Laws and Facts About Motorcycle Accidents

People have a wide view of motorcycle riders. Some picture a bearded man on a Harley, others think of a street bike whose rider matches the color of the bike. The truth is that motorcycle riders are normal people from all walks of life who ride because we love it. We love the freedom we feel when we are on the road. Yes it is a potentially dangerous thing to do, but we do it anyway.

The fact is most motorcycle owners are everyday people, from high-level professionals to blue-collar union workers. These people are a special breed because all they want to do is experience the freedom of the road. They are willing to take the very real chance of getting into an accident and suffering serious injuries to themselves for that freedom.

However, this does not mean motorcycle drivers throw all caution to the wind. There are safety procedures that bikers must follow and are required by law to follow in order to help them stay safe. Unlike automobile accidents, there is little or nothing protecting the motorcyclist if their bike collides with something. The driver does not have the body and frame of a car around them to protect them from the road, other cars, buildings or anything else around. When they crash, they can be thrown from the bike and into a hard road surface or surrounding structures causing serious, often permanent injury, and sometimes death.

The staff at Michael J. O’Connor & Associates have attorneys who are well experienced in the many state laws regarding the operation of motorcycles. Pennsylvania, like other states, has very specific requirements when it comes to operating motorcycles. It is important for potential drivers to know them before taking to the road.

If you are a motorcycle owner, and want some type of legal protection from potential hazards, it is important to know the following Pennsylvania laws regarding motorcycle use. It is also important to talk to an attorney, such as the motorcycle accident attorneys at Michael J. O’Connor & Associates about what is best for your individual needs. Below we have listed some of the laws regarding motorcycle riding in Pennsylvania that EVERY RIDER SHOULD KNOW before taking to the road.

Helmet Law

Pennsylvania law originally required all motorcycle drivers and riders to wear a helmet, but they do not anymore.

Motorcycle riders are now not required to wear a helmet if:

  • They are at least 21 years old and
  • Have either had a license to operate a motorcycle for at least two years or
  • If they have completed an approved motorcycle rider safety course.

Passengers of a rider are not required to wear a helmet if

  • They are at least 21 years of age and
  • The driver is not required to wear a helmet.
Protective Eye Gear

Nobody is allowed to ride a motorcycle without approved eye gear unless they meet the requirements provided by the Department of Transportation allowing them to do so.

  1. Anyone riding in or driving an enclosed cab three wheel motorcycle
  2. Anyone who has been riding for at least 2 years and is at least 21 year old
  3. Anyone who has completed an approved motorcycle safety course and is at least 21 years old.
  4. Any passenger who is at least 21 years old.
Pennsylvania Is A No-Fault State

Motorcyclists can sue for severe injuries and pain and suffering that meet certain conditions. Unless these injuries happen, you cannot sue for tort liability arising out of an accident. They are: bodily injury resulting in death, dismemberment, significant disfigurement and scarring, displaced fractures, loss of fetus, permanent injury within reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or permanent significant disfigurement.

Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act:

Insured people are given options under this act including Limited Tort and Full Tort.

Limited Tort: (less expensive option).

Unless you have a serious impairment of bodily functions that resulted from a serious or permanent injury, you can’t recover for pain and suffering if you choose Limited Tort Insurance. Limited Tort also makes it harder to recover money for your injuries, and the amount of money it will save you on premiums is normally a very small amount.

Full Tort: (more expensive option)

This option is a little more expensive, but in the case of an accident it will make a world of difference. Pain and suffering damages can be recovered in the event of an accident and recovering for injuries, permanent or not, will be much easier.

What Does A “Choice No-Fault State” Mean For Pennsylvanians?

Motorcycle owners can choose no-fault insurance. What this means is if you are hurt in an accident you would recover money from your own insurance company for things such as medical bills and lost wages before having to look to the other person’s insurance company for that money. The amount of money you can recover from your insurance has a limit however, and if you go over that limit you will need to go through the other person’s insurance company if the other person was at fault.

No-Fault Benefits

Emotional distress, pain and suffering, and inconvenience are not included in No-Fault Benefits.

Insurance Requirements:

Compulsory Liability insurance is the minimum required by the state.

Statute of limitations

Action must start within two years of the accident taking place.

We Hope You find This Information Helpful
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