Pennsylvania residents have lived with the freedom of getting to ride a motorcycle helmet-free for about a decade. Could state riders be in for a change now that media reports are buzzing about the controversial topic of helmet laws again?
With spring and summer upon us and motorcyclists taking to the roads, traffic safety advocates have their eyes on motorcycle safety. They are pointing to the numbers that suggest more people are dying in Pennsylvania motorcycle accidents due to the lack of strict helmet laws.
Statistics show that the rate of motorcyclist fatalities has increased by 35 percent in the past 10 years. The timeframe supports critics’ theory that the repeal of the old helmet requirement has made riding more deadly. Important to note, however, is that more motorcyclists are on the roads now and in recent years when compared to the past.
Even if numbers do strongly suggest that more riders are dying because they aren’t wearing helmets, the point of the matter is the same today as it was years ago when the law was loosened. Opponents of helmet laws argue that adults should have the choice to wear a helmet or not. It is their lives on the line.
Perhaps the number of motorcycle crash fatalities proves something other than the impact of helmet laws. Perhaps it proves that drivers continue to negligently navigate the roads and are careless around motorcycles.
If a motorcyclist is injured or killed in an accident caused by a negligent driver, he or his surviving family have legal rights, even if the crash victim wasn’t wearing a helmet.
Source: WPXI, “Motorcycle deaths in Pa. rise in 10 years since repeal of helmet law,” May 28, 2013