Motorcycle accidents including motorcycle accident fatalities across the country are generally up over the last ten years. According to the CDC, fatal motorcycle accidents have increased by 55% between 2001 to 2008. In addition, the number of nonfatal motorcyclist injuries resulting in emergency room visits increased, from 120,000 in 2001 to about 175,000 in 2008. That is an increase of roughly 30%.
Pennsylvania motorcycle accidents generally follow the same trend. Also, motorcycle fatalities are relatively high in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, in 2011, there were 200 fatalities out of roughly 3600 motorcycle accidents. For comparison, in New Jersey, there are roughly 70 motorcycle accident fatalities per year. The marked difference in the numbers of fatal motorcycle accidents may be explained by the states’ motorcycle helmet laws.
In Pennsylvania, motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets. There are, however, two huge exceptions. Helmets are not required if 1. the rider is over the age of 21 and has been licensed for 2 years or 2. the rider is over 21 and has completed an approved motorcycle safety training course. Read more about Pennsylvania’s motorcycle helmet law. In New Jersey, there are no exceptions. All motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets.
Pennsylvania’s Motorcycle Helmet Law – The 2003 Amendment
In 2003, Pennsylvania’s legislature amended the motorcycle helmet law. Known as the Helmet Repeal Law, the amendment created two major exceptions to the helmet law, effectively allowing most riders to ride helmet free. Since then, we have seen an increase in the number of motorcycle accidents where the rider was not wearing a helmet. In fact, the year after the law passed, there was a large jump in the number of motorcycle accidents where the rider was not wearing a helmet.
Throughout the past few decades, our firm has represented many riders injured in motorcycle accidents, and clearly, helmet use prevents what would be otherwise fatal or significant head injuries, especially for inexperienced riders. The reality is that helmet use saves lives and it may be time for Pennsylvania to amend the helmet law.
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Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
The lawyers at Schwartz & Blackman take great pride in representing motorcyclists and have successfully handled many motorcycle accident cases. FREE consultations. 215.925.4451
Schwartz & Blackman handles motorcycle accident cases in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area:
- PA: Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Norristown, Philadelphia
- NJ: Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Camden, Cherry Hill, New Jersey shore cities
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