Motorcycles are fairly common in Pennsylvania, but not all drivers and riders know how to share the road safely. Unsafe driving and riding practices may be especially dangerous for motorcyclists, as they tend to suffer more serious injuries in an accident than do people in a car. Basic safety measures, such as wearing a helmet, may help reduce the risk of fatalities for motorcyclists. Rigorous training may also help reduce the number of motorcycle accidents, including both single-vehicle crashes and those involving cars or pedestrians.
In many cases, motorcycle riders incur more serious injuries and deaths than drivers and passengers in cars. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's accident statistics, the number of motorcyclists who died in fatal accidents in 2016 was 5,286. This represents 14% of all deaths from motor vehicle accidents in that year. Additionally, the NHTSA indicates that in 2016, there were nearly 28 times more motorcycle deaths than car deaths per mile traveled. Speeding seems to be a frequent cause of accidents involving motorcycles. In fatal crashes in 2016, 33% of motorcyclists involved were speeding, which is higher than the percentage of car drivers (19%) who were speeding.
Increasing training and licensing requirements for motorcycle riders may help reduce the number of accidents. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has a motorcycle safety program called PAMSP that offers free training to state residents who have motorcycle licenses or learner's permits. The program provides several courses, including introductory classes for people interested in obtaining a learner's permit and advanced courses for experienced riders. An individual with a motorcycle learner's permit who successfully complete a PAMSP course may get his or her Class M license immediately without taking a PennDOT skills test. The training that PAMSP offers may help riders of all skill levels improve their knowledge of safety fundamentals and reduce their risk of getting into an accident.