JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Coming as close as they've been in a decade, Missouri bikers still won’t be feeling the wind in their hair any time soon.
Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday vetoed a bill that would have let adult motorcyclists ride without helmets.
The decision came after weeks in which the Democrat avoided comment on the bill and appeared genuinely conflicted over whether to sign it into law.
He called his veto “the safe and cost-effective choice,” referring to concerns for bikers and those bearing the price of treating additional and more severe head injuries.
“In terms of lives and of dollars, the cost of repealing Missouri’s helmet law simply would have been too high,” he said in a statement.
The bill would have exempted riders older than 21, although headgear still would have been required on interstates. The exemption also would have expired in five years.
Tony Sheppard, founder of the motorcycle organization ABATE for Missouri, said he was neither surprised nor upset over the veto of what he characterized as a flawed bill.
“Yes, I’d like to ride around without a helmet, but I want to do it the right way,” Sheppard said. “And don’t just give me half the law.”
The law’s distinction between interstates and smaller roads was “backward,” he said, because the vast majority of motorcycle accidents occur on state and local roadways.
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