Skip to main content

Pennsylvania urged to reenact universal motorcycle helmet law

Now that summer has finally hit the state of Pennsylvania, more people are beginning to use various forms of transportation, including bicycles and motorcycles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 4,600 motorcyclists were killed in 2011 as a result of collisions, 96 of those deaths occurred in Pennsylvania. In 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported 210 deaths due to motorcycle accidents within the state. An alarming 104 of those who died were not wearing helmets. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported that the number of motorcycle fatalities has increased by 35 percent since 2003, when the legislation revoked the mandatory helmet law. Although Pennsylvania has certain motorcycle laws in place, they have yet to reenact the universal helmet law, requiring all motorcyclists to wear a helmet while riding.

The universal helmet law saves lives

Currently, Pennsylvania law mandates that motorcyclists under the age of 21 wear an approved helmet while riding. For all other ages, helmets are optional. Data from 2008 to 2010 was recently analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It showed that states that enforce universal helmet laws for all populations had a 12 percent motorcyclist fatality rate of riders who were not wearing helmets at the time of the collision. States that had a partial helmet law, including Pennsylvania, showed that 64 percent of people who died in motorcycle accidents were not wearing helmets and states with no helmet laws had a fatality rate of 79 percent of riders who neglected to wear a helmet while riding.
The NHTSA reports that the number one cause of death in motorcycle accidents are head injuries. They estimate that in 2012, 1,699 lives were saved because motorcyclists chose to wear a helmet while riding. Another 781 lives may have also been saved if people had simply worn a helmet. If you or a loved one has been affected by a motorcycle accident, consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer to understand your legal options and seek the compensation you deserve.

Motorcycle safety tips

Wearing a helmet is extremely important, as it protects your head during a motorcycle accident; however, there are several other safety tips that motorcyclists should following when riding. NHTSA recommends the following:

  • Never ride while intoxicated, impaired or distracted.
  • Always obey traffic laws.
  • Know how to operate the motorcycle and be familiar with motorcycle skills.
  • Always wear protective gear, including googles and a helmet.
  • Always use hand signals, indicating to drivers your intention to switch lanes or turn.
  • Avoid riding in bad weather conditions.

Contact a personal injury attorney

Motorcycle accidents can cause significant trauma to those involved. These injuries can result in unsurmountable medical expenses, which can be hard to pay off. This is especially true in cases where the injured individual is unable to return to work. A dedicated Pennsylvania personal injury attorney can help victims of motorcycle accidents receive compensation that can help with medical expenses, property damage and emotional trauma.

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]