PA Helmet Law Modified

News Release from the AMA:

The AMA commends Pennsylvania's legislators and Gov. Ed Rendell for modifying the state's helmet law to allow adults to ride without helmets under certain conditions.

Following more than two decades of effort with the support of the AMA, ABATE of Pennsylvania succeeded in getting legislation through the General Assembly and onto the governor's desk to change the helmet law.

Rendell stated on the campaign trail last spring that he would sign the legislation into law if it cleared the General Assembly and he became governor. Rendell earned the governor's seat, and on July 6 he kept his campaign promise, signing the bill into law.

Under the new law, which takes effect in early September, motorcyclists 21 or older who have had a motorcycle operator's license for at least two years, or who have completed an approved motorcycle rider safety course, may decide for themselves whether to use a helmet. Passengers 21 or older riding with riders who meet the requirements of the law also have a choice in helmet use.

Charles Umbenhauer, state lobbyist for ABATE of Pennsylvania, said ABATE has worked on this issue for decades, and in 1998 got a similar bill to the governor's desk but that measure was vetoed.

The AMA has helped ABATE of Pennsylvania with its push over many years. This year alone, the AMA not only wrote to Pennsylvania lawmakers but sent letters to almost 10,000 AMA members in the state urging them to contact their legislators to support the bill. In addition, the AMA kept Pennsylvania motorcyclists informed by posting notices on the AMA website and urging members to send messages in support of the helmet-related legislation to their lawmakers through the AMA Rapid Response Center on the website.

"This new law is a great victory for ABATE of Pennsylvania and motorcyclists in the state," said Sean Maher, AMA director of state affairs. "It shows that preparation and persistence pay off, and the importance of having dedicated individuals like Charles Umbenhauer working on motorcycling issues year after year."
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George Obradovich
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