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Motorcycle helmets to stay on

April 14, 2005
By: Tim Carnahan
State Capital Bureau
Links: SB12

Missouri motorcyclists will need to keep strapping on their helmets, at least for the time being. As Tim Carnahan reports from the state Capitol, state Democrats have talked the bill back on the shelf.

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A filibuster blocked a vote on the bill, which would remove the motorcycle helmet requirement for riders over 21 years of age.

Democratic Saint Louis Senator Pat Dougherty said Missouri can not afford to make taxpayers pick up medical bills for helmetless riders lacking health insurance.

Actuality:DGHL2
RunTime: 14secs
OutCue: "...hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Contents: In order for someone to have the joy and ability to go fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty miles an hour down the highway and feel that exuberence the taxpayer is going to be charged hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Dougherty said motorcycle fatalities increased in states that removed the helmet requirement.

Audrain County Republican John Cauthorn sponsored the bill, which, over the last seven years, has made an annual unsucessful trip to becoming law.

Cauthorn argues safe riding is a matter of personal responsibility, not helmet requirements.

From the state Capitol, I'm Tim Carnahan.

###TDC###

Motorcycle helmets will stay on, at least for now. Tim Carnahan has more from the state Capitol.

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A filibuster has stalled passage of a bill removing the motorcycle helmet requirement for riders over 21 years old.

Debate touched on many topics, and testimony was often emotional, including one Senator's account of her son's death due to injuries sustained while riding without a helmet.

Bill supporters, like Republican Senator Kevin Engler say it is an issue of personal freedom, and responsibility.

Actuality:ENGLER2
RunTime: 7secs
OutCue: "...have that choice."
Contents: The important point is if someone wants that choice, is 21 years old, responsible, should be given that choice.

Opponents, like Democratic Saint Louis Senator Pat Dougherty said fatalities, and taxpayer costs associated to those accidents, increased in states removing the helmet requirement.

From the state Capitol, I'm Tim Carnahan.

###TDC###

Worried parents or spouses of motorcycle riders may rest a little easier tonight. As Tim Carnahan reports, the Missouri Senate has shelved a bill removing the motorcycle helmet requirement.

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The bill removing the motorcycle helmet requirement for riders over 21 years old has made an almost yearly, and unsuccessful, appearance in the Missouri legislature.

This year, the bill was stalled by a Senate filibuster.

The bill sparked some personal, emotional testimony as Senators recalled loved ones involved in motorcycle accidents.

Jasper County Republican Senator Gary Nodler said data minimizing the risk of riding without a helmet is outweighed by what actually happens when a helmetless rider crashes their bike.

Actuality:NODLERHL
RunTime: 18secs
OutCue: "...without a helmet."
Contents: It's one thing to cite statistics, probabilities, risks, in an actuarial sense, and it's another thing to observe a fatality that's a direct consequence of somebody riding a motorcycle without a helmet.

Supporters of the bill say wearing a helmet is a personal choice, and that removing the requirement for adults emphasizes personal responsibility and freedom.

From the state Capitol, I'm Tim Carnahan.