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Many of those who love to hit the road and feel the exhilaration that only a motorcycle can bring choose to do so without a helmet. While the decision of whether or not to wear a helmet comes down to the rider, it’s important to remember the legality of doing so. Otherwise, you may find yourself pulled over instead of enjoying the feel of the wind in your hair. 

Some Riders Must Still Wear a Helmet

Prior to 2020, Missouri enforced a universal helmet law as part of a federal highway funding bill, meaning that anyone operating a motorcycle on a state highway must wear a helmet. In 2020, however, Missouri revised this law to specify that certain riders may become exempt from wearing a helmet, under specific circumstances. 

Motorcycle operators and their passengers aged 26 years or older may now ride without a helmet, with some exceptions. Both the driver and their passengers must have health insurance which would provide coverage should an accident occur. The driver must also have a full motorcycle license, not an instructional permit. Even if the driver is over the age of 26, and has health insurance, they must wear a helmet for as long as they have an instruction permit. 

Missouri Is a Secondary Enforcement State

The amended helmet law also changed the enforcement procedures for police officers, changing the enforcement of the helmet law from primary to secondary. This means that simply not wearing a helmet is not justification for an officer to pull you over. However, if a rider is pulled over for another issue such as speeding, and the officer discovers that they’re under the age of 26, lack health insurance, or have an instructional permit, they may still receive a citation for riding without a helmet. 

You Should Still Wear a Helmet

Even though Missouri law has become more relaxed around the enforcement of helmets, riders should still wear a helmet whenever possible. While we always appreciate the option to choose, it’s a simple fact that motorcycle accident deaths and injuries went up significantly after the law was changed. Furthermore, many motorcycle crashes involving helmet-less drivers end in death or traumatic brain injury–not an outcome you want.

If you’ve recently suffered an injury from a motorcycle incident, or any other personal injury that you think deserves a day in court, contact Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC today. We’re here to ensure your case is heard and handled with the attention it deserves.