Pennsylvania Helmet Laws and Motorcycle Safety Tips

The recent death of a 45-year-old man in Cumru Township, Pennsylvania, reinforces the notion that riders take a risk every time they bring a motorcycle out on the road. In this instance, the man's motorcycle ran off the road and crashed into a guardrail. He was ejected from the motorcycle and was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

Pennsylvania law requires helmets for some motorcycle riders, but not all. Riders who are 21 years old or older and have had a motorcycle license for at least two years are exempt, as are those 21 years and older who have taken certain approved motorcycle safety courses.

Helmets in use must meet safety standards set out by the U.S. Department of Transportation and must have a DOT sticker on the outside of the helmet to show compliance. Helmets must be marked with the name of the manufacturer, the model, and size of the helmet, as well as the month and year the helmet was made. Pennsylvania also requires riders to wear protective eye wear.

While not mandatory for all riders, motorcycle safety advocates strongly encourage helmet use. Typical arguments against the use of helmets, such as a helmet limits vision and hearing or lead to a neck injury have been proven false.

Motorcyclists can also actively help ensure their safety by following a few practical suggestions:

  • Keep your bike in good operating condition, especially the brake lights and head and tail lights
  • Follow the traffic laws and make sure to signal when changing lanes
  • Keep within the speed limit
  • Avoid riding too close to another vehicle
  • Avoid riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Make sure you are not in another driver's blind spot

Riders should also wear proper safety equipment in addition to the helmet. This includes clothes that make it easy for other drivers to spot you, as well as proper safety gear such as jackets, gloves and boots.

Riders should also know how to handle their bikes in inclement weather. While accidents may increase in summer months when more people are out on the road, motorcycle wrecks can happen any time and in any season.

Despite safety precautions, serious accidents such as brain injuries or neck and back injuries are always a danger when riding. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact a personal injury attorney to potentially obtain compensation for your injuries.