Motorcycle helmet laws in Missouri

Update: Missouri’s motorcycle helmet laws updated on August 28th, 2020. Find the most up-to-date information about helmet requirements here.

Most states have cracked down on drivers and passengers wearing seat belts and staying off their phones. Traffic laws are intended to keep the roads safer and cut back on fatality rates. The states haven’t forgotten about motorcyclists. While Illinois is not on board, Missouri is one of the 19 states that have a universal helmet law.

The universal helmet law was introduced in 1967. Although not required, states utilized helmet laws to qualify for federal safety programs and highway construction funds. In the 1970s, the federal incentives for helmet laws stopped. But many states still require some motorcyclists wear helmets. Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire are the only few without a helmet law set in place.

Missouri helmet law

Motorcycle helmet laws vary state to state. There are currently three ways to identify states that do or do not participate, which include:

  • Universal law: A law that requires all motorcyclists wear a helmet.
  • Partial law: A law that requires only young riders (usually 17 and younger) and some adult riders wear helmets.
  • No motorcycle helmet law: These states never used the law, or repealed it.

Missouri law requires every person who is operating or riding a motorcycle or motortricycle on the highway wear a helmet.

Possible changes

Wearing a helmet is always a safer option for motorcyclists on the road. Current helmet laws exist to protect riders. The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention noted helmets cut the risk of death by more than one third. That knowledge aside, some Missouri motorcyclists are pushing for change. Some people wonder if wearing a helmet should only be the individual’s choice, and not monitored by the state.


Just like seatbelt and “no texting while driving” laws, there are fines for not wearing a helmet on Missouri highways. The fine doesn’t make much of a dent at $25. If you find yourself in a motorcycle accident, the absence of a helmet most likely won’t affect insurance.

For over 10 years, motorcycle helmet laws have been debated. Change is inevitable, but when and how is the question. The laws are set in place to protect the public. The highways are dangerous enough when you are in a car or 18-wheeler. It is always wise to buckle up, stay focused on the road and wear protective headgear. An accident is never a planned occasion and the result could be tragic.