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It can be confusing to know all the rules that motorcycles must follow when on the road. Their smaller size can often cause confusion about motorcycles and their laws.
A written and driving test are required to get a motorcycle license. The written test is helpful, but it still doesn’t cover every detail motorcyclists should know.
Do motorcycles need to be subject to the same laws that cars? Motorcycles must follow the same rules as cars. Motorcycles are classified as motor vehicles and are therefore profiled in the same group as cars. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but motorcycles will still be subject to traffic fines.
As a motorcyclist myself, I’ve often thought about specific rules pertaining to motorcycles. I’ve been able to do a thorough research and compile a helpful guide for any motorcyclist who may question the traffic laws they will have to follow.
These Are the Rules That Motorcycles Must Adhere To
The laws and rules of the road are made for the safety of everyone that’s one it. Though a lot of the rules are annoying and can sometimes give us tickets, it’s important to remember that they’re there for a reason.
These rules also apply to motorcycles. Some people tend to think that because they’re smaller vehicles, they’re exempt from a lot of the rules on the road. I’ve had this mindset myself before and quickly learned I was wrong when I got pulled over.
Let’s first talk about before the motorcycle even gets on the road. For motorcycles to be legally on the road, they must be registered and have a license plate. If a license plate is missing or the view of the license plate is hidden in any way, that’s a good candidate for a ticket.
Nearly all US states require that motorcycles carry minimum liability insurance. It is usually necessary to have motorcycle insurance in order to register the bike. Motorcycles are more prone to accidents so insurance is essential.
Just like drivers in cars, motorcyclists can be ticketed for traffic violations. This includes running a red light, not using your blinkers, driving too fast, and being rude.
Motorcycles do have some capabilities that other vehicles don’t have such as speed, wheelies, and drifts. Although it can be tempting to take advantage of these abilities on the road, a rule to remember is that if a vehicle does this and a police officer sees, will they be pulled over? If the answer is ever yes while comparing it to your motorcycle, simply don’t do it. You’ll likely get a ticket if you’re caught.
Additional laws for motorcyclists
Although motorcycles are different than most vehicles, the law recognizes that they can be dangerous. Therefore, there are additional laws and rules to protect the rider. There is a reason they have been made in the first place and most of the time it’s because someone previously got hurt in that way.
A major difference between motorcycles, cars and motorcycles is the requirement that motorcycle riders wear helmets in all fifty states. While some states require helmets for riders over a certain age, others require helmets regardless of age.
Obviously, it’s wise to wear a helmet on a motorcycle whether or not the law requires it. Because let’s face it, some of the car drivers out there aren’t exactly the most aware of us motorcyclists so that helmet could really end up saving your life at some point.
Many cities have noise ordinances which everyone must comply with. Specific laws for motorcycles prohibit them from making any loud noises. Motorcyclists love to adjust their exhaust and/or rev up their engines so loudly that it makes a lot of noise. Most places have laws against this.
When you see a car with their headlights on during the day, you think they either accidentally turned them on or they’re at a funeral. For motorcycles, this is a different situation. In the United States, almost all states require that motorcycles have a headlight. This is so they can be seen better by other drivers.
Some exceptions for motorcyclists
However, the law recognizes that motorcycles are different from other vehicles and therefore there are laws to make navigation easier for riders. Though the previous laws we’ve discussed can seem a bit restrictive, there are some pretty cool things motorcyclists are allowed to do in some states.
Motorcyclists can lane split with one exception: Or also known as “whitelining,” “lane filtering,” Or “stripe-riding”). Lane splitting allows motorcyclists to ride between rows or lines of stationary or slow moving traffic when there’s a traffic jam. They are able to get ahead of the traffic and this is considered safer than constantly slowing down and stopping.
This is not allowed everywhere. Many states still consider this illegal, while others have not made it legal. California and Utah are both the only states that have made it legal to use a motorcycle for lane splitting.
Motorcyclists have the second largest exception: being able to stop at a red light in the right conditions. Some traffic lights can be controlled by sensors, either via a camera or by a weight on the road. Sometimes if a motorcycle is left alone at a stop light, the light can’t sense it’s there because it’s too small to sense and doesn’t weigh enough to set off the weight sensor.
Many states have passed laws that allow motorcyclists to proceed with caution if they are caught in such a situation. Check with your state’s law before executing this privilege and make sure it’s legal.
Motorcyclists Believe They Have Some Exemptions, But It Is Inexplicable
There’s actually a lot of things that some motorcyclists do in which they truly believe they’re the exception but in actuality is quite illegal. I’ve done some of these myself many times.
You’ll probably notice a lot of motorcycles parked on sidewalks, especially at large grocery stores. While a lot of riders may get away with doing this, it’s actually illegal and could mean a hefty ticket. Parking on the sidewalk can cause problems for pedestrians and transporters who are trying to load large loads. Foot traffic can be disruptive to your property and could cause damage.
Motorcyclists often park their bikes on the parking lot’s striped lines. The lines that are striped are designated for handicap accessibility. If a motorbike is parked in these areas, it could cause problems for someone with disabilities who really needs the space to move around and get out of their car. Not only is this considered illegal, it’s also extremely inconsiderate. Click here for more information about motorcycle parking etiquette.
Bicycles aren’t the only option for bike lanes. Bicycle lanes can only be used by bicycles. Some motorcyclists seem to believe that because their vehicle is closer to the size of a bike, they’re fine using the bike lane. The illegality of a motorcycle using a bike lane isn’t for the safety of the motorcyclist, rather it’s for the safety of the cyclist who is expecting to be in a lane with non motorized, slower moving vehicles.
Is it against the law to use a tinted helmet while riding a motorcycle at night. There doesn’t seem to be any laws prohibiting tinted visors, but it should be common knowledge that it is unsafe to ride in such conditions. Your chances of getting in an accident will be increased if you have a blind spot at night when riding your motorcycle.
Why is motorcycle insurance so expensive? There are several different factors that can contribute to high motorcycle insurance such as the driver’s age, driving record, motorcycle CC’s, motorcycle’s age, motorcycle’s value, and the crime rate of where you live. You can read my article to learn more about why motorcycle insurance is so expensive.