Missouri motorcycle helmet bill goes to governor

After years of trying and coming up short, motorcycle riders are close to winning the freedom to cast aside their helmets.

The Missouri General Assembly is sending Gov. Jay Nixon a bill that would repeal most of a law that requires a motorcycle rider to wear a helmet.

Safety advocates say the measure couldn't come at a worse time, because Missouri registered a record 107 motorcycle fatalities last year. State officials have developed a plan to turn back the surge, but they say repeal of the helmet law would put the initiative in jeopardy.

"The bill is just anti-safety. It's a huge step backward," said Leanna Depue, director of highway safety for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

"How could someone morally and ethically vote for a bill when you know people are going to die and head injuries are going to increase? How do you justify that?" she asked.

Opponents of the state's 1967 mandatory helmet law don't see it that way. They say it is government interference with the right of people to make decisions for themselves.

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