According to recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, thousands of riders in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may be operating their motorcycles without a proper PA motorcycle license.
As a Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyer, and as a long-time rider myself, I cannot implore you strongly enough to secure a valid license (and adequate insurance) before you get on your bike. There are serious legal and safety concerns at stake.
Consequences for riding without your PA motorcycle license
Unlicensed or invalidly licensed riders are, for a variety of reasons, much more likely to be in motorcycle accidents than members of almost any other vehicle operator groups.
And the bad news does not stop there. Aside from being in an especially high-risk group for accidents in the first place, unlicensed riders are more than 20 times more likely to die in these accidents than validly licensed riders.
I have written before about some of the steps you need to take to secure your license, including tips for passing your PA motorcycle permit practice test. Just going through this process will increase your knowledge base and road skills significantly, which will help you to avoid many situations that result in accidents.
What happens if you are in an accident before you are validly licensed?
For the record, there are a number of situations that would account for this being the case, beyond a license that is expired, rescinded, etc. The most common example is that you are riding with a permit only.
But regardless of the reason, the fact of the matter is that if you do not have your valid PA motorcycle license, it will be more difficult to establish that another party is at fault in an accident, regardless of what may actually happen in this hypothetical accident situation.
For example, let’s say that you are riding on the freeway, and defective pavement conditions cause you to take a serious spill on your motorcycle.
Some examples of defective surface conditions would include deep rutting, severe cracking, loose patching material, or so-called raveling (a condition wherein aged asphalt has deteriorated into a loose, gravel-like consistency – very dangerous for motorcycles).
Because this is the highway, and not a municipality or city surface street, the Commonwealth is responsible for its upkeep. If it can be established that poor maintenance on their part caused your accident, the Commonwealth would be the at-fault party.
However, because you are riding without a valid license, the Commonwealth can, and probably will, claim that an adequately trained and licensed rider would have been able to keep the bike upright. They will argue, in essence that your lack of a license rather than the poorly maintained road caused the accident, and that the Commonwealth is not liable.
Call an attorney who specializes in motorcycle accident cases
Remember, even if you have an accident while riding without a license, you still retain the right to fight for your interests, which may include reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages, emotional trauma, and more.
While these types of cases are often more difficult than typical accident cases, they are not un-winnable. That’s why an attorney, like me, who specializes in – and is passionate about – motorcycles and the people who ride them is your best bet to prevail in your claim.
For more information about PA motorcycle licenses, call Pennsylvania motorcycle accident attorney Lee D. Gaber at 1-888-292-5352 (1-888-CYCLE-LAW).