Helmet Rules in Pennsylvania

If you ride a motorcycle, an ATV, or an autocycle in Pennsylvania, you may be wondering what the applicable helmet laws are. You can find all the information you need here.

Is PA a No Helmet State?

The short answer is yes, but with exceptions. If you are at least 21 years old and a motorcyclist in PA and have been issued a motorcycle license for two full years or if you have completed a PennDOT or Motorcycle Safety Foundation class and passed it, then you don’t legally need to wear a helmet to ride a motorcycle in the state.

All people with a learner’s motorcycle permit must wear a helmet, no matter what their age is. The passenger of an exempt rider can also go without the need for a helmet if he or she is at least 21 years old.

Your helmet, if required, must be DOT approved–meaning that it’s passed rigorous testing to prove that it is effective in the case of a motorcycle accident.

The DOT sticker on your helmet must have permanent documentation on it with the name and identification of the manufacturer, the exact model number of the helmet, the size, and the month and year that the helmet was manufactured in. The DOT sticker can be in the center of the back outer shell of the helmet. While any other documentation needs to be legibly labeled and readable without taking out any padding or permanent parts of the helmet to do so.

Do You Have To Wear A Helmet on An ATV?

In the state of Pennsylvania, you need to wear a helmet while operating or riding an ATV. Your helmet needs to fit correctly and be fastened as well as being DOT approved to ride on state-owned lands and roadways that are designated for ATV use.

Do You Have to Wear A Helmet on A Slingshot?

Since 2016, a new law in PA was created covering the autocycle. It describes the autocycle as a vehicle with three wheels in which you don’t straddle the seat like a motorcycle, but instead it has bucket seats in it with seat belts like a car. It also includes a steering wheel instead of handlebars and a gas and brake pedal like a car.  An example of an autocycle is a Polaris Slingshot.  The registration for an autocycle is the same as for a motorcycle.

You only need a class C driver’s license to operate an autocycle on public roadways instead of a motorcycle license of class M. You can’t take a driver’s test in a Slingshot for any type of license.

Since it is legally considered a motorcycle, the slingshot has to follow all motorcycle laws including the helmet laws for motorcycles. You are exempt from using a helmet if you have 2 years of riding experience or you pass a PAMSP course.