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A caution from police on helmet safety - KOAM TV 7

A caution from police on helmet safety following fatal accident

Updated:

Joplin police issue a warning to motorists after one person is dead and another is in critical condition in two separate accidents in two days.  

In state of Missouri it is a state law that everyone riding a motorcycle must wear a helmet.  However, those riding a scooter and other small two wheel vehicles are not required to wear a helmet.

Thursday's fatal accident involved a scooter where the rider was not wearing a helmet.

Wednesday's accident involved a motorcycle, whose rider was wearing a novelty helmet.

That driver is still in critical condition and doctors say if he would have been wearing a DOT approved helmet his condition would be much different.

"We all need to be better defensive drivers and pay attention to everyone out there," says Corporal Dan Haskins of the Joplin Police Department.  "We have got to pay attention to the motorcycles and the motorcycles need to make sure we're paying attention to everything else going on.  It's a two way street and we all have to share the road."

Terri Baird owns a motorcycle and she says her near-death experience has changed the way she looks at motorcycle safety.  Baird says she and her husband have survived several accidents while riding their motorcycle. 

The Baird's are from Oklahoma where wearing a helmet is not required for those 18 and older.  But one close call in October taught the Baird's a valuable lesson.

"We weren't wearing helmets and we both got thrown off the bike and it cut my foot off, literally, but they was able to put it back on and they said we were both very lucky that we didn't have head injuries," Baird says.  "I haven't rode since October but from now own I will be wearing my helmet."

In Missouri it is a state law that all motorists to hear a helmet.

"On a scooter, something that is 49 CC's or less, the state of Missouri says you do not have to wear a helmet," says Corporal Haskins.  "It's a flaw in the system I believe.  However, hopefully, we can get some legislation involved to change that."

Motorists are urged to wear a helmet that is approved by the Department of Transportation.

The owner of Cycle Connection Harley Davidson in Joplin, Nancy Hutson, says the helmet should be snug enough to where it shouldn't fall off your head.

"A DOT approved helmet actually has a lot more safety features than some of the non-approved DOT helmets," says Huston.  "They have a lot more cushion and fill in them."

Corporal Haskins says wearing a DOT approved helmet could essentially save a persons life.

Oklahoma and Kansas only require motorists 18 and younger to wear a helmet.

Joplin police also want to stress the importance participating in motorcycle safety classes.  You can find more information about motorcycle classes at Cycle Connection's Learn to Ride.

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