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Today's Question: Nixon vetoes helmet bill

Monday, July 6, 2009 | 3:40 p.m. CDT; updated 4:33 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 6, 2009

Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed legislation Thursday that would have given motorcyclists, age 21 and older, the option to not wear helmets off interstate highways, citing it as the most "cost-effective choice" for Missouri. 

Much to the chagrin of lobbyists who claim to have received Nixon's verbal agreement to the legislation, the Missouri Department of Transportation spent $33,000 to conduct a public opinion poll in hopes of persuading the governor against the bill. Nixon said in a written statement that he had concerns about highway safety and daunting health care costs.  However, campaigners in favor of repealing the law promised Nixon that they would not give up.

The Associated Press reported that Mark Chapman, chairman of the Freedom of Road Riders of Missouri, said that if Missouri were truly concerned about safety, police would require those riding horses and bicycles to wear helmets and those who are obese to lose weight. The group also insists that legislators should focus on safer driving conditions and tighter motorcycle standards.

According to the poll conducted by the Transportation Department, 84 percent of Missourians support the current law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. 

If the state requires motorcyclist to wear helmets, is it unnecessarily infringing on their rights?


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Comments

Andrew Spain July 6, 2009 | 7:42 p.m.

I for one am thankful that Gov Nixon vetoed this bill. As a Paramedic, anything that saves a significant number of lives and is also reasonable is a good idea. Helmets prevent needless deaths and major head injuries requiring long term care (read into that expensive health care). Is it an infringement on individual rights or freedoms? Seat belts and traffic lights could be argued to be the same. Wearing helmets is a responsibility of those that ride motorcycles. Don't believe how important they are? 60% of traumatic deaths are a result of head injuries (American College of Surgeons). The numbers don't lie, be responsible and wear a helmet. By the way, that includes you bike and horse riders.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro July 6, 2009 | 7:58 p.m.

The wearing of helmets should not be an issue of governmental decree beyond the level of special warnings on packs of cigarettes and Tylenol boxes.
Riding a motorcycle is risky business to begin with.
I would sooner see motorcycles and roadways designed with better safety features then forcing riders to wear helmets.
Helmets should be based on educated and personal choice.
Government be dam-ed
Let the chips fall were they may.

(Report Comment)

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