Although there are many different kinds of motorcycles, they all fall under the same laws and jurisdictions. The American Motorcyclist Association puts out the laws, regulations, events, and even some products exclusively for motorcyclists. If you ride a motorcycle and want to check in on the laws or want to know of a motorcycle event near you, the American Motorcyclist Association is who you would check with.
Riding motorcycles is a passion of many different people. If you love riding your bike, make sure you know all the laws that apply to motorcycles in your state. That way, you can be safe and prepared.
Laws surrounding motorcycles and two-wheel vehicles can be found with the American Motorcyclist Association State Laws Database. The laws differ from state to state, so you want to make sure you look at the laws for the state that you live in.
Only 19 states and the District of Columbia require motorcyclists to wear a safety helmet while riding their bikes. For example, motorcycle helmet laws vary widely from state to state. In Kansas, it is required by law that anybody under the age of 18 wear a safety helmet while riding a motorcycle. In the state of Louisiana, it is state law that all motorcyclists wear a helmet at all times when riding their bike. In Illinois, it is not required for bikers to wear a safety helmet while riding a motorcycle.
However, even though it is not a law it is still important to wear a helmet. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute, in 2015, the number of deaths on motorcycles was almost 29 times greater than the number of deaths in cars.
Furthermore, it has been shown that wearing a safety helmet while riding a motorcycle is 67% likely to prevent brain damage during an accident. Even though it is not a law in every state, if you are riding a motorcycle, you should wear a helmet. Importantly, if you have a passenger with you on your motorcycle, they should definitely have a helmet too.
While the laws themselves vary from state to state, the basic categories of motorcycles laws are the same. Here are the different kinds of laws covered by the American Motorcyclist Association:
On Road Laws:
- Accept Motorcycle Endorsement from Other States
- Accept RiderEd Completion Card from Other States
- Daytime Use of Headlight
- Eye Protection
- Handlebar height
- Helmet Speakers
- Lane Splitting
- Lemon Law Coverage
- Maximum Sound Level
- Mirrors (left and right)
- Motorcycles operating two abreast in same lane
- Passenger Age Restriction
- Passenger Footrest
- Passenger seat
- Periodic Safety Inspection
- Radar Detector
- Rider Education
- Rider-Education Waiver
- Safety Helmet
- State Insurance Requirements
- Traffic Actuated Signals
- Turn Signals
Off Road Laws:
- Eye Protection
- Maximum Sound Level
- Minimum Operator Age
- Operator License
- Rider Education Certification
- Safety Helmet
- Spark Arrestor
- Trails Program
- Vehicle Title
Remember, just because something is a law in one state, does not mean that the same law will apply in another state. If you are traveling, make sure you are well-versed in the different laws that are enforced in the places you are traveling to, or through.
Do the American Motorcyclist Association Laws Apply Just to Motorcycles?
The laws of the American Motorcyclist Association apply to all two-wheel vehicles. This includes all of the different kinds of motorcycles. When it comes to motorcycles, there are scooters, sport bikes, touring bikes, dual-sport bikes, cruisers, and much more.
Even though these different two-wheel vehicles may look and function differently, they still are required to follow the laws of the American Motorcyclist Association.
If you have a motorcycle and enjoy riding it, make sure you know what laws are enforced in your state. Respecting the laws of the American Motorcyclist Association help ensure that your motorcycle license won’t be taken away, and that you, and other bikers and cars around you, are safe on the road.
Safety Accessories All Motorcyclists Need
A common concern with motorcyclists and their families is their safety on the roads. While you or your relative might be great motorcyclist, you can’t control the people around you. That being said, the safety accessories all motorcyclists need include:
- Motorcycle safety gear
- Crash protection
- Security system
- Repair tools
- Reflective gear
Motorcycle Safety Accessories
- Motorcycle Safety Gear
Wearing the proper safety gear will help protect you in the case of a fall. While a bike might be broken, or damaged, proper gear can help save you from terrible road rash or the worst case scenario. Some of the top safety gear choices include:
- Helmets – Helmets are arguably the most essential gear needed for safety and legality. It keeps your face protected from wind and debris, but it also keeps your face and head protected in a crash. Now, they even come equipped with Bluetooth in case you need to make a call or accept one while keeping both hands on the wheel.
- Gloves – Since it is an instinct to catch ourselves with our hands, gloves can also come in handy when there’s a fall. Trying to catch yourself without any protection can lead to torn skin, a loss of fingers, and/or broken bones. Even when you’re riding, it can protect your hands from wind and weather.
- Jacket – Jackets are the most popular when the weather is cooler because they can make you look like a biker. They come in many different materials, and while they look awesome, they also keep your skin from receiving bad road rash in an accident.
- Boots – Boots come in handy and provide traction. They also protect all the small bones in your foot and ankle. Make sure to get an over-the-ankle boot and ensure its sturdy.
- Pants – You may not think of protective pants, but in the case of a fall, you will wish you had them. Jeans might be comfortable and convenient, but they can rip to shred on pavement. Instead of having to invest in leather or other textile material, now they make pants that have protective padding in the right spots.
- Crash Protection
The next must-have on the list of safety accessories is crash protection on your motorcycle. Adding small little adjustments here and there on your bike can help save you hundreds and thousands in repairs – and it could help protect you.
- Bar ends – If your handle bars are wide enough or your bike is narrow, your handlebars could be susceptible to damage in a fall. The bar ends take the hit instead in place of other expensive parts.
- Frame sliders – Frame sliders disperse the impact of a fall across the frame of the bike and through the engine. Attached to the frame, engine block, or both, it helps protect the chassis by elevating the bike just enough to keep any crucial parts off the ground without flipping or rolling it.
- Front axle sliders – Front axle sliders pass through the front axle and provide sliders for the front forks and brakes. It adds another layer of protection and guards from possible tip-over damage.
- Swingarm spools – Swingarm spools can double as mounting points for the paddock stand, and they make it easy to adjust the chain. Compared to the other safety accessories listed, it provides minimal protection on its own, but combining it with the above gives more added.
- Engine covers – When made from billet aluminum or composite nylon, engine covers can be pretty tough and will help protect the engine. Unfortunately, it won’t help much with protecting the rest of the bike, so it’s best to combine it with the above listed.
- Security System
If you plan on taking long trips with your bike, you might want to invest in some security safety accessories. Long trips require breaks both short and long and leaving your bike unattended could put it at risk in unfamiliar areas. Locks, alarms, and a GPS tracker will all help to ensure you and your bike’s safety.
- Repair Tools
You never know when you’ll need to repair your bike, especially if you’re far from home. Taking good care of it and checking all the parts before going far will surely help, but you can never predict when something could go wrong. Having the right tools with you and getting to know your bike will not only help you in an emergency, but it could help you save money.
- Reflective Gear
If you anticipate on doing any sort of night riding, you should invest in reflective gear. Just like a bicycle rider, cars driving in the dark may not be able to see you until it’s too late. Make sure you have the necessary gear to help be seen. You can get reflective license plate bolts, helmets, jackets, vests, pants, boots, gloves, luggage, and stickers to add to any of these items or your bike.
How Were Motorcycles Created?
Motorcycles have been around for over 100 years, which means they have had some time to evolve. Beginning in the mid-1800s, motorcycles have been a source of travel, exploration, competition, and even fashion for many people all over the world.
But it is important to remember that motorcycles started in America and remain a staple in American culture to this day. Perhaps what made motorcycles so popular among Americans was their emergence at about the same time as highway and road development began to spark throughout the United States. With a wide, open road comes a motorcyclist at heart ready to ride it.
But motorcycles weren’t always built for long, steady riding. When you learn a bit more about the history of motorcycles, you can see how far they have really come!
Motorcycle History: The Engine
The very first motorcycle of its kind was built by American Sylvester Howard Roper in 1867. This early version of the motorcycle is what is known as a velocipede—meaning that the pedals were attached to the front wheel. Roper, also being the inventor of the steam-engine car, developed his early design of the motorcycle giving it a similar build. Roper’s early motorcycle has a coal-fired steam engine. Unfortunately, in 1896, Roper was killed while riding his steam powered motorcycle.
At about the same time that Roper brought his steam-powered version of the motorcycle, a different kind of motorcycle was developed by Frenchman Ernest Michaux. This other early version of the motorcycle was alcohol-fired and also a steam engine. At the time, these types of motorcycles were only capable of going at a speed of a few miles per hour.
However, a few years after Michaux developed his version of the motorcycle, another American inventor put their spin on the motorcycle. In 1887, Lucius Copeland from Phoenix, Arizona developed a way to make his motored bicycle travel at a whopping top speed of 12 miles per hour, which was extremely fast for motorcycles of that time. Copeland’s “Moto-Cycle” had 3 wheels, which some thought aided in balancing on the bike while traveling at top speeds.
The first version of what we know as a motorcycle was developed by Gottlieb Daimler in 1885 and was called the “Petroleum Retiwagon.” This version of the motorcycle had a gas-powered internal combustion engine that allowed the bike to propel forward on its own. What makes this type of motorcycle different from what we know today, is that Daimler’s “Petroleum Retiwagon” had a pair of training wheels meant to keep the car upright when it was being turned.
From then on, motorcycles continued to be developed and improved, until they became the classic American motored bikes we know and love today.
Types of Motorcycles
With the creation of the motorcycle, there have evolved into specific categories to appeal to different kinds of riders. Some people want their motorcycle to be able to travel long distances with a smooth ride, and others want their motorcycle to be able to cut super tight turns and accelerate quickly. Over the years, motorcycle developers have built bikes for all of these different types of riders.
Here are some of the more common types of motorcycles that have emerged since the late 1800’s:
- Sport Bike
History of Motorcycles: Then and Now
Since their emergence in the mid 1800’s motorcycles have evolved into so much more than just a steam engine attached to a bicycle. They have come a long way in both build and price.
When the very first Harley-Davidson motorcycle was developed, it took approximately 4 months to manufacture, and was marketed at a price of about $210. Can you imagine purchasing a brand-new Harley-Davidson for just a little over $200. Now, most Harley-Davison motorcycles can cost anywhere between $10,000-$50,000. The 2018 CVO Limited starts at $42,949. These days, if you wanted to spend about $200 at the Harley-Davidson store, you could maybe buy a helmet. The Harley-Davidson Pilot 3-in-1 X04 Helmet costs about $225.
When motorcycles first came out, they were basically used for travel. Early motorcycles could not move at very fast speeds, so it was uncommon to use them for sporting purposes. But now, motorcycles can be used for so much more than just transportation—they are a classic American pastime.
Best Insurance for Motorcycles
When it comes to insurance for motorcycles, there are many lenders out there. To find the best motorcycle insurance, it is important to find a lender that will fit your needs but still provide an affordable plan.
Motorcycle insurance works similarly to car insurance, but there are some differences with coverage. Some states do not require motorcycle drivers to have insurance, but many drivers find comfort in having at least a minimum amount of motorcycle insurance. To find the best motorcycle insurance, filter out insurance lenders to find the best suited car insurance for you.
Figure Out What You Want Before Choosing a Motorcycle Insurance Lender
This is one of the most important factors when figuring out who offers the best motorcycle insurance. Figure out what factors are most important to you. For some, the coverage provided by a lender is most important, as they prioritize feeling safe. While for others, getting the lowest cost of motorcycle insurance trumps everything else. If a good amount of research is done on a lender, there is no reason why a person cannot find a reputable lender that best fits their insurance needs.
Look Around at Several Motorcycle Insurance Lenders
Looking around and comparing several lenders is an easy way to find the best motorcycle insurance. There are many lenders in each state, and they all work a little differently. Before committing to one insurance lender, it is best to get quotes from several different lenders. This will insure you are getting everything you need out of your car insurance for a fair price.
In addition to shopping around, make sure the lender you choose is reputable. This is crucial, as you should receive coverage or reliable assistance when the time comes. To check reliability of insurance lenders in any state, you could visit the NAIC’s (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) website.
What the Best Lenders Offer for Motorcycle Insurance
Along with an insurance lender catering to your priorities, here are a few important factors to pay attention to when looking for the best motorcycle insurance:
The Lender Covers all Major Coverage
Having major coverage means the following are covered:
- Collision: Pays for any damage the vehicle suffers.
- Medical Payment: Covers all medical bills for you.
- Personal Injury: Pays for any damages that occur to you, your passengers, or pedestrians regardless of fault.
- Comprehensive: Pays for any damage outside of an accident, such as theft.
- Liability: Pays the drivers damage and medical bills when you are at fault.
- Roadside Assistance: The lender provides any assistance that a person may need while driving.
The Lender Offers a Variety of Discounts
Most lenders will have a variety of discounts for their drivers. Here a few discounts to look out for and inquire about from your motorcycle insurance lender:
- Multiple Insurance Coverage
- Clean Driving Record
- Student Discounts
- Driving Courses
- Being A part of a Motorcycle Riders Organization
- Senior Discounts
- Experiences Rider Discounts
The Lender has Adjustable Deductibles
Increasing the amount of a deductible is an easy way to decrease the amount due every month. A good insurance lender will offer customers flexibility when it comes to making adjustments to their insurance plan. Just keep in mind to save up that deductible money so you have it for when the time comes to use it.
The Lender Makes Getting Claims Easy
Getting into any accident can be nerve wrecking and stressful. The last thing you would want is an uncooperative insurance company to add even more stress to the process. This is why doing your research is such an important part of the search process.
Reaching Out to the Lender is Easy
This is another factor that most people may not think about, however when something critical happens, getting a hold of your insurance lender can be important. Does the lender have texting, emailing, and calling options? Do they offer 24 hour, or extended hour, support? These questions should be asked as acquiring help and getting claims could be easier for the customer.
When trying to find the best motorcycle insurance, it is important to first consider what your priorities are from your motorcycle insurance lender. Look at several lenders and then see what each lender has to offer. A good lender will be reputable (perform research on their reliability), will offer basic coverage without costing a fortune, and will be readily available, making claims easily accessible for their customers.
When thinking about the best motorcycle insurance for you, it is of the utmost importance to figure out what combination of factors in coverage are most important to you.