Missouri Helmet Laws 2019

Helmet use when operating all types of bikes, scooters, and their motorized counterparts prevents serious injury during accidents. Although many riders do not like to use these tools, research has proven helmet-use can mean the difference between sustaining traumatic brain injury or concussion. Regardless, each state establishes their own rules and regulations surrounding helmet use in different contexts. A bike accident lawyer can explain the specifics of each law if you’ve been injured.

Missouri Helmet Law

The state of Missouri does not have established rules surrounding mandatory helmet use in the case of bicycles, scooters, or motorized vehicles in any case. However, several cities have established their own municipal laws that dictate certain age groups must wear helmets. For example, Columbia and St. Charles require individuals 16 and under to wear helmets while riding a bike.

Although Missouri doesn’t have established helmet laws, the state does warn that foregoing a helmet can cause head injuries, or death in severe cases.

Helmet-Use Statistics and Demographic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that bike-related injuries caused approximately 494,000 emergency room visits in 2013. Though alarming, this number provides quite a lot of data to examine in deciding how helmet-use impacts injury severity. Helmet use is a divisive topic, and even riders who live in states with strict helmet laws might not always abide by these statutes. In fact, only half of the millions of bike riders in America report wearing helmets, and this assumes all helmet-wearers were being honest.

Statistically, helmet-users are less likely to sustain severe injury, break facial bones, and/or die from injuries caused by bike accidents. For instance, of 6,267 bicyclists who were in severe accidents resulting in cranial bleeding, three-fourths of the population were un-helmeted. Three percent of the total population died in this study, with all fatalities taking place in un-helmeted riders. Head injuries can be severe, but wearing a helmet reduces their occurrence by 52%. This is a significant figure when deciding whether to wear a helmet before riding a bike.

Individuals who are most likely to wear helmets follow the same trend: they are white, female, and possess some form of insurance. Meanwhile, un-helmeted riders tend to be between ten and twenty years old. This age range typically views helmet-use as uncool, unfashionable, or a sign they aren’t confident in their riding abilities. These perceptions often lead to younger bike riders foregoing helmets even in states that require their use.

Common Bike Injuries

Outside of broken bones and fractures of the extremities, many bike-related head injuries are preventable and/or made less severe by wearing a helmet. Some common bike injuries that occur without helmet use include Traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Traumatic brain injury is an umbrella term that includes several different types of injuries differing in severity and location. Many bike-related cases of TBI involve internal bleeding or skull damage caused by impact. Helmeted riders exhibit a 52% decrease in head injuries after accidents. Meanwhile, un-helmeted riders have a higher probability of sustaining the following traumatic brain injuries:

Research shows that helmet-users who do sustain the previous injuries reduce the severity of the injuries. For instance, an individual who could have fractured their skull without a helmet on might only sustain a concussion while using this safety tool. Helmeted riders lessen the probability of needing brain surgery by taking this precaution.

Facial fractures are extremely common bike injuries in both helmeted and un-helmeted riders. However, helmeted riders exhibit a 31% decrease in these injuries. Facial fractures include injuries to the nose, jaw, and the lower half of the face in general. The protruding nature of padded helmets helps create this protection, in part by cushioning some impact by hitting the ground before the rider’s face does.

Although Missouri doesn’t legally require bike riders to wear a helmet, they do caution against riding without one. When it comes to safety, helmet-use is by far one of the best defenses against severe injury.