New York Motorcycle Laws You Should Know

Traffic laws are designed to keep everyone safe, and reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents. If you wish to hit the open road on a motorcycle, knowing and following New York motorcycle laws will help to keep you safe and help you to avoid a ticket. If you’re a motorcyclist in New York, here’s what you need to know to make sure you’re riding within the lines of the law.

Licensing Requirements

Like most states, New York motorcycle laws require a separate driver’s license for operating a motorcycle. In order to operate a motorcycle, you must have either a learner’s permit or a motorcycle license (a class M or a MJ operator’s license or learner’s permit). You will have to perform a road test at the completion of 30 hours’ worth of practice accompanied by a driver with a motorcycle license. If you have a motorcyclist permit and a valid driver’s license, you may be permitted to waive the road test and take an educational training course instead.

If you already have a motorcycle license from a different state, you can ride a motorcycle in New York with that license. If you become a New York resident, you can exchange the motorcycle license from the other state for a valid New York motorcycle license.

Helmet Requirements

The state of New York has strict helmet laws, and requires the use of a helmet by all riders regardless of age or experience level. All helmets must meet U.S. Department of Transportation Safety Standards. Additionally, eye protection, such as goggles, is also required for all riders. Eyewear must meet standards set by the American National Standards Institute.

Helmet use could be important if you’re in an accident. A negligent motorist who causes your accident might argue that head or neck injuries were made worse by your lack of helmet use, which can affect your damages under comparative negligence laws.

Additional Equipment Required

Like regular motor vehicles, motorcyclists are required to have their motorcycles equipped with certain pieces of equipment. Some of the required equipment is below. 

  • Headlights
  • Taillights
  • Stop lamps
  • License plate lamps
  • Directional signals
  • Brakes
  • Rearview mirror
  • Muffler
  • Rear reflector
  • Horn

Your bike must have all of this equipment in order to comply with New York motorcycle laws.

New York Motorcycle Laws Require Adhering to All Traffic Laws

Motorcyclists are required to follow the same traffic laws as other motorists – motorcyclist must adhere to posted speed limits, lane change requirements, signally requirements, and all other traffic laws. The only exception to this rule is that motorcyclists, unlike motor vehicles, are allowed to ride two abreast to a single lane. However, no more that two riders are permitted to ride side by side.

New motorcyclists should understand that while their motorcycle allows them more maneuverability, they must still abide by all normal traffic regulations.

Motorcycle Insurance under New York Motorcycle Laws

All motorists, regardless of whether they’re operating a motor vehicle or a motorcycle, are required to have insurance.

Minimum liability insurance coverage is $10,000 for property damage, $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death per person, and $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 per accident. But motorcyclists do not have to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage like other motorists.

New York Motorcycle Laws & Accidents

If you fail to follow New York’s laws for motorcyclists, and your failure to follow these laws causes an accident, you could be liable for other parties’ damages. But if another motorist caused your accident, you may file a liability claim with that driver’s insurance to recover compensation for your damages.

At Gacovino, Lake & Associates P.C., our attorneys help motorcycle accident victims explore their legal options to recover damages and build their case. If you’ve been injured, we’re ready to take on your claim. To get started, call us today at 800-550-0000 or use the form on our contact page.

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