Even the most progressive parents usually have safety concerns when their teen expresses an interest in driving a motorcycle. Pennsylvania law sets requirements to get a motorcycle license and requires protective gear for teens. Read below for an overview of Pennsylvania laws and more motorcycle safety tips for teens.
Pennsylvania Laws for Teens Acquiring a Motorcycle License
In 2012, Pennsylvania enacted a law requiring any person ages 16 or 17 years old who wishes to get a motorcycle license to complete the Basic Rider Course. The Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program offers this course.
There is no cost for this course, which is available to all residents in Pennsylvania. This 15-hour course includes five hours of classroom instruction and 10 hours of riding instruction. The course supplies motorcycles and helmets. Upon completion, the teen will receive a certification card. This is the first step toward learning safe riding skills.
Another important element to safe riding is practice. Act 84 requires teens complete 65 hours of on-the-road training. The Basic Rider Course counts toward these hours. The teen’s parents must sign a form establishing the teen completed this requirement (DL-180C, Parent or Guardian Certification of Driving Experience). Additionally, the parent or guardian must complete form DL-180TD (Parent or Guardian Consent).
Riders under the age of 18 must remain on the learner’s permit for six months. Once the teen meets all these requirements, he or she can take the licensing skills test. For safety reasons, the safety training program is not available between the months of November and March.
Another law that impacts teens who wish to ride a motorcycle pertains to protective headgear. Helmets are required for all operators 21 years of age and under. Riders over 21 who have completed a motorcycle safety course approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation or have two years of riding experience do not have to wear a helmet.
Helmets are a key factor in motorcycle safety, which must meet U.S. DOT standards. The helmet should have a “DOT” sticker on it and be located on the outside of the helmet (usually centered on the back).
Another requirement is permanent labeling identifying the:
- date of manufacture;
- model; and
It doesn’t have to be on the outside of the helmet but should be easy enough to read without removing padding or other permanent parts.
Finally, eyewear. Pennsylvania requires wearing protective eyewear. This can protect teens from debris, bugs, wind and other elements that could reduce visibility. Make sure your teen has shatterproof eyewear.
Other Important Motorcycle Safety Tips for Teens
Although law requires protective equipment for the head and eyes, it’s important to consider other gear that could reduce severity of injuries in the event of an accident.
To protect skin from abrasive injuries like road rash in the event of an accident, teens should consider wearing:
- a heavy-duty jacket (leather is preferred);
- long pants;
- non-rubber soled boots (the exhaust pipe can melt an errant heel); and
Another safety concern is roughhousing riders. It’s tempting to take friends for a ride. But motorcycles don’t handle the same when there is a passenger. So it’s best for teens to stick with riding solo until they get the requisite experience.
Also, it’s no secret that teens tend to engage in riskier behaviors, such as speeding. This is one of the biggest contributing factors to fatal motorcycle crashes. Parents should make sure teens understand the rules of the road and the consequences for disobeying them. This means outlining legal consequences as well as your consequences at home.
Unfortunately, even with all these safety measures in place, riders still may face the risk of an accident in Morrisville. When an accident does happen, contact an attorney to learn about legal options our teen may have and how to protect his or her rights. Call Cordisco & Saile LLC at 215-642-2335 or contact us online to set up an appointment.