Monday, January 10, 2011

PA Helmet Law Review

It was back in 2003 when the helmet law was repealed by the General Assembly that allows motorcycle riders 21 or older to go without a helmet. Anyone operating a motorcycle on a learner’s permit must wear a helmet, regardless of age. State Representative Dan Frankel of Squirrel Hill, the Democratic Caucus chairman, says he plans to reintroduce legislation to restore Pennsylvania’s helmet law.

Frankel says it was a major mistake by legislators to rescind the helmet law. He says people endanger their lives and it costs taxpayers additional money with respect to medical assistance, brain injuries and other injuries that are sustained by motorcyclists who choose to ride without a helmet. Frankel sites statistics from the National Transportation Safety board, which estimated that $13.2 billion dollars was saved from 1984 to 1999 because of motorcycle helmet use. He says at a time when we are facing an economic crisis, this is an area where he would not be exposing taxpayers to additional potential expense.

On the issue of individual rights, Frankel says he understands motorcycle riders will cite freedom of choice as a reason to ride without helmet protection. He admits it will be difficult to reinstate the helmet law because it’s not a high priority issue for the GOP administration. But he would like to see a resolution passed to have a study done to see what the impact has been in Pennsylvania in the seven years since the law was rescinded; specifically, injuries, deaths, and the costs to taxpayers.

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