Twelve years ago, Pennsylvania repealed a law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets and replaced it with a policy of optional helmet use with the exception of riders under the age of 21. Evidence found that wearing a helmet did not cause any more motorcycle accidents; however, those who are involved in motorcycle accidents who are not wearing a helmet exponentially increase their chances of death.
In the ten years since the repeal of the helmet law, the number of motorcycle rider deaths in Pennsylvania has grown substantially. But is it because of the loosening of helmet laws, like some lawmakers and safety advocates would like you to believe?
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the number of fatalities resulting from motorcycle crashes has increased 35% in Pennsylvania since the repeal of the helmet law. State statistics show that more than two hundred motorcycle riders were killed on Pennsylvania roads last year, and about half of those victims were not wearing a helmet.
However, a group that advocated for the repeal of the helmet law in 2003 has a different viewpoint.
More motorcycle enthusiasts are taking to the road these days; more disposable income as the economy improves puts the purchase of a motorcycle within reach for more individuals. Pennsylvania motorcycle registrations are up 53% since 2005, and the greater number of fatalities mean nothing more than that there are more motorcyclists on the road than there were ten years ago.
Are lax helmet laws responsible for the uptick in motorcycle rider deaths, or can the increase simply be blamed on a higher volume of motorcycle traffic? It is a debate not likely to be settled anytime soon. Nonetheless, one thing is for certain: getting drivers of other vehicles to pay attention to and behave safety around motorcycles is a sure way to prevent Pennsylvania motorcycle accidents. If you have questions about motorcycle accidents in Western Pennsylvania, call Pittsburgh personal injury attorneys Goodrich and Geist today for a free consultation at 412-766-1455.