Motorcycle Accident Laws – Los Angeles
California’s open roads and breathtaking scenery provide the perfect environment for motorcyclists to be free of life’s daily requirements. But with that freedom comes the responsibility of obeying the laws and staying safe on the roads. California motorcycle laws mandate safe practices for both ordinary motor vehicle drivers, as well as motorcyclists. If you have been in an accident in California, consider calling a Los Angeles motorcycle injury attorney for advice.
Motorcycle Licensing Requirements
In California, anyone operating a motorized vehicle, whether it be a moped, gas driven or electric driven car, or motorcycle, must have a license. The type of license required depends upon your age, and the vehicle you drive/ride. Motorcyclists have to know and obey the same laws as motor vehicle drivers, but they also have additional responsibilities.
- They must take and pass an approved driver education course
- They must possess a valid motor vehicle driver’s license
- Must be 16 years of age or older to obtain a motorcycle operator’s license
- Riders who have a motorcycle permit must not ride after dark, carry passengers, or ride on the freeway
- Riders who are under the age of 18 must have permission from a parent or legal guardian
- Riders under the age of 21 must complete the California Highway Patrol Motorcycle Training Course (CHP MTC)
With the exception of riders who have a learners permit, California does not have any restrictions on motorcycle passengers. Persons of any age may ride behind a licensed motorcycle rider. However, passengers must be provided with and use footrests while the motorcycle is in motion, and passenger seats must be secured firmly in place.
Required Safety Equipment and Features
California motorcycle law requires that certain safety equipment and features will be utilized by all motorcycle riders, and include:
- Motorcycle handlebars cannot be higher than six inches above the rider’s shoulders
- All motorcycles built after 1973 must have fully functioning front and back, and left and right blinkers
- All motorcycles built in 1978 or later must have their headlights on at all times while riding
- All motorcycles must be equipped with at least one mirror
- All drivers and passengers of motor-driven cycles must wear approved helmets
- For motorcycles made in 2013 or later, the exhaust systems must comply with state codes and must not be altered in any way that violates those codes.
- Riders must only wear helmets with one ear-phone speaker so they are aware of their surroundings
Minimum Insurance Requirements
Motorcycle riders must carry at least the minimum liability coverage of $5,000 property damage, $15,000 personal injury coverage for one person, and $30,000 personal injury coverage for multiple victims. Although, it is recommended that they carry higher limits of coverage including uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to protect their own interests.
In 2016, California passed a law that legalized lane splitting on highways. Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist moves between two lanes of traffic in order to get around vehicles. It is believed that riders who are able to Lane split have a smaller chance of being rear-ended while waiting in traffic, and help prevent inhalation of vehicle exhaust. But, some experts believe that motorcyclists who lane split are more likely to be in an accident, especially during busy rush-hour traffic.
Lane sharing occurs when two motorists share a lane, traveling side-by-side in traffic. Examples include two cars, two motorcycles, or one of each. California does not currently have a law that forbids lane sharing, even though it is considered to be unsafe by driving experts.
Los Angeles Motorcycle Injury Attorney
Motorcycles are a risky mode of transportation. Riders who take every possible precaution can still suffer injuries due to someone else’s negligence. If you or someone you know have been in a motorcycle accident, you should consider calling a Los Angeles motorcycle injury attorney for advice. A skilled Los Angeles motorcycle injury attorney can investigate the accident to determine who is at fault, collect all the necessary accident information, and advise you what needs to be done in order to get you the largest settlement.
M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers provide free consultations to accident victims throughout California and have several offices in the Los Angeles area. Give us a call at (323) 746-4921, or fill out the brief online form, and we will get back to you shortly.