US State Removes Motorcycle Helmet Mandate, The Inevitable Happens

Missouri removed its mandate for people to wear motorcycle helmets when riding a bike, and death rates for bikers went up

Shark Spartan GT Pro Carbon helmet - wearing

Wearing a motorcycle helmet when riding a bike might seem a particularly obvious step to take, but in the US all it takes is a law to change for people to drop the lid and rawdog the asphalt.

Missouri removed its mandate for bikers - over the age of 26 with life insurance - to wear motorcycle helmets in 2020, and since then there has been a 47 per cent increase in the number of motorcyclists killed per year in the state. According to KBIA, 2023 was Missouri’s worst year for motorcycle deaths, with 174. 

Although this would hardly be a surprising consequence for that action, factors other than the helmet law repeal could have played a part in the statistics, too. For example, the increase in traffic levels in 2022 and 2023 compared to 2020 and 2021 which were both more impacted by the pandemic.

Responsibility for bikers wearing helmets while riding a motorcycle can’t lie only with the Missouri state authorities in this case, because every person carries responsibility for their own body and the decisions they make about their own body, but at the same time, it surely can’t have come as a shock that the number of road deaths for motorcyclists has increased since the mandate was repealed.

Jon Nelson, Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) assistant to the State Highway Safety and Traffic Engineer, told the committee to which the above statistics were revealed that “We’ve seen in other states [that] whenever they’ve repealed a helmet law [there are] similar increases [to the number of motorcyclists killed]”. Despite the statistics, the aforementioned committee reportedly did not discuss re-implementing the motorcycle helmet mandate.

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