Riding a motorcycle along the highways or roads of Pennsylvania is a freeing feeling. But it can be extremely dangerous for those who don’t exercise caution and take safety measures. In fact, in 2012 alone, there were 4,957 motorcyclists killed throughout the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
While not all accidents are avoidable on the motorcyclist’s part, a motorcyclist can protect him or herself by always wearing a helmet while riding. If you ride a motorcycle or plan to hit the open road, the following provides an overview of motorcycle helmet laws in Pennsylvania and how helmet use might affect an accident claim.
Mandatory Helmet Law for Certain Riders
In Pennsylvania, the law stipulates that any person riding on a motorcycle who is under the age of 21 is required to wear a helmet. Furthermore, a person who is 21 or older must also wear protective headgear unless he or she has two years of riding experience or has completed a motorcycle safety course approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
A person who is controlling or acting as the passenger of a three-wheeled motorcycle that has an enclosed cab is not required to wear protective headgear.
Complying with Protective Headgear Requirements
In order to be in compliance with the law, a motorcyclist who is younger than 21 or who does not have two years of riding experience or is not motorcycle safety-certified must wear protective headgear or a helmet that meets the standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
A helmet that meets these standards will have a “DOT” sticker somewhere on the helmet. Furthermore, to operate in accordance with the law, a rider must wear a helmet that has, permanently labeled within the helmet, the name of the helmet’s manufacturer, the precise model designation, the helmet size, and the month and the year that the helmet was manufactured.
Are there any other requirements?
Pennsylvania also requires that riders wear protective eyewear while on a motorcycle. While the type of protective eyewear is not specified, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation encourages riders to wear shatterproof eye protection. However, sunglasses or other types of protective eyewear are acceptable.
While the law only requires those younger than 21 to wear a helmet, protective headgear and eye protection are important things for even the most advanced of riders and can save your life in the event of an accident.
How Helmet Use Affects a Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident that another party caused, you may be eligible to recover damages for your injuries. But your helmet use may affect recovery of damages in some cases.
Pennsylvania follows modified comparative fault, specifying that claimants may recover damages minus their proportion of fault, as long as they are not more than 50 percent responsible for the accident and injuries. Failing to wear a helmet may be considered comparative negligence if the rider suffered a head injury because it may have contributed to the injury or its severity.
Helmet use does not affect a claim if the claimant suffered a leg injury, for example. It generally comes into play in cases involving head or neck injuries.
If another person caused your accident and if your motorcycle accident was directly responsible for your injuries, then the attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC can help. For questions about what types of compensation you may be eligible to recover, the process for filing a personal injury claim and guidance during the lawsuit procedures, we can help.