State Laws and Two-Wheel Vehicles

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There are certain laws that pertain just to two-wheel vehicles. If you own a two-wheel vehicle, like a motorcycle, you may be wondering what those laws are. Do you know how many state laws apply to two-wheel vehicles like motorcycles or scooters? Well, we have your answers right here.

Being one of the more common two-wheel vehicles in the country, motorcycles have a variety of laws that can vary from state to state. We will focus on the 6 main areas of two-wheel vehicle laws. For more information on state laws for two-wheel vehicles, be sure to check out the Motorcycle Legal Foundation website here.

Here are the six areas we will discuss:

  • Helmet Laws
  • Eye Protection Laws
  • Noise Restriction Laws
  • Passenger Laws
  • Daytime Headlight Laws
  • Lane Splitting Laws

Helmet Laws

Starting with helmet laws for motorcycles, most states mandate that a helmet must be worn when operating two-wheel vehicles since the late 1960’s. Of the 50 states, there are only three that still do not require helmets in accordance to state laws; Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire.

However, in the states that do require helmets for users of two-wheel vehicles, people must also be mindful on whether they are wearing approved helmets. With any helmet, state laws have made it clear that the helmets themselves must adhere to certain conditions and qualities. More information could be found about helmets on the NHTSA page.

Eye Protection Laws

In short, some state laws may also make it clear that eye protection (along with a helmet) are also necessary when driving two-wheel vehicles like motorcycles or scooters.

Whether as a passenger or as the driver, there are 12 states that have eye protection requirements, while 14 states do not make this a requirement. The rest fall down the middle, such as only being a requirement unless a windscreen is installed.

Noise Restriction Laws

With many communities around the country holding noise ordinances, it’s clear that many state laws reflect this through noise restrictions laws for two-wheel vehicles. An open exhaust means a louder vehicle, and only 11 states so far have laws that require mufflers on motorcycles.

Unlike a number of these state laws for motorcycles, the enforcement on the noise restriction is determined by inspection, especially since it’s hard to dispute something as “too loud” that everyone could agree to.

Although you won’t see officers busting out noise guns on motorcycles anytime soon, fines or other penalties could be accrued if no muffler is attached in a state that makes it a requirement.

Passenger Laws

When it comes to giving someone a lift with a motorcycle, they are entitled to adhere to the same laws that have been mentioned. This means state laws regarding helmets and eye protection are just as important to passengers, as well as the rider.

However, some state laws have made it so only certain passengers are permitted to be on motorcycles. These states are Texas, Washington, Arkansas, Louisiana and Hawaii. According to their state laws, passengers cannot be under the age of 8 years old.

As for the other 45 states, they technically have no restrictions on passengers, but of course any helmet laws or eye protection laws for passengers still apply.

Daytime Headlight Laws

Although not as controversial as the state laws for passengers, daytime headlights are becoming just as significant in keeping drivers of two-wheel vehicles safe. Even though they were used almost all the time, headlights during the daylight hours weren’t always a common occurrence.

They may not make a huge difference if there is bright sunlight throughout a certain area, but if there are shaded areas of a road, headlights could make a major difference in visibility to other motorists around you.

With that said, there are currently 18 states that have headlight laws for motorcycles. There are no specifications of what make or model motorcycles they must be because these state laws have made it clear that headlights must be on all the time when driving these two-wheel vehicles.

Lane Splitting Laws

One of the more controversial topics for two-wheel vehicles is lane splitting. Lane splitting is the act of driving between two lanes (down the dotted line of two lanes typically) when passing through with motorcycles.

When done under safe conditions, this can help remove some congestion from motorcycles in major roads or highways, while also keeping more of these kinds of drivers out of possible collisions from other cars in stop-and-go traffic.

So far, lane splitting has been made legal in the state of California, with a huge majority of states considering the practice illegal. However, some southern states, like New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mississippi have either not mentioned lane splitting under state laws or have not specifically prohibited the act by motorcycles.

Importance of State Laws on Two-Wheel Vehicles

When it comes to driving two-wheel vehicles like motorcycles, it’s always important to understand the types of regulations and rules that may be relevant in your hometown. When visiting other states, state laws could make a major impact on how you drive your two-wheel vehicle.

Always be mindful when driving in other territories because knowing could mean avoiding a ticket!

LoanMart doesn’t just want you to understand how state laws work for two-wheel vehicles, we also would like to help you get funding that you may have not considered1. If you drive a two-wheel vehicle, like a motorcycle, there’s a chance you could apply for a motorcycle title loan!

These type of title loans give you funding that you may need for a financial emergency1.To learn more about LoanMart’s streamlined process for title loans, or to see the benefits that may come with getting a motorcycle title loans from us, check out our information page on that information here.