Guide to Pennsylvania Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Helmet Laws in Pennsylvania

Although most states require that riders wear a motorcycle helmet, Pennsylvania laws are different. Riders under 21 are mandated to always wear a helmet when on a motorcycle. Those over the age of 21 can forego helmet use if they have been riding a motorcycle for two years or have successfully completed a safety course approved by either the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or PennDOT. Riders on autocycles with enclosed cabs and motorcycles equipped with three wheels are exempt from wearing a helmet.

DOT Regulations for Motorcycle Helmet Use

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation regulations on helmets used by motorcycle riders requires that a motorcycle helmet be labeled to help identify that they meet current safety standards. A “DOT” sticker must appear on the helmet that includes the information that follows:

  • Manufacturer identification or name
  • Model designation
  • Year and month of the helmet manufacture
  • Size

The placement of the sticker on the motorcycle helmet needs to be visible on the outside of the helmet, and the recommendation is to place it on the back in a centered position. The additional information listed above should be readable. 

Protective Eyewear Is a Requirement for Motorcyclists

The Pennsylvania DMV says eye safety while riding a motorcycle is important to protect against wind, rocks, bugs and additional flying objects. Even though the rider can wear any protective eyewear he/she wants, they recommend using a type of eye protection that is shatterproof.

Does Wearing a Helmet Make That Much Difference?

Over 25,000 lives have been saved in a collision because of the use of motorcycle helmets, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Since traumatic head injuries are a big risk without a helmet, investing in one is a good idea whether they are required or not.

Tips for Getting a Good Fitting Motorcycle Helmet

Getting a helmet that fits correctly is important both for comfort and to minimize the risk of injuries in a motorcycle accident. Some of the tips that follow might help:

  • Helmet size: Head shapes are all different, so measuring the head from the forehead and around can help ensure getting the right size helmet.
  • Head shape: The shape of the head can influence which brand of helmet is right for you. Trying on different helmets can help you find the correct one.
  • Trying out helmets: Place the helmet firmly on the head and fasten the chin strap tight enough that you can place two fingers between the strap and chin.
  • Check the fit: Check the fit along the sides and back. If the helmet touches the top of your head, it’s too small. Although it should touch the head all the way around, feeling pressure points means you need to upsize. A pressure point on the forehead is the most common.
  • Keep the helmet on for a few minutes: By wearing a helmet you are considering purchasing for a while, it’s easier to determine if it’s comfortable. 
  • Rotate the helmet: See if you can rotate the helmet from side to side. Your cheeks should follow the movement of the helmet while staying against the cheek pads. If the helmet you’re wearing moves freely or slips, the size is probably wrong.
  • Tilting: See if the helmet tilts forward and backward. This is another sign you have the wrong size. Tilt the head forward and apply pressure upward from the helmet’s base. If it rolls forward, you again have the wrong size. 

In the video that follows, Attorney Grant Travis discusses motorcycle accidents:

The Travis Law Firm Fights for Your Rights

Motorcycle accidents can cause serious injuries. When a negligent driver was the cause, The Travis Law Firm can help you obtain compensation to pay for your medical costs, wages lost from being unable to work and for your pain and suffering. Call us today at (814) 277-4444 to arrange for a free review of your case. We can examine your case, respond to any questions you have and tell you what options are available to be compensated for your injuries. If you prefer, you can contact us online