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Does Missouri Have a Helmet Law?

Does Missouri Have a Helmet Law?

Missouri is famous for its rolling hills and lush landscapes, making it a popular destination for motorcycle riders. But before you hit the open road, it’s important to know whether Missouri has a helmet law. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on Missouri’s helmet laws—everything from frequently asked questions to helpful tips for keeping safe on the road. Read on to learn more!

What Is Missouri’s Helmet Law?

In Missouri, motorcyclists are required to wear a helmet while riding. This applies to both drivers and passengers of all ages. All helmets must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218, which is a set of requirements established by the U.S. Department of Transportation that dictate the design, construction, and labeling performance of helmets. [1]

Missouri’s General Rule for Motorcycle Helmet Use

In Missouri, all motorcyclists are required by law to wear helmets. This applies regardless of age or experience level. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. [1]

Are There Exceptions to Missouri’s Helmet Law?

Yes, in certain cases Missouri’s helmet law does not apply. Riders under the age of 18 are exempt from having to wear a helmet if they:

  • Have completed a safety education course approved by the Missouri Highway Patrol;
  • Are riding on private property; or
  • Are operating a three-wheeled vehicle with a body enclosed cab.

In addition, motorcyclists aged 21 and over can legally ride without a helmet if they:

  • Have had their motorcycle endorsement for at least two years; or
  • Have purchased additional medical insurance coverage of at least $50,000 per person. [2]

Are There Exceptions to Missouri’s Helmet Law?

Complying with Missouri’s Insurance Exception

While it may seem like Missouri does not have a helmet law, there is an exception. All motorcyclists must carry at least $50,000 in liability insurance and the policy must provide for personal injury protection benefits for uninsured motorists. If you don’t carry this amount of insurance, you are not allowed to ride without a helmet in Missouri.

To comply with this exception, you should contact your insurance provider and make sure you have the correct amount of coverage for your motorcycle. Also, be sure to check that your policy covers personal injury protection benefits for uninsured motorists. [2]

When Did Missouri Repeal Its Helmet Law?

In August 2019, Missouri officially repealed its helmet law. Prior to this repeal, all motorcyclists in the state were required to wear helmets while riding. This change makes Missouri one of only three states that do not have a mandatory helmet law. However, if you are under 21 or have been licensed to ride for less than one year, you are still required to wear a helmet while riding. [2]

Is Missouri’s Helmet Law Constitutional?

When it comes to motorcycle safety, the state of Missouri takes a different approach than many other states. They do not have a universal helmet law requiring all riders to wear helmets while operating their motorcycles. However, they do have certain laws in place that can affect how and when you need to wear your helmet.

In Missouri, individuals under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet while riding. This law applies even if they hold a valid driver’s license or permit, and even if they are a passenger on a motorcycle. Furthermore, anyone operating or riding on a motorcycle without handlebars (such as an ATV) must always wear a helmet regardless of age. [2]

Is Eye Protection Required for Motorcyclists in Missouri?

Motorcyclists in Missouri are required to wear eye protection while riding. The law requires all riders and passengers of motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, mopeds, and bicycles to wear eye protection that complies with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications. This includes face shields, goggles, or glasses with lenses made of polycarbonate. If a motorcycle is not equipped with a windscreen or windshield, the rider must wear an eye-protective device to be in compliance with the law. [1]

Required for Motorcyclists in Missouri?

What Is the Penalty for Operating a Without a Helmet in Missouri?

If you are involved in an accident while operating a motorcycle without a helmet, and you suffer injuries as a result, there are a few things to consider. Depending on the severity of your injuries, if proper treatment and rehabilitation is not received or if you suffer long-term physical or mental impairments due to the accident, you may be held legally liable for any damages caused.

You may also face civil penalties in the form of fines or jail time. In some cases, Missouri can suspend or revoke your driving privileges if you are found operating a motorcycle without a helmet. Additionally, your insurance premiums may be affected as a result of not wearing a helmet. [1]

Missouri Helmet Laws and Car Accident Compensation

In Missouri, there is no helmet law that requires motorcyclists to wear a helmet. While this may seem like a risky decision, research shows that helmets are not necessarily the best way to protect riders in the event of an accident.

For example, wearing a helmet does not help prevent any brain injuries or spinal damage caused by impact to the head or neck. Instead, helmets are most effective at preventing facial injuries and lacerations. Additionally, wearing a helmet can actually increase the chances of serious neck injury in certain types of accidents.

When it comes to car accident compensation in Missouri, victims can still receive compensation for their injuries even if they were not wearing a helmet. This is because the law requires drivers to maintain a certain level of safety on the road, regardless of what kind of protective gear they are wearing. If a driver fails to meet this standard and causes an accident that results in injury, then they may be held liable for damages. [1]

Comparative Negligence and Motorcycle Accidents

In addition to the helmet law, motorcyclists should also be aware of Missouri’s comparative negligence laws. Unlike many other states that adhere to pure contributory negligence rules, Missouri follows a modified comparative fault system.

Under this rule, anyone who is injured may recover damages as long as they were less than 50% at fault. However, any damages that they receive will be reduced by the percentage of their fault in causing the accident. For example, if a motorcyclist is found to be 30% at fault for an accident, any damages awarded will be reduced by 30%. [1]

Not Wearing a Helmet and Claiming Compensation

When the accident is not your fault and you did not wear a helmet, you may still be able to claim compensation. Some states allow victims that were not wearing helmets to recover damages in certain circumstances. In Missouri, this exception applies if you can prove that wearing a helmet would have been of no use or could have increased your injuries from the accident. This is a difficult standard to meet and usually requires expert testimony as well as evidence that you would have been less safe if you had been wearing a helmet. [3]

Helmet and Claiming Compensation

Do Motorcycle Helmets Save Lives?

The short answer is yes, motorcycle helmets do save lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 2017 alone, helmets saved an estimated 1,859 lives of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes. It’s estimated that if all motorcyclists had worn a helmet, an additional 802 lives could have been saved.

Helmets are designed to work by absorbing and dispersing energy that would otherwise be transferred directly to the head and neck during a crash. Helmet shells are made of hard, durable plastic and possess strong impact-resistant properties. The inside of a helmet typically has several layers of padding for added cushioning and shock absorption in case of a crash. [3]

Reasons to Always Wear a Helmet

Even though Missouri does not have a helmet law, wearing a helmet when operating or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle is still highly recommended. Here are some of the primary reasons why:

Protection from Head Trauma: A motorcycle helmet can greatly reduce the severity of head trauma in the event of an accident by providing cushioning and dissipating the force of an impact. This can help to reduce or even prevent a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Protection from Weather: Wearing a helmet can provide protection from wind, rain, hail, snow, low temperatures, and other weather conditions that you may encounter while riding a motorcycle.

Improved Visibility: Wearing a helmet can make it easier for other drivers to see you, as the bright colors and reflective materials on many helmets make riders more visible to others.

Noise Reduction: A full-face helmet or one with ear covers provides protection from loud noises while riding, making it safer and more comfortable. [2]

Enforcement of Missouri’s Helmet Law

In Missouri, it is compulsory for all motorcyclists and passengers to wear a helmet when riding on public roads. The law also applies to moped riders and passengers over the age of 16. Riders without a helmet can be cited with a ticket that carries fines up to $25.

If you are caught not wearing a helmet, you can also be required to take a safety course on the proper use of safety gear. Additionally, riders with no helmet may have difficulty finding an insurer who will cover them in case of an accident. [1]

Enforcement of Missouri’s Helmet Law

What You Need to Know About Helmet Laws for Children

When it comes to motorcycle safety, helmets are an important part of the equation. Unfortunately, people throughout the nation do not always make sure that their children wear a helmet when riding on a motorcycle. To ensure that kids stay safe while riding, some states have laws requiring all riders wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle. But does Missouri have such a law?

In Missouri, it is required that anyone under the age of 18 must wear an approved helmet when operating or riding on a motorcycle. This includes passengers as well as drivers. The helmet must also meet U.S. Department of Transportation standards and be securely fastened with a chin strap while the vehicle is in motion. [1]

Vehicles to Which the Motorcycle Helmet Laws Do Not Apply

The motorcycle helmet law in Missouri does not apply to a few vehicles. Motorized bicycles do not require the riders to wear helmets, as long as the motor is of 50cc or less and the vehicle is designed for less than 30mph on level ground. Similarly, an enclosed three-wheeled vehicle that has been approved by the Department of Revenue and is operated at less than 25mph or has a motor of 50cc or less does not require the rider to wear a helmet.

The law also allows for mopeds, scooters, and motor-driven cycles that have been designed for speeds between 30 and 45 mph. These vehicles must have engines of 250 cc maximum and the driver must be at least 16 years old and have a valid driver’s license. However, although these vehicles are exempt from the helmet law, it is still recommended for riders to wear helmets for their enhanced protection and safety. [2]

What Is The Difference Between Certified And Non-Certified Helmets?

In Missouri, the law states that any rider of a motor vehicle must wear an approved helmet. However, not all helmets are created equal. The state requires riders to use a certified helmet, which is one that has gone through a series of rigorous tests and been approved by the DOT (Department of Transportation). Non-certified helmets may look the same, but they do not offer the same protection as certified helmets.

A DOT-certified helmet will have a label that states “DOT approved” and it should also include manufacturer’s information such as the model, size and date of manufacture. The certification may be printed on either the back or side of the helmet. It is important to note that the DOT does not certify novelty or toy helmets, so riders should always use a certified helmet when operating a motor vehicle in Missouri. [2]

Who Is Liable In A Motorcycle Accident?

If you have been in a motorcycle accident in Missouri, you may be wondering who is liable for the damages and injuries. Typically, the person or entity responsible for causing an accident will be held liable for any resulting losses. In order to determine liability, it’s important to understand what makes up negligence, as well as any laws regarding motorcycles in Missouri. [3]

Is Choosing Not To Wear A Helmet Considered Negligence?

No. Choosing not to wear a helmet is not considered negligence in the state of Missouri, except for those under the age of 18. For minors, it is illegal for them to ride without a helmet and could be grounds for legal action or civil liability if an accident occurs. Additionally, individuals who are over 18 who choose not to wear a helmet can still be held legally accountable for their failure to wear a helmet, depending on the severity of injury sustained. Therefore, it is important that all riders understand the risks associated with not wearing a helmet and make an educated decision about whether or not they want to wear one. [3]

Are Helmets Effective In Preventing Injuries?

Yes, helmets are proven to be highly effective in preventing serious injuries and even death while riding a motorcycle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries for motorcycle riders, and 67% effective for passengers. Helmets can also help protect against facial and head lacerations, which can be significant and costly injuries. [3]

Other Ways To Prevent Motorcycle Injuries

In addition to wearing a helmet, there are other ways you can help protect yourself from injury while riding a motorcycle in Missouri.

  • Wear protective gear: In addition to a helmet, it is important to wear protective clothing including boots, gloves, and long sleeve jackets or pants. This not only provides an extra layer of protection against injury, but also helps to protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays and biting insects.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: It is important to stay alert at all times while riding a motorcycle. Pay attention to other vehicles on the road, look out for obstacles in the road such as potholes or debris, and know the speed limit. Being aware of your surroundings can help prevent accidents and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Practice safety: Regularly inspect and maintain your motorcycle, take refresher courses in safe riding techniques, and never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Having good safety practices will help to keep you safe on the road. [3]


Did Missouri get rid of the helmet law?

No, Missouri still has a helmet law in place. This means that all riders and passengers of motorcycles are required to wear a helmet at all times while riding. Motorcycle operators must also have eye protection device such as goggles or face shields.

Did Missouri get rid of the helmet law?

Are you required to wear a motorcycle helmet in Missouri?

Yes, all riders and passengers of motorcycles in Missouri are required to wear a helmet at all times while riding. Motorcycle operators must also have eye protection device such as goggles or face shields.

Which US states have no helmet law?

Currently, the states of Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire do not have any helmet laws. However, riders in these states may choose to wear a helmet voluntarily if they wish.

How many people died in Missouri due to the helmet law?

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, in 2019 there were 86 fatalities due to motorcycle crashes. Of those deaths, 18% were not wearing a helmet at the time of their accident. This is why it is so important that all riders and passengers wear helmets while riding in Missouri.

Which state has the highest motorcycle death rate?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the state with the highest rate of motorcycle fatalities in 2018 was Mississippi, followed by California and Texas. The states with the lowest rates were Vermont, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.

Useful Video: Change in Missouri helmet law raises concerns


In conclusion, Missouri does not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet while riding – with some exceptions. Riders aged 21 and over who have had their motorcycle license for more than two years are exempt from wearing a helmet as long as they carry at least $10,000 in medical insurance coverage. Additionally, passengers on bikes without sidecars must also be 21 or older and have the same insurance coverage to ride without a helmet.

Ultimately, it is up to each motorcyclist to decide whether they want to wear a helmet while riding in Missouri. As always, safety should be the top priority for riders. Investing in quality protective gear is highly recommended so that you are as safe as possible while out on the roads.

We hope that this article has been helpful in answering your questions about whether Missouri has a helmet law. Safe and happy riding!


  1. https://thebradleylawfirm.com/personal-injury-resources/helmet-laws-in-missouri/
  2. https://lawtigers.com/blog/missouri-motorcycle-helmet-laws/
  3. https://rrcandassociates.com/its-motorcycle-season-make-sure-you-know-missouri-helmet-laws/