say some bikers avoid Missouri because they don’t want to buy a helmet.
“Got Friends all over the nation and they will bypass Missouri to go to say Sturgis or any of the other big rallies that are going on across the country,” Deanna Rhodes from Freedom of Road Riders said. “We are losing dollars left and right because they do not want to come into our state.”
Those testifying against a repeal included MoDot director Patrick McKenna.
“We feel this proposed legislation is a move in the wrong direction for public safety in Missouri,” McKenna said. “MoDot alongside highway safety partners across the state have opposed helmet repeal legislation since the early 2000’s on the grounds that helmets have proven to save lives and prevent brain injuries.”
Two lawmakers are sponsoring bills that would repeal the helmet requirement.
They are state representatives Jered Taylor and Shane Roden.
The proposed legislation would require bikers to have medical insurance if they want to be helmet-free.