Few issues out on the open road are as divisive as helmet laws for motorcycle riders. On the one hand, you have individual liberty advocates – many motorcyclists among them – insisting that the government can't tell riders what's best for them. On the other are safety advocates, armed with evidence of increased fatalities where helmets aren't mandatory. Now the Missouri state legislature has sent a bill to the governor that would, if signed into law, repeal the state's mandatory helmet regulations.

Many states caved to federal government pressure, in the form of withheld highway funding, to institute helmet laws. Of the 50 states in the Union, 20 currently mandate helmets for all riders, 27 require them only for riders under a certain age, while the remaining three have no laws regarding helmet use whatsoever. The Missouri bill would take the state out of the first category and place it into the middle (not the last), mandating that riders under 21 wear helmets and that all riders wear helmets when traveling on the interstate, leaving adult riders free to ride unprotected on local streets. This revision to the law would expire on August 28, 2014, requiring state lawmakers to review the situation afresh, otherwise the mandate would automatically go back into effect.

While it should come as no surprise that Missouri's highway safety director is vehemently opposed to the bill, the governor has yet to voice an opinion on the matter, pledging to review the bill once the legislative session has ended. Do you think motorcycle riders should be forced by law to wear helmets? Voice your opinion in the comments section below, and if you live in Missouri, who knows, maybe the governor will take your thoughts to heart.

[Source: 1st5ive.com | Image: Joseph Lago/AFP/Getty]