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?