Archive photo of a damaged helmet

Motorcycle Deaths Soar In Missouri After Helmet Law Repeal

Motorcycle deaths have soared in Missouri in the wake of that state’s repeal of a universal helmet law in 2020. Last year was the deadliest ever for riders with 174 fatalities. Only 77 of the victims were known to be wearing a helmet.

The new data from the Missouri Department revealed that motorcycle deaths have risen 47 percent since the helmet law was repealed four years ago.

The sobering statistics were presented last week to the House Transportation Accountability Committee. Jon Nelson, an assistant to the State Highway Safety and Traffic Engineer, noted, “We’ve seen that in other states. Whenever they’ve repealed a helmet law, (there are) similar increases.”

File photo

It was back in 2020 that Missouri’s legislature did away with a law that mandated helmet use by riders 26 and older so long as they had proof of insurance. Nelson reported that of motorcyclists killed while not wearing a helmet, roughly 50 percent were unlicensed or not properly licensed.

In 2019, the last full year that Missouri had a helmet law, there were 121 motorcyclist deaths. In 2020, with the repeal taking effect in August, deaths totaled 118, but rose sharply in 2021 with 159 riders killed. The number stayed relatively flat in 2022 with 153 deaths but spiked in 2023 with 174 riders dying.

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Since 2010, RIDE-CT & RIDE-NewEngland has been reporting about motorcycling in New England and portions of New York.

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