In addition to the various traffic laws and restrictions that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania imposes on motorcycle riders, it is also important for bikers to understand how state law governs helmet use. Unlike some other states, Pennsylvania does not universally require helmets for all motorcycle riders. However, wearing a helmet—or not wearing one—can still have a big impact on your ability to recover financially after a wreck caused by another person’s misconduct.

What follows is a brief overview of Philadelphia motorcycle helmet laws and what they require of different types of riders under various circumstances. If you were recently hurt in a serious crash, understanding and then emphasizing that you were in compliance with these laws will be crucial to preserving your right to file suit. Work with a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney to present the strongest possible case.

When Are Helmets Required for Motorcycle Riders in Philadelphia?

Under Pennsylvania law, anyone under the age of 21 who is operating or riding on a motorcycle is required to wear a safety helmet approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Riders over the age of 21 are also required to wear helmets as a baseline, but if someone older than 21 has completed a Penn DOT-approved motorcycle safety course and/or has at least two years of experience operating a motorcycle, they are exempt from the standard helmet requirement. Operators and passengers in three-wheeled motorcycles or autocycles with enclosed cabs are also exempt from the helmet requirement, regardless of age or experience level.

It is worth noting, though, that whether they are legally required to wear a motorcycle helmet or not, all motorcycle riders in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania are required in every situation to wear eye protection. If a rider or passenger is not wearing a safety helmet with a built-in windscreen, they must wear separate protection of some other kind—for example, goggles with shatter-proof lenses.

Safety Standards for Motorcycle Helmets Under State Law

Philadelphia riders should wear headgear that meets the safety standards for motorcycle helmets established by the federal Department of Transportation. DOT approval is indicated by a “DOT” or “DOT Approved” sticker, which should be affixed and center-aligned on the back of the helmet’s outside shell.

Additionally, all helmets worn by Pennsylvania motorcycle riders must have a label on it with the helmet model, size, manufacturer’s name, and manufacture date—measured by month and year. This label can be on either the inside or the outside of the helmet, but it must be clearly legible without any permanent part of the helmet, such as internal padding, needing to be removed.

A Philadelphia Attorney Can Explain Motorcycle Helmet Laws in More Detail

Wearing protective headgear is one of the single best things you can do to reduce the risk of suffering a serious and potentially life-threatening injury in a motorcycle accident. On top of that, helmets may be a legal requirement for you or for your riders, depending on your age and riding experience. Failing to fulfill that requirement could make it more difficult to demand financial recovery from the person responsible for your accident.

If you have further questions about Philadelphia motorcycle helmet laws and the impact they could potentially have on your civil claim, our legal team could address them during a confidential consultation. Schedule yours by calling Lowenthal & Abrams, Injury Attorneys.


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