Motorcycle Helmet Law

Back in the spring of 2007, Pennsylvania residents got a free lesson on the state’s motorcycle laws by one of their most famous athletes.

On April 7 of that year, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was in a motorcycle accident along 2nd Ave. near the 10th Street Bridge, in the city. The Super Bowl winning signal caller was lying on the street with his face in bad condition. Bystanders initially thought he was dead. Roethlisberger was transported to the hospital, and was treated for facial injuries, on what was described by a medical team as having “multiple facial fractures.” He had surgery for a broken jaw.

The injuries were worse than anything that he could have suffered on the field while playing for the Steelers. Police confirmed that Roethlisberger, who was 24 at the time, was not wearing a helmet while operating his 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa cycle. Roethlisberger has been known to refuse to wear a helmet while riding his bike.

Yet, he was well within his rights as far as Pennsylvania Law was concerned. That is because the state legislature repealed its mandatory helmet law in 2003. The current state law now reads as follows.

Motorcycle riders do not need to wear a helmet it:

  • They are 21 years or older or
  • Have had a motorcycle license for at least 2 years or
  • If they completed an approved motorcycle rider safety course

Passengers of a rider do not need to wear a helmet if the rider meets one of these criteria and they are over the age of 21.

What happened to Roethlisberger can happen to everyday people who happen to enjoy the freedom of riding a motorcycle, and are willing to take the risk of riding without a helmet.

Accidents can still happen. Injuries suffered can keep a person hospitalized for weeks if not months or years. It can take a long time for police just to investigate and reconstruct an accident scene, to determine the party at fault. Insurance companies will not act on claims until they have a police report to go on.

The attorneys at Michael J. O’Connor & Associates can assist motorcycle riders who find themselves in a similar situation. Our firm employs investigators who can reconstruct an accident and determine the just outcome for you. We can deal with insurance companies to compensate victims for hospitalization for injuries, lost wages from time missed at work, long-term disability as the result of the accident, and any other legal ramifications.

Roethlisberger eventually recovered from his injuries and was back to play for the Steelers and win another Super Bowl championship in 2008. He more than likely had strong legal representation to protect his legal rights. You can do the same thing.

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