Missouri’s helmet laws have recently changed. If you plan to head out on your motorcycle anytime soon, you should be aware of how these changes affect you.

Prior to the recent change, all motorcycle operators and passengers were required to wear helmets on Missouri roadways. However, the helmet law was updated in 2020 to stipulate that only riders and passengers 25 and younger need to wear helmets. Those 26 and older with valid health insurance coverage do not need to wear a helmet.

Below, we’ll explain Missouri’s helmet laws in greater detail.


Changes to Missouri’s motorcycle helmet law in 2020

Under a federal highway funding bill passed in 1967, states that enacted motorcycle helmet laws would receive funding provided from the bill. Missouri passed its first motorcycle helmet law that year, and it required all riders to wear helmets regardless of age.

Missouri updated the language of its motorcycle helmet law in 2020 to exempt riders 26 years of age and older from wearing helmets, provided they have valid health insurance.

The following types of health insurance are accepted as proof of coverage:

  • A policy that provides at least $50,000 in medical benefits for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident
  • A rider with health insurance through their employer that would provide them with the same coverage if they were injured in a car accident

There are some additional requirements for motorcycle riders who choose not to wear helmets. They must have completed a motorcycle safety course approved by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). Additionally, they must have held their motorcycle license for at least two years.

If you are stopped by law enforcement for another traffic offense and found to be in violation of the helmet law, you will likely be issued a ticket. The fine for not wearing a helmet in Missouri is $25.

How is Missouri’s helmet law enforced?

Under the 2020 revisions to Missouri’s motorcycle helmet laws, Missouri has transitioned from a primary enforcement state to a secondary enforcement state. This means that an officer cannot stop you solely for not wearing a helmet. However, if you are stopped for another violation and are not wearing a helmet, you may be ticketed.

In other words, if a motorcycle rider is younger than 25, is not wearing a helmet and has otherwise not broken any other traffic laws, law enforcement officers in Missouri cannot pull them over.

Are motorcycle helmets effective?

There is significant evidence to suggest that motorcycle helmets are effective in preventing injuries and fatalities. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,872 motorcyclists in 2017.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of death by 37 percent and the risk of head injury by 69 percent.

Despite these statistics, some riders choose not to wear helmets out of personal preference. It’s important to remember that if you choose not to wear a helmet and are injured in a motorcycle accident, your health insurance may not cover your injuries.

If you have any questions about Missouri’s motorcycle helmet law or need help with another legal issue, contact NGK Law today. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help.

How wearing a helmet affects your Missouri personal injury claim

Choosing to wear a helmet can safeguard more than just your health. It can also help your personal injury claim.

Missouri is a comparative negligence state. This means that if you are injured in a motorcycle accident, your compensation may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you.

For example, let’s say you were in a motorcycle accident and suffered $100,000 in damages. The other driver was found to be 80 percent at fault and you were 20 percent at fault. You would only be able to recover $80,000 from the other driver’s insurance company because you were partially at fault for the accident.

Choosing to wear a helmet can show that you did everything possible to reduce your risk of injury while you were on the road. This will reduce the likelihood that your damages will be reduced.

Conversely, an at-fault driver might seize on the fact that you did not wear a helmet, and they could attempt to use this to characterize you as negligent.

Motorcycle accidents are serious. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle crash, you might be facing medical bills, lost time from work and an extended recovery period.

The personal injury attorneys at NGK Law are here to help. We will review the facts of your case and work to recover the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation – 314-241-1919.


© 2016 - 2023 NGK LAW FIRM | All Rights Reserved