Effort would create age-restriction for motorcycle passengers - KCTV5

Effort would create age-restriction for motorcycle passengers

Posted: Updated:
JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -

Supporters of a Missouri initiative, to restrict passengers on motorcycles, can begin collecting signatures, to get the proposal on the 2014 ballot.

The secretary of state's office announced Wednesday that the petition met standards for circulation. Proponents have until next May to collect enough signatures, to get the proposal before voters.

The proposal would require Missouri motorcycle operators to be at least 21, and complete a rider-safety class, before they could carry passengers. The restrictions would not apply to those who have had a motorcycle license for the previous two years, and were born in 1984 or earlier.

The first violation would be a misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $300. Penalties would increase for repeat offenses.

Tammy O'Meara is among those pushing for the law change. She said her daughter, Mercedes O'Meara, was in a brace for 3 months, and couldn't walk because of a motorcycle crash.

Her daughter was 18 years old, when she went on a ride with her 20-year-old boyfriend. During the ride, she was thrown from the back of the motorcycle, during a crash. She was wearing a helmet.

"He was going in speeds up to 150 mph," Tammy O'Meara said. "He hit a curve a lot sooner than he expected, and ran off the road."

Her daughter suffered numerous broken bones, including a fractured back. Her boyfriend suffered similar injuries.

Mercedes O'Meara doesn't ride with her boyfriend anymore, and she supports her mother and her efforts. She said she doesn't think someone under 21 should be allowed to have a motorcycle and certainly shouldn't be responsible for taking someone else's life in their hands.

Tammy O'Meara thinks the restrictions, including a safety driving course, are imperative. She said she wants to avoid other families enduring what she has endured for the past year, and younger drivers are more likely to be tempted to speed and drive recklessly.

"For car drivers, there are restrictions. For motorcycle driver's licenses, there are no restrictions," she said. "You can go out today, 16 years old, take your test and if you pass you can have a passenger with you, with no experience whatsoever."

John Crabb of Gail's Harley Davidson said classes are encouraged. Gail's offers classes for beginners, as well as experienced drivers.

"I think any kind of training is good. The more, the better. But mandating it? I think that should be left up to the people, voters to decide."

Tammy O'Meara needs to collect 95,000 signatures before May.

For more information on the effort, click here.

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