Missouri Helmet Law Stands

July 9, 2009

All Posts, News

Three and a half months after the Missouri Senate voted to repeal that state’s helmet law, Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the bill. Nixon did it just before Independence Day at the end of a week when the only thing that happened, according to most American newscasts, was that Michael Jackson remained dead.

Nixon’s veto is an impressive victory for the insurance lobby. The lobby may not actually be entitled to vote but it sure can show politicians a whole lotta money. And, money talks.

The helmet law repeal, Senate Bill 202, would have allowed riders over the age of 20 to ride anywhere except on Interstate Highways with a bare head.

Helmets Save Lives

As the governor explained it, his veto was all about keeping bikers safe from themselves.

“In terms of lives and of dollars, the cost of repealing Missouri’s helmet law simply would have been too high,” Nixon declared in an email. An email! Not even a video press release! “By keeping Missouri’s helmet law intact, we will save numerous lives, while also saving Missouri taxpayers millions of dollars in increased health care costs. Keeping our helmet law in place was the safe and cost-effective choice for Missouri.”

In other words, government does not even have to pretend to serve the will of the people anymore. Government now exists to act in the best interests of a disenfranchised people – as decided by corporate lobbies.

Good Citizens

The usual authorities supported Nixon’s veto. Tom Holloway, a spokesman for the Missouri State Medical Association said his lobbying group “believes very strongly that the helmet law serves the state well. It’s saved lives. It’s prevented injuries. And, it’s saved countless dollars in unnecessary health care costs.”

Missouri Department of Transportation Director Pete Rahn, an enormously unpleasant know-it-all had campaigned against the repeal. Rahn spent $33,000 of public money to conduct a poll to prove that motorcyclists like to wear helmets. Meanwhile Rahn complained yesterday that Missouri was running out of highway funds.

And, a traffic cop in St. Joseph named Bill McCammon was widely quoted as saying that repealing the helmet law would result in a “fifty percent increase in motorcycle fatalities.” McCammon declined to say he how he determined his prediction.


The usual dissenters criticized the veto. Mark Chapman, chairman of a bikers’ rights group in Missouri called the Freedom of the Road Riders, told the Associated Press that if Missouri really cared about safety, the police would start pulling over people for not wearing seat belts, make horse and bicycles riders wear helmets and tell fat people to lose weight.

“It’s a basic freedom of choice,” Chapman said. “Even God gives me a right to choose whether I believe in Him or not. Another human being should not be able to make a choice for someone else.”

Unless, of course, they are really, really rich. And meanwhile, this just in. Michael Jackson is still dead!

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12 Responses to “Missouri Helmet Law Stands”

  1. Lee Dorman Says:

    I have been riding “Bikes” since I was 12 years old. Lots of spills, stupid stunts, RIDING with 3 passengers, riding across a Water pipe for miles. Being hit by Cars, and I never had a Helmet, and not one injury to my head. I always ended up with my Knees Scraped, Elbows scratched up, and other minor injuries, that a cotton ball with Iodine always solved. Now, I have to ride a “Bike” with a Helmet that prevents me from hearing Traffic, makes it difficult for me to see traffic, and no way to block out the direct sun light. Having to compete with women who Text on their Cell Phones, day and night, having to take the ditch a few times a day, and still not getting injuries to my Head. Why???????????? I’m okay with a Helmet on an Interstate Hway, but in my local community…….! That’s crazy.

  2. Sal Says:

    . Missouri’s losing a lot of money because of their helmet law they’re losing money to Illinois close by n other states

  3. Sal Says:

    If anything they have it backwards you should need a helmet when you’re not on the highway there’s more chance of getting hit than wen u r on the highway

  4. biker Says:

    I have been riding 40 years with and with out a helmet and I should have the right to choose.What makes me mad is I am forced to use it. But you can have kids riding a souped up scooter that runs 50 MPH with no helmet on public roads no insurance or a license plate somethings not right here. I am 56 years old and I am told by some butt hole that I don’t have a right or choice.What a bunch of crap.

  5. James Smallwood Says:

    LoL, I been hearing all this since I been riding,40 years, Im at the point if I feel like not wearing my helmet that day I just wont, yep I will get a ticket, and pay a fine for my freedom, but these days freedom isn’t free.

  6. robert Says:

    Hell its only a 25 dollar fine if you get caught screw it

  7. Running Wolf Says:

    politicians in America are no different by and large, to those here-
    most don’t know what they are talking about!
    Helmets save us from ourselves?
    What asshole thought that up?
    And when will they realise most bikers get hurt because of damn car drivers-I speak from experience!
    If you come off your bike, the helmet might save your head-ALL the other bones could be completely broken!
    Ride To Live-Live To Ride, screw diplomats that don’t so will never understand!

  8. Treeguy Says:

    I’ll wear the damn helmet if I have to but if I get hurt from the helmet or get involved in a wreck because of a helmet blocking my peripheral vision and yes it does too! I will be filing a big law suit on MO or haunting those who tell me how to ride if I die.

    If and when someone does something stupid in front of you you need to know NOW where you can go to avoid a wreck. And hear other cars around you to have a plan at all times.

    I’m so pissed about this. A state that (at one time not long ago anyway) thinks it’s OK if we don’t wear eye protection has lost all credibility with me on motorcycle safety.

    Eye protection is an VERY often a must and to me knowing my (VERY often needed) escape routes when I do run into bad drivers is also a MUST often.

    OK here we go…Put a big man in the back set of your car. Have him put his big hands (from behind) over your ears. Not having his hands to close to your eyes but just on the sides. Now you can still see and hear right? Not as good as should but you can still hear and see somewhat with this undisputed restriction.

    Now in that situation do you feel safe as possible? Or would you be better off without the guy in the backseat?

    I have rode in 3 other state without helmet laws for senior rides. BUT ALL (without exception) did need require eye protection which NO ONE ever disputes. I guess MO does now finally have such a law…Hell I don’t know but always will anyway.

    Test what I’m saying…Idle though a full parking lot with your DOT helmet for a bit watching out for everyone. Now slip the helmet off and do it again. You will see a BIG difference. I guess faster speeds doesn’t apply to this test?

    I gotta get…big rally ride in Braymer Mo today and I’ll take the damn helmet.

  9. Smokey Strodtman Says:

    Nixon DID lie. A good friend of mine (and FORR member) asked him point blank three times if he would sign the bill and all three times he said “yes”. IMO, both FORR and ABATE should start preparing grass roots campaigns to send Nixon to the unemployment office in 2012. The helmet law costs this state a lot of tourism dollars because bikers from non-helmet law states refuse to pack a helmet just to go through MO.

  10. MotleySTL Says:

    This time was the closest in years. When Chuck Graham wasn’t reelected things really took a good turn and we never would have had a chance had he been ibvolved. Much turbulance in the F.O.R.R. and ABATE leadership over the past months/year,looks like it was good for the cause. These two groups have major gains in other considerations, failure to yield and some other big issues have been worked and are in place now. Thanks to all those folks who never quit and give it all, all the time. As I understand it (second hand info), Nixon really did lie.

  11. squirts Says:

    No disrespect, “Douglas”, but there’s no way in Hell you can convince me that B4BS can do ANY better that the hard working members of Missouri’s Freedom of the Road Riders (FORR) and the newly formed ABATE for Missouri. Your comment struck a nerve with me as the way I read it, you make like had B4BS been involved, Missouri would now be a helmet free state. If that was your intent, then that IS B.S. You’re right about campaign work…Grass roots, knockin’ on doors, and lobbyin’ policy wonks campaign work… Work which FORR and MO ABATE have been doin’ since the mid ’70’s. When everything gets boiled down, the reason Missouri didn’t modify its helmet law comes down to dollars and cents… Forget the FACT that Nixon LIED to members of FORR, who worked hard to get him the Governor’s position in the first place… Typical lyin’ sack-o-shit policy wonk if ya’ ask me. KUDOS to FORR and MO ABATE for workin’ so hard and bein’ so graceful when pullin’ the bloody knife from their backs. Respects, Squirts

  12. Douglas Says:

    There’s one thing that tops money when it comes to political influence. Bikers are better at it than anyone else, politicians love it more than anything else, and the insurance industry can’t do it at all.

    The answer, as simple as it sounds, is campaign work. That’s what we do at B4BS.NET. And the result is a legislative majority.

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