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Pennsylvania Motorcycle Helmet Law Could Return

At one point in time it was illegal to ride a motorcycle in Pennsylvania without a helmet. The law, after motorcycle enthusiasts fought tooth and nail, was repealed in 2003; however, a state lawmaker from the western Pennsylvania hopes to revive it.

The representative is expected to reintroduce the bill, officially known as House Bill 945, today at the state’s capital with the hope that it lowers the number of serious head injuries and deaths caused by motorcycle accidents.

Currently, state law requires motorcycle riders under 21 to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle, but allows those 21 and older to go helmetless after holding a motorcycle license for at least two years or completing a PennDOT-approved safety class.

The proposed law, which is backed by both democrats and republicans, would restore the old helmet law so that they are mandatory for people of all ages.

In promoting the bill, the representative has cited research by the University of Pittsburgh that shows the shocking medical costs attributed to serious injuries suffered by bikers who were not wearing helmets.

The study, the lawmaker said, “shows an incredibly dramatic increase in head injuries and hospitalizations that exceeds the increase in the number of motorcycle riders in Pennsylvania.”

Reportedly, the study compared the two years before the helmet law was repealed to the first two years after the repeal and found that head injury deaths increased by 66 percent. Further, the study revealed that hospitalization for motorcycle-related head injury increased 78 percent.

Many motorcycle riders oppose having a law that requiring them to wear a helmet because they enjoy the freedom to choose to wear one or not. But lawmakers say that these serious accidents and deaths end up being a burden on taxpayers as well as tragedies.

What do you think? Should Pennsylvania lawmakers restore the motorcycle helmet law?

Source: Phillyburbs.com, “State motorcycle helmet law may be restored,” George Mattar, 5/23/2011.