Bill may change state's motorcycle helmet law
Barry County sheriff against House proposal
A new State House bill is making its way through the General Assembly and could allow motorcycle riders who are 18 and older to not have to wear a helmet in Missouri.
"I believe if you are riding a motorcycle, you ought to have a helmet," said Mick Epperly, Barry County sheriff.
If you get thrown off of a motorcycle, chances of hitting your head are real high, Epperly said. The helmet protects the rider's head just like football players wear helmets to protect their heads.
On Dec. 24, 2014, recently-elected State Rep. Shane Roden, R-Cedar Hill, pre-filed House Bill 310, requiring only motorcycle or motor tricycle passengers and operators under 18 to wear helmets.
As of Dec. 30, 2014, 154,830 motorcycles and motor tricycles were registered in the state of Missouri, and 1,163 were registered in Barry County, said Michelle Gleba, director of communications at the Missouri Department of Revenue.
Bob Whitescarver, who lives outside of Cassville, said he wears a helmet when he rides any one of his 15 motorcycles, but he thinks the choice should be his decision and not be made by people who do not ride motorcycles.
Whitescarver, 73, said he has been going to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota for the last 10 years, and he has been riding motorcycles since 1956. The rally draws about 600,000 riders.
"If somebody is coming from the South going up to Sturgis, they avoid the state of Missouri," he said. "They go in through Arkansas and up Kansas. They will avoid this state because it requires a helmet because they can ride through these other states that don't require it.
"My point there is, along the way they are stopping and buying gas, they are getting meals, and they avoid the state of Missouri. We are actually missing the revenue."
If passed, the bill could take effect Aug. 28.