About two months after most news outlets reported its repeal, the state of Missouri still has a helmet law for riders over the age of 21. It is the same law that has been on the books for forty years.
If you are 21 in Missouri you can still buy a gun, act in pornography, feed your gambling addiction, drink until you puke, get married, get divorced, get addicted to Vicodin and vote-for whatever good voting does. But, you cannot legally feel the wind in your hair the next time you putt down to the convenience store. And if that sorry state of affairs does not change it will be because a fat, ugly man nobody ever voted for has decided that it is his job to run your life.
The Missouri Senate repealed the helmet law for people older than 21 on March 9th. Twenty-one. You can vote when you are 18. You can sign up to be an airborne ranger when you are 17.
The lower House also passed the bill last week. The finished version of the bill still requires helmets on interstate highways but not for trips across town.
Pete Rahn Knows Everything
So, it is now up to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to sign this new law. And, State Transportation Director Pete Rahn is very publically trying to talk him out that.
Rahn is the former head of the New Mexico Department of Transportation. Riders in New Mexico, by the way, are not required to wear a helmet after they reach age 17.
Rahn -the fat, ugly man nobody voted for-was appointed to the Missouri job in August 2004 and on that occasion Highway Commissioner James Anderson said, “We wanted someone who can walk on the Missouri River.” Apparently, Rahn thought Anderson was serious.
For no apparent reason other than to generate publicity for himself, Rahn has launched a crusade against helmet choice for grownups riding in their own neighborhoods. Rahn hired Abacus Associates of Hatfield, Massachusetts to take a poll. He intended for the poll to prove his point and so it did. According to Rahn’s poll 84 percent of everybody in Missouri thinks you should wear a special plastic hat.
Regrettably, although the results of the poll have been made public the cost of the poll has not. The cost is either a state secret or Rahn has been too busy publicizing himself to have time to reveal that.
On Planet Pete Rahn
Rahn staged his most recent television opportunity in front of the emergency room of a Jefferson City hospital. He told Governor Nixon to “save precious lives” by vetoing the bill. Right, Nixon was not actually there but Rahn talked to him anyway. Possibly, Rahn has to talk to the governor on television because he has lost his boss’s phone number.
The once noble but now forlorn St. Louis Post-Dispatch agreed with Rahn. It called letting those who ride decide a “spectacularly bad idea.”
But Missouri Senator Kurt Schaefer, who sponsored the motorcycle insurance bill that includes the partial helmet law repeal, called Rahn’s grandstanding “another example of an unelected bureaucrat attempting to set state policy.”
A spokesman for Governor Nixon said his boss plans to review the bill “and is going to carefully consider it before determining whether to sign the bill or veto it.” Whatever that means.