Does Missouri have a law that requires motorcycle riders to wear a helmet?
Yes. But the law doesn't stop there. Like a number of other states, Missouri has a "universal" motorcycle helmet law on the books, and it mandates helmet use by anyone riding on a motorcycle, whether as an operator or as a passenger.
Specifically, Missouri Revised Statutes section 302.020 states that "Every person operating or riding as a passenger on any motorcycle…upon any highway of this state shall wear protective headgear at all times the vehicle is in motion. The protective headgear shall meet reasonable standards and specifications established by the director."
The "director" reference means the Director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, the branch of the state government that regulates motor vehicles (check out the Motorcycle Operator Manual from the Department.)
If you commit a helmet law violation in Missouri, section 302.020 mandates that you be cited for an infraction and fined no more than 25 dollars. No points will be assessed against your driving record. But if you get injured in a motorcycle accident in Missouri and you aren't wearing a helmet, a citation may not be the only cost.
If you end up filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver and the case goes to trial, the jury could decide that the fact that you weren't wearing a helmet means you were also negligent, and any damages award you receive could be significantly reduced. That kind of result is more likely if you're seeking compensation for head injuries. Learn more about shared fault rules in Missouri traffic accident cases in our article Missouri Car Accident Laws.
by: David Goguen, J.D.