If you are an avid motorcyclist, you need to be aware of the motorcycle helmet laws in Altoona before hitting the road. The helmet requirements for bikers in Pennsylvania depend on a person’s age and experience. However, even those legally exempt from wearing a helmet need to understand the potential consequences of not wearing a helmet could have on their financial recovery in the event of an accident. Reach out to an experienced motorcycle crash attorney to learn more.

Are Motorcyclists Required to Wear Helmets in Altoona?

In Altoona, the helmet requirements for motorcyclists are dependent upon age. Any person who is under 21 years of age must wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. However, a motorcyclist may be exempt from wearing a helmet if he or she:

  • Is at least 21 years old;
  • Have held a Class M motorcycle license for at least two years; and
  • Have completed an approved motorcycle safety course by either PennDOT or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

Types of Helmets Required

If you are under 21 or have not met the above requirements, you must wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle in Altoona that meets the safety standards of the United States Department of Transportation. You can check if a helmet meets these standards by looking for a DOT sticker on it. Additionally, the helmet must have permanent labeling that includes the:

  • Size
  • Precise model designation
  • Manufacturer’s name or identification
  • Month and year that the helmet was manufactured

The DOT sticker can be placed either at the back or on the helmet’s outer shell. Only the DOT sticker must be visible on the outside of the helmet. The other required labeling can be on the inside of the helmet as long as it is legible and can be read without removing any padding or any other permanent part of the helmet.

US Department of Transportation Standards for Motorcycle Helmets

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 218 (FMVSS) governs the requirements for all helmets sold in the United States for on-road motorcycle use. The FMVSS has set standards in three main areas of helmet performance:  impact attenuation, penetration resistance, and retention system effectiveness.

The FMVSS requires that the helmet’s peripheral vision be at least 105 degrees from the helmet midline, and any projections from the helmet’s surface—such as snaps and rivets—should not exceed five millimeters. A head form inside the helmet is dropped from a fixed height onto a surface to test the impact attenuation, and the acceleration energy or G forces are measured. The penetration test examines the helmet’s ability to resist piercing when struck from the outside, and it ensures that there is no penetration through the helmet.

Helmets Protect Motorcyclists in Accidents

Wearing a helmet is crucial for protecting motorcycle riders in the event of an accident, as it is one of their only forms of protection. Unlike cars, motorcycles lack airbags, seat belts, and other safety equipment that can protect a person. Without a helmet, motorcyclists are at a higher risk of sustaining severe head injuries, which could cause long-term damage or even be life-threatening.

Failing to Wear a Helmet Could Lead to Reduced Financial Recovery

Under Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence law, a person who is injured in a motorcycle collision and was not wearing a helmet could be considered partially at fault for his or her injuries. The defendant’s attorney could argue that the motorcyclist failed to take reasonable steps to protect himself or herself from harm by not wearing a helmet. If the rider’s failure to wear a helmet is found to be a contributing factor to his or her injuries, the damages award could be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the victim.

Discuss the Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Altoona with an Attorney

It is essential to understand the motorcycle helmet laws in Altoona and how they could impact your right to compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. If you have any questions about these legal requirements or wish to discuss the details of your case, contact a seasoned lawyer at Marcus & Mack today.

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Altoona PA   16601
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