Roethlisberger Fined for Motorcycling Without a License

Last week, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger crashes his motorcycle when a driver made an illegal turn in front of him. Today, they were both fined. It seems that Big Ben didn’t have a license to operate a motorcycle.

Also of note: “Only licensed motorcyclists can ride without a helmet in Pennsylvania.” Ponder that one for a minute.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Sports,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. LCB says:

    As opposed to probationary motorcycle riders, who are required to wear helmets.

  2. James Joyner says:

    LCB: That would make more sense. Otherwise, it’s like saying unlicensed drivers are required to wear seat belts. Um, they’re not supposed to be driving to begin with.

  3. Bithead says:

    LCB stole the thunder, here.
    That would be in line with other states with helmet-less laws, as I understand it.

  4. LJD says:

    Every coin having two sides, it’s intersting that there’s not much talk about the driver that made the ILLEGAL left turn in front of him.

    I almost lost my right foot to a such a maneuver. It is a fairly common, ticketable offense that ends very badly for the motorcycle coming the other way.

    I always wear a helmet when I ride, but I dunno. You would think the focus might be on the one who actually CAUSED the accident.

  5. TheHat says:

    Lets get the facts straight.
    Ben had a drivers license.
    He lacked a ‘motorcycle endorsement’.
    The lack of the endorsement automatically requires that he wear a helmet.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Hat: Ordinarily, lacking a required endorsement is tantamount to lacking a license. I don’t have a CDL endorement on my DL. If I were tooling around behind the wheel of a semi and got into an accident, the cops would be similarly unamused.

    Oddly, I recall Alabama allowing 15-year-olds to get motorcycle licenses whereas one had to wait to 16 to get a license to drive a car. That seems very odd in hindsight.

  7. James Joyner says:

    I just looked it up to see if things had changed since I was worried about since things (1982). They haven’t. Indeed, Alabama apparently will issue a motor driven cycle license to 14-year-olds [PDF].

  8. Boyd says:

    How about the possibility that this oddly worded law is more directed towards passengers? In other words, anybody can ride a motorcycle (as opposed to driving one), but the law only allows those who are so licensed to not wear a helmet. If you’re an unlicensed passenger riding pillion (or maybe even in a sidecar), you have to wear a helmet.

    I mean, really, there are many laws in this country which are much weirder than that interpretation.