Are Motorcycle Helmets Mandatory in PA?

Clients often ask this question, especially after being involved in some sort of motorcycle accident. Here are the facts.

Which States Can You Ride a Motorcycle Without a Helmet?

If you are planning a long ride it is important to know the rules of the road of each state. A majority of states have laws regarding the use of helmets, whether it be that all riders wear a helmet, or that rider’s under a certain age must wear a helmet. The normal age range for riders to be required to wear a helmet is riders under the age of 18 to 21. In fact, only 3 states (Illinois, Iowa, New Hampshire) do not have laws regarding the use of a helmet.

Is It Illegal to Ride a Bike (Bicycle) Without a Helmet in Pa?

Under Pennsylvania’s helmet law (75 Pa. C.S.A. Section 3525), riders are not required to wear helmets if they are over 21 years of age and have completed the state’s motorcycle safety course or have two years of driving experience. What is required of all riders is to have correct protective eyewear? According to Pennsylvania’s helmet law, no person can operate or ride a motorcycle without protective eyewear that has been approved by the department of motor vehicles.  With that being said, even though helmets are not mandatory for all riders, the risk of getting into an accident is the same for everyone.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that one out of every five motorcycle crashes result in head or neck injuries and that riders wearing helmets are 50 percent less likely to be seriously injured in a crash than those not wearing helmets. This makes use of a helmet vital. And even though helmet use might be optional for some, all riders are required by Pennsylvania state law to wear eye protection while operating a motorcycle. Use of goggles is a fine means to protect your eyes, but a good helmet will come equipped with an effective face shield.

A full-face helmet credited for saving its user.

A full-face helmet credited for saving its user.    © by Jeff Dean

How Old Does a Passenger Have to Be on a Motorcycle in Pa?

There is no minimum age requirement for passengers of motorcycles in Pennsylvania. If you are going to have passengers on your motorcycle, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the motorcycle must be equipped with a passenger seat and footrests. That being said, if your passenger cannot reach the footpegs, for their safety, you might want to reconsider having them as a passenger on your motorcycle.