Motorcycle Helmet Laws for Pennsylvania Riders and Impact on Legal Recovery

Riding a motorcycle requires abiding by Pennsylvania laws regarding the use and operation of the bike.  Whether a rider chooses to use a motorcycle for transportation or recreation, certain state regulations, such as motorcycle helmet laws, are important to protecting the rider’s safety as well as the safety of others on the road.  Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyers are familiar with the importance of abiding by these laws. Particularly in the unfortunate circumstance of an accident, it may be important to show compliance in order to successfully secure damages in a legal claim for compensation.

motorcycle helmet

According to Pennsylvania law, persons age 21 and over are not required to wear a motorcycle helmet if they have completed a safety course approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, or if they have been licensed for at least two years to operate a motorcycle.  For riders 20 years old or younger, helmets must be worn.

The minimum performance requirements for helmets designed to be used by motorcyclists have been set forth by Pennsylvania law, which clearly indicates how helmets should be labeled, among other things.  These helmets must provide a field of vision indicated by law and must cover at least to the center of the ear. Other details are set forth within the state regulations.

Pennsylvania Helmet Laws and Accident Claims

Following an accident involving a motorcycle and another vehicle, the first step would be to determine liability.  In some situations, one party was at fault, while in others, both may be deemed negligent.   Pennsylvania’s negligence law often governs these cases, and the modified comparative fault system means that following an injury, the ability for a victim to recover damages in a legal claim requires they be 50% at fault or less.

If an individual has violated a Pennsylvania motorcycle law, they may be found negligent.  For example, if a motorcyclist suffers serious injuries in a crash with a passenger vehicle and brings a legal claim to recover damages, they must first establish liability.  If the other driver ran a red light and caused the accident, the motorcyclist would likely have a strong claim for legal fault against the driver. However, if the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet and had not met the state requirements of being over 21 and either taken a safety course or have operated his vehicle for two years, their recovery may be affected.  If they are more than 50% at fault for the crash, they would not recover, but if they are less than 50% at fault, their recovery will be reduced by their percentage of fault.

In the above example, another consideration is the severity of the injuries suffered due to the motorcyclist’s negligence.  If they suffered head trauma due to their failure to wear a helmet, it may be that their injuries would be less severe if they had been using head protection. This fact may play a role as part of their accident claim.

At Needle Law, we work with injured motorcyclists seeking compensation for harm suffered after a crash. For accident victims seeking legal counsel throughout Pennsylvania, we offer a free consultation with a skilled motorcycle accident attorney and can be reached by calling (855) 687-4357 or online.

More Blog Posts:

Statistics Show Nationwide Increase in Motorcycle Fatalities in 2015 and Slight Decrease in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Accident Lawyer Blog, June 26, 2016

Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Accident Lawyer Blog, May 25, 2016