Missouri Motorcycle Helmet Law

The Missouri Helmet Law, also referred to as RSMo. 302.020(2), mandates that all motorcycle (or motor-tricycle) operators and passengers under the age of 26 must wear a helmet. Additionally, the law stipulates that individuals of any age holding an instruction permit are required to wear a helmet. However, motorcycle operators and passengers over the age of 26 are not legally obligated to wear a helmet if they possess health insurance.

How Missouri’s Helmet Law Is Enforced

The Missouri helmet law specifies that individuals cannot be stopped, inspected, or detained solely to check if they are complying with the helmet requirement. This means that law enforcement officers, such as police and highway patrol troopers, cannot pull over a motorcyclist just because they are not wearing a helmet. Officers can only issue a citation for not wearing a helmet after they have stopped a motorcyclist for a different traffic violation.

For instance, if a motorcyclist is pulled over for speeding, failing to yield, or having a broken taillight, the officer can then issue a ticket for not wearing a helmet if the motorcyclist is under 26 years old or is operating the motorcycle with an instruction permit. At that time, officers may ask the operator or passengers to provide proof of health insurance, which allows them to ride without a helmet. Additionally, the law states that the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles cannot add points to a driver’s record for a helmet law violation, but a judge can impose a fine for such a violation. The fine for a first-time offense cannot exceed $25.

Due to these lenient laws, enforcement is minimal, and little is done to ensure compliance. Law enforcement officers cannot determine a motorcyclist’s age, licensing status, or health insurance status without first stopping them for another traffic violation. Despite this lack of enforcement, it is still crucial to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle for safety and legal reasons.

Safety Considerations For Motorcyclists 

Despite the lenient enforcement of Missouri’s helmet laws, it is undeniable that wearing a helmet saves lives.

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, there were 104 motorcyclist fatalities in September 2021, with 54 of those riders not wearing helmets. This was a significant increase from 2020, where only 5 out of 82 fatalities involved motorcyclists without helmets. In July 2022, a motorcyclist who was not wearing a helmet died in St. Louis after losing control of his motorcycle and hitting a guardrail on I-170.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that over 5,500 motorcyclists died on U.S. roads in 2020, and more than 180,000 were treated in emergency departments for crash injuries. Helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by 69%. Riding without a helmet increases the risk of death, traumatic brain injury, and the medical costs associated with lifelong symptoms that can result from such injuries, including concussions. Even if riders have health insurance in compliance with Missouri law, head injuries can lead to permanent disabilities.

Contact Us For Additional Questions And Legal Help

Support Bikers is the world’s largest biker community. Our goal is to provide motorcyclists with the network and information they need to have enjoyable experiences. For further questions or help, contact us by filling out our online form. 

Support Bikers partners with motorcycle accident attorneys in Missouri to provide legal help, assistance, and informational resources. This includes law firms located in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia, Missouri. Additionally, if you believe that you may have a motorcycle accident case, you can get an estimate of how much your case may be worth using an online settlement calculator to understand the potential value of your claim and various case factors that may affect the claim’s value.

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