Legalities Motorcycle Riders Should Know
Responsible Motorcyclists Comply with Legal Requirements
Responsible motorcyclists comply with the legal requirements of the jurisdictions in which they ride. These requirements vary by locale and may include provisions regarding age, training/experience, licensing, security, motorcycle equipment, personal-protective equipment, and/or passengers; and in addition to state laws, there may also be other administrative rules, regulations, or standards that apply or that create exceptions.
The first step to fulfill all applicable requirements to operate a motorcycle is knowing what they are. This page is a jumping-off place to start acquiring the information you need to comply with the laws where you intend to ride. The charts linked below are helpful tools for review and comparison and may serve to prompt questions you might not otherwise think of that you can direct to the appropriate state agency.
- Key Provisions of State Motorcycle Safety Laws - a summary chart by NHTSA current through January 2011
- State Motorcycle Rider Education Programs - a 2011 MSF Cycle Safety Information sheet supplying information about rider-education programs in states that have legislated programs and including a section of each state's major legislative provisions
- State-by-State Review of On-Highway Motorcyclist Equipment Requirements - a June 2011 chart provided by the MSF Government Relations Office that summarizes each state's legal requirements pertaining to personal-protective and onboard equipment
- State-by-State Motorcyclist Licensing Procedures – a 2010 MSF Cycle Safety Information sheet summarizing information derived from each state's driver-licensing agency about its motorcyclist licensing procedures
Insurance and Accident Information for Motorcyclists
There may be minimum insurance (security) requirements for motorcyclists (operators and/or passengers) in your state, and there may also be optional items of coverage available. Speak to an insurance professional to determine a coverage plan that best meets your personal needs to adequately protect yourself and your family.