Motorcycles are one of the only types of vehicles where users have little to no protection from the impact forces of a collision. For this reason, it is very important for motorcyclists and motorists to understand Pennsylvania’s motorcycle laws. This is especially true during the warmer months, when you are more likely to see motorcyclists on the road. Below is a brief description of Pennsylvania motorcycle laws.
Pennsylvania Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Some motorcyclists in Pennsylvania must wear helmets while riding. However, there are exceptions to the helmet rule. You do not have to wear a helmet if you are 21 or older and have held a Pennsylvania motorcycle license for two years or have finished a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation approved motorcycle safety course. Motorcycle Safety Foundation approved courses also qualify for this exemption.
There are additional exceptions to this rule listed on the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s website.
There are also rules on which types of helmets you can use. Motorcycle helmets must have a Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker, meaning they are approved by the DOT. It must also contain information showing the model designation, size, month and year it was manufactured, and the name of the manufacturer. The sticker should be visible on the outside of the helmet. You must also have some type of protective eyewear.
Obtaining a Pennsylvania Motorcycle License
You must have a motorcycle license to ride in Pennsylvania. To obtain a Class M motorcycle license, you must pass a knowledge test and apply for a Class M learner’s permit. There are also restrictions for motorcyclists with learner’s permits.
If you have a permit and do not have a license for any other type of vehicle, then you can only ride between sunrise and sunset. You also cannot have passengers, with the exception of a licensed motorcyclist. In addition, you can only ride if you are being supervised by another person who has a Class M motorcycle license.
Pennsylvania Motorcycle Permit Requirements for Minors
There are also additional requirements for minors who are trying to obtain a Class M motorcycle license. State law requires minors to have a permit for 6 months and a minimum of 65 hours of supervised riding before they can take the skills test.
Finally, minors must also complete a Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program Basic Rider Course. This 15-hour course counts towards the 65-hour supervised riding requirement.
Riding Under the Influence Is Illegal
You cannot operate a motorcycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The rules for regular motorists are the same for motorcyclists. If police catch you riding under the influence, you will be arrested, charged, and possibly convicted of a DUI.
There are also rules that bar motorcycle operators from riding in a way that jeopardizes their safety. For instance, you cannot carry groceries while riding if it prevents you from using both hands to control the motorcycle.
Motorcyclists Can File Lawsuits for Accidents Caused by At Fault Drivers
Motorcyclists are full tort in Pennsylvania. This means motorcyclists can recover full tort damages in the event of an accident caused by an at fault driver. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable than other motorists, and may have an easier time securing pain and suffering damages from a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Call Our Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for More Information
Grutzmacher Law Firm can help injured motorcyclists or their family members file claims against at fault drivers. If you or a loved one suffered harm during a motorcycle accident and you want to explore your potential legal options, then give us a call at (215) 261-7975 for a free consultation. You can also use our online case review form.