Summer is here and you just bought yourself a shiny new bike. This is the culmination of a lifelong dream, and you are probably just itching to ride it. Just know that there are driving laws that apply to all motorists, and laws that apply only to bikers. Also, these laws vary across state lines, which makes things even more confusing.
As such, let’s take a look the driving laws that apply to you as rider, and the variations in these laws between different states:
Special Licensing is Required
Even if you hold a valid drivers’ license, you cannot purchase a new motorcycle and simply drive off into the sunset. No matter which state you reside in, you will need to be licensed to ride in some capacity. Some states will give you an endorsement on your existing drivers’ license, while other states and districts may require you to get an entirely separate license to operate a motorcycle.
The easiest way to get a motorcycle license or endorsement in most states is by passing a written test or completing a course, online, or in a classroom, in motorcycle safety. In Kentucky, Montana, and Florida, you must also take a driving test. In Rhode Island and Georgia, a vision test is required as well.
Helmets May or May Not Be Needed
While helmet rules vary between different states, most areas do require that both operators and passengers wear one while riding. However, since the laws do differ, it is probably best to check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, or an automobile and pedestrian accidents attorney, about the specifics in your jurisdiction.
For example, in a few states, helmets are only requisite for teenage operators, while the majority of states require any operator to wear one. That being said, if you live in New Hampshire, Iowa, or Illinois, you will find that there are no laws about helmet use at all.
In all 50 states and additional American territories, the laws and rules that apply to any other driver are applied equally to motorcyclists. These are, of course, the common sense laws that everyone knows, such as stopping at stop signs and red lights and obeying the posted speed limits. It also goes without saying that you cannot drive any vehicle while intoxicated.
In conclusion, there are certain laws that pertain to all motorists and some that are exclusive to motorcycle operators. Knowing the laws that apply to you as a biker in your state is crucial to riding safely and legally.