While 19 states and the District of Columbia require all motorcyclists to wear a protective helmet regardless of age or experience, Pennsylvania is one of 28 states that allow some motorcyclists to ride without any head protection at all. Though each state differs in whom it permits to ride without a helmet, Pennsylvania bases its rules on the age and experience level of the driver.
In Pennsylvania, any motorcyclist under 21 years of age must wear a helmet at all times. This group includes any driver operating a motorcycle on a learner’s permit. After age 21, a driver is permitted to ride without a helmet if he or she has been licensed to operate a motorcycle for at least two years or has completed an approved motorcycle safety course.
For passengers, the rules differ slightly. Any passenger under 21 years old must wear a helmet at all times. Once a passenger is 21, he is she is required to wear a helmet only if the driver is required to do so. If the driver is permitted to operate a motorcycle without a helmet, so too is the passenger.
While the rules for helmets can vary with age and experience, the rules for eyewear are consistent across all groups: all motorcycle operators and passengers must wear protective eyewear. This is true for even the most experienced bikers.
As a motorcycle operator, it is important to know and understand these rules. Failure to comply can result in expensive fines, spikes in insurance, or even serious injury.