CO-SPONSORS: Staples; DePasco (Koller)

COMMITTEE ACTION: Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Transportation by a vote of 18 to 5.

This substitute requires that motorcyclists under 21 years old wear helmets. Currently, all motorcyclists are required to wear helmets.

Any person operating or riding on a motorcycle or motortricycle must be protected by glasses, goggles, or a transparent shield. Contact lenses will not be acceptable eye protection devices.

FISCAL NOTE: No impact on state funds.

PROPONENTS: Supporters say that freedom of choice should be returned to Missouri's adult motorcyclists. Helmet laws do not stop accidents or affect accident or fatality rates. Rider training and motorist awareness have a greater impact on accident and fatality rates than mandatory helmet laws. Supporters also say this legislation will have a positive impact on Missouri's economy. Currently, 28 states allow some form of adult choice helmet laws.

Testifying for the bill were Senator Staples; and Freedom of Road Riders.

OPPONENTS: Those who oppose the bill say that motorcycle helmet laws do work. Helmet usage is the single most important factor governing survival in motorcycle crashes.

Testifying against the bill were Missouri Safety Council; Missouri Head Injury Advisory Council; John Blass; and Brian Noland, motorcycle head injury victim.

Robert Triplett, Legislative Analyst