An issue that has bounced around the state Legislature for years is the requirement of wearing a helmet by motorcycle riders. The latest action in this issue is that Gov. Mike Parson vetoed a bill that would have allowed some motorcycle riders to drive without helmets.
The governor, who supported no helmet bills when he was a member of the General Assembly to eliminate the helmet requirement, said in his veto message that he vetoed the latest bill because of an unrelated provision in the measure that dealt with suspending driver’s licenses because of failure to pay court costs. The governor said that would undermine another law enacted after protests in Ferguson broke out after the shooting of Michael Brown by a white police officer.
The governor also said the legislation likely violates the Missouri Constitution’s ban on legislation that unfairly targets one city or region.
The vetoed legislation would have repealed Missouri’s helmet requirement for motorcycle riders who are at least 18 years old and have insurance.
Lawmakers have tried to repeal the law in the past. The last time they passed a measure was in 2009, but that bill was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon.
There is no question that wearing a helmet is a safety measure. Statistics nationwide on motorcycle accidents have proven the safety value of wearing a helmet. Helmets save lives, prevent head injuries and reduce health costs when there are motorcycle accidents.
It makes no sense to eliminate the helmet requirement.
Gov. Parson did the right thing to veto the legislation even though many may not agree with the reasons he gave. The helmet requirement is a proven safety measure.
That’s why we don’t understand the General Assembly’s continued action in trying to eliminate helmets for motorcycle riders.