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Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Pennsylvania

Posted on August 13th, 2019

Helmets save lives when it comes to operating a motorcycle. One of the most important things for motorcyclists to remember is that they are more vulnerable on the roadways than those inside regular passenger vehicles. Pennsylvania is a popular state for motorcyclists. The latest number available tell us that there are over 400,000 registered motorcycles in Pennsylvania. Whether you are a veteran rider or just starting out, one of the most important questions you may have is: What is required to be in compliance with Pennsylvania helmet laws?

Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Pennsylvania

What are the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Helmet Laws?

Many states have passed universal helmet laws that require all riders to wear helmets. Pennsylvania has not done this. However, they do have specific requirements in place for certain motorcycle riders. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation says that the law “requires that any person who operates or rides a motorcycle (including an autocycle) must wear protective headgear unless he or she is over 21 years of age or older and has either two years of riding experience or has completed a motorcycle safety course approved by PennDOT or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.”

To recap, you must wear a helmet:

  • At all times if you are under 21 years of age
  • If you have less than two years of riding experience and have not completed an approved safety course.

Are There Specific Requirements for the Helmets?

Yes, the PA DOT says that each helmet must meet the requirements approved by the US Department of Transportation. Approval is denoted with a DOT sticker on the outside of the helmet. The following information must be present on the inside of the helmet:

  • Name or identification of the manufacturer
  • Month and year the helmet was made
  • Precise model designation
  • Size

In addition to a helmet, riders are required to wear eye protection. Any type of protective eye cover will keep riders in compliance with the law, but it is recommended that riders wear shatter-proof eye protection.

Why Does This Matter?

When we turn to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) page that discusses motorcycle helmets, we can see that they saved an estimated 1,859 lives in 2016 across the US. The CDC says that helmets reduce the risk of death in a motorcycle crash by 37% and the risk of head injury by 69%.

Turning to statistics from PennDOT, we can see that there was a total of 3.194 motorcycle crashes during the latest reporting year in Pennsylvania. Out of those crashes, there were:

  • 181 motorcyclist fatalities and
  • 4,413 motorcyclist injuries

Beyond the requirements outlined in the law, the choice to hear a helmet is up to the individual riders in Pennsylvania. However, we strongly recommend wearing a helmet every time you and a passenger hit the road. While you may operate your motorcycle safely, there is no way to predict the actions of other drivers around you. All too often, the careless and negligent driving behavior of those in a motor vehicle causes harm to a motorcyclist. A helmet may not prevent all injuries, but it can save your life.

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident that was caused by the actions of another driver, you may need to seek legal assistance in order to secure the compensation you need. Contact a Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorney from Ciccarelli Law Offices today.