In August 2020, new legislation in Columbia revised the previous universal motorcycle helmet laws that required all riders to wear head protection while operating a bike. This new legislation now requires only riders and passengers who are 25 years old or younger to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle.
Riders and passengers who are over 26 years and older are not required to wear a helmet if they carry appropriate medical insurance. For those under 25, failure to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle can result in criminal penalties. It is important for riders to understand Columbia motorcycle helmet laws as well as their rights regarding these regulations. To learn more about helmet laws, contact a dedicated motorcycle accident attorney today.
According to current Missouri law, law enforcement cannot stop a rider solely because they are not wearing a helmet. Specifically, the law states, “No person shall be stopped, inspected, or detained solely to determine compliance.”
The motorcycle helmet rule falls under what is known as a secondary enforcement offense. The law states that law enforcement cannot stop you solely because you or a passenger are not wearing a helmet. However, if you are stopped for another traffic violation, police can issue a citation to anyone operating or riding on the motorcycle who is under 26 years old and not wearing a helmet.
If a motorcyclist has been charged with breaking a helmet law in Columbia, they may be charged a fine of up to $25 for a first offense. It’s also noteworthy that the Missouri DMV cannot add points to an individual’s driving record for a failure to wear a helmet.
It can be argued that because of its classification as a secondary enforcement offense, Missouri’s new legislation is ineffective since law enforcement cannot stop riders to confirm compliance.
Riders in Columbia may also be less likely to wear a helmet because of the improbability of getting stopped for it. Opponents of this law may also argue that without all riders being mandated to wear helmets, motorcyclist fatalities may increase due to decreased protection from head injuries.
Unfortunately, the statistics have begun to bear out the effects of this law. Within a year of its passing, motorcyclist fatalities in Missouri increased by over 33% compared to the year prior, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). While motorcycle helmet law has become more permissive, motorcyclists of all ages should wear head protection for their own personal safety.
Besides safety, another factor to take into consideration when deciding to wear a helmet while riding is your ability to collect money for damages if you’re involved in an accident. Because Missouri utilizes comparative negligence to determine how much money an injured motorcyclist can collect for damages, a motorcyclist’s failure to wear a helmet can be used against them as evidence of negligent behavior. Therefore, if you were to be in an accident that was not your fault, and filed a personal injury claim, failure to wear a helmet may be used to reduce the amount of money you can collect for damages.
If a motorcyclist has been cited for failing to wear a helmet in Columbia, you may still have options available to you. A dedicated lawyer will help determine if the ticketing officer acted outside the scope of the law.
They will investigate the circumstances of the stop and determine if there was any form of profiling or discrimination involved in the issuance of the citation. A legal representative can also advise you on what steps should be taken to contest your ticket and fight for a favorable outcome to your case.
If you or someone you know has been cited for failing to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle in Columbia, contact the Law Offices of Chris Miller today.
We have experienced attorneys who can provide you with information regarding Columbia motorcycle helmet laws and knowledgeable representation. Contact us today for a free consultation.