The United States, being one of the largest countries in the world, inadvertently has one of the largest chunks of motorcyclists. In addition to that, it is seen as the ideal country globally. Though they have a fault, a country as large as the United States should have strong motorcycle laws.
Though not all the states in the United States have the same kind of laws for motorists as some have strict laws and some have none, every state’s government has addressed this. As the summer is approaching in the country, your desire for a motorcycle tour may be at its peak.
You may want to travel the country with an area of lush green covers, but of course, you don’t want to be penalized for silly mistakes you have done on the road. So, it’s essential to know this nitty-gritty of the motorcycle laws to avoid unnecessary penalties. Here is a quick check of the critical rules you should know before travelling to these states.
- Helmet Laws for motorcyclists:
In the late 1960s, the people were very reluctant to use the helmets as it was uncool at that time, and it was conceived that only the timid people use the helmets. But after that, with the rapid expansion of roads and extensive research, the government decided to penalize the bikers without helmets.
Then in the 1970s, with proper legislation, the motorcycle laws came for helmets. It was universal throughout the country till 1976, but the then state governments decided to change the course and said they would make their laws according to their need.
- Helmets required by law: These states have strict rules for helmets, even passengers and motorcyclists. The helmet you are wearing should be certified by D.O.T. It means it has passed the test for resistance of impact, retention, and penetration if any mishaps happen. This standard was recently modified in accordance with global standards. The helmet should have the manufacturer’s name and DOT certification sign along with the text FMVSS218.
- Age restrictive law: some states do have helmet laws for just particular age groups from17 to 20 years only.
- Law with conditions: Apart from riding with helmets, some states require helmets with additional security features of reflectorization or retro-reflective. It means the helmets will stand out in the crowd and easily be spotted.
- No helmets: In a handful of states, there is no requirement for helmets, and you can easily enjoy the breeze through your hair as you drive. Most of these states are in the middle of the country.
- Eye protection laws:
The eye protection laws are not tough to understand like the helmet ones. And you should always wear eye-protective gear whether there are laws or not. It should be certified by DOT, or even the guard of your helmets will work.
- With law: Twelve states have strict rules regarding wearing eye protective gear, whether a passenger or motorcyclist.
- Windscreen conditions: If you are wearing a helmet with the windscreen, you may not require a sunglass in these states because it already protects you from possible damage. The windshield protects more than the sunglasses actually as it also guards you against possible debris that may come when you are speeding up. It also reduces the risk of fatigue when riding because of the incoming air.
- Criteria required: Indiana state has laws that say you have to wear eye protective gear under 18. Massachusetts requires a permit, whereas South Carolina needs eye protection gear for those under 21 age if you don’t have a windscreen.
- No eye gear: 14 states have no laws for eye protection though it is recommended that you always use the eye gear irrespective of laws.
- Noise restriction laws for motorcyclists:
Most states have strict guidelines for the loud sounds that come through the bike’s exhaust. To prevent these, mufflers are used.
- Requirement of mufflers: Though there is no specified limit of a decibel of sound that you should maintain, eleven states have the condition of using mufflers.
- No muffler modifications: these states don’t allow in the mufflers, and the sound should not be more than OEM exhaust.
- Cut-outs are illegal, and mufflers are required: These states don’t allow any bypass to exhaust your bike.
- No requirement: Nothing as such is restricted in these states. You can add anything to your bike. You can add cutouts or whatever OEM made original.
- Passenger laws:
Riding with a passenger on a great road is always a fulfilling experience, and only five states have some guidelines if you carry a passenger with you.
- Restrictions: five states have clearly stated that you cannot ride with a passenger between the ages of 5-8 years old.
- No restrictions: Other than these states, there are no guidelines or rules. Still, you should judge with your good conscience whether it is ok to travel with a smaller age group considering they are using the above-mentioned protective gears.
- Headlight Laws:
Using headlights even in the daytime for the increased safety of fellow motorists is becoming common these days as it makes a huge difference when you are passing through low light areas.
- Law states using headlights: 18 states have indicated that you need to keep your headlight at all points of time irrespective of the model you use.
- Modulated headlights: It means your headlight should change according to available lights outside. It is beneficial because your visibility to other motorists increases due to this. Half of the country uses this law.
- Model stipulations: Seven states say you need to use a headlight after a particular model year.
- No headlights requirement: In these states, you need not use headlights in the daytime.
- Laws for changing lanes: Most states don’t allow this but only California. Lane splitting or changing is extremely dangerous, but also it can decrease traffic congestion. This lane splitting topic is considered controversial, and apart from California, this habit of lane splitting can also cause road rage.
These are some of the laws related to motorcycles in the United States. One needs to take care of all the different laws if one is riding a motorcycle.