Handlebar Height Restriction Removed
Posted October 10, 2003

House Bill 152 now Act 152 of 2002 was an omnibus transportation bill, which among other things, stripped out any restriction on motorcycle handlebar height. However, many motorcyclists had been experiencing difficulty in getting their motorcycle inspected or had been written tickets for high handlebars.

The following letter should finally clear up any misconceptions about the law. Print this webpage, send a link to it or contact the state office for a copy of the actual letter if needed.

Below is the text of a letter dated September 12, 2003 from Allen D. Biehler, Secretary of Transportation of the Commonwealth of PA to The Honorable Richard A. Geist, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

Dear Mr. Geist:

This is in response to your inquiry regarding the elimination of handlebar height restrictions for motorcycles. I apologize for the lateness of this reply, however, a determination as to the effect of the repeal of the statutory language on a similar or identical provision in regulation had to be made by our Office of Chief Counsel.

As you are aware, the Vehicle Equipment and Inspection Regulations (Chapter 175) currently prohibit motorcycles from passing Pennsylvania's periodic safety inspection if the handlebars are higher than the drivers shoulders. This prohibition was based on similar language that was recently removed from the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code by Act 152 of 2002. Since the legislative intent was to remove restrictions regarding handlebar height, PENNDOT will move forward to remove the prohibition in the inspection regulations and notify all inspection stations not to enforce the regulation while we initiate this change. Additionally, the Department will notify the Pennsylvania State Police and all Quality Assurances Officers (personnel responsible for the oversight of inspection stations) to inform them that the provisions of Chapter 175, relating to the height of handlebars on motorcycles, have been superceded by the action of the General Assembly and are no longer enforceable.

I hope you find this information and the Department's action satisfactory. Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Betty Serian, Deputy Secretary for Safety Administration, at 717-787-3928.

Allen D. Biehler
Secretary of Transportation

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