Need Legal Help? Call 215.925.4451

Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in Pennsylvania – A Look at Helmet Laws | Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

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.

Suggested reading:

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

*This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is important to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.



    *No attorney-client relationship is created by use of this email form. Do not email confidential or time-sensitive information. Call the firm for immediate assistance.


    Pennsylvania Office
    The Pavilion
    261 Old York Rd., Suite 504
    Jenkintown, PA 19046
    Tel: (215) 925-4451
    Fax: (215) 574-1200

    New Jersey Office
    1415 Route 70 East
    Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
    Tel: (856) 427-0614
    Fax: (856) 424-3690