Road Legal Requirements for Motorcycle

For this rea­son, we recom­mend hiring only cer­ti­fied dea­lers who per­so­nal­ly eva­lua­te all used motor­cy­cles impor­ted into the U.S. and report pos­si­ble pro­blems with bikes that don‘t meet EPA/CARB stan­dards. Here are the spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­ons you need to meet to make your motor­cy­cle road legal in the United Sta­tes: If your motor­cy­cle was not ori­gi­nal­ly manu­fac­tu­red or equip­ped with cer­tain requi­red on-road equip­ment, you are gene­ral­ly exempt from the requi­re­ment. This app­lies to older bicy­cles that were pro­du­ced befo­re cer­tain federal requi­re­ments came into for­ce. First, make sure your motor­cy­cle is right for you. Your feet should reach the ground com­for­ta­b­ly when you are sit­ting on the motor­cy­cle. Your road-cer­ti­fied motor­cy­cle must have at least the fol­lowing: The­re are four basic rules to keep in mind when deter­mi­ning if your motor­cy­cle is road legal in the United Sta­tes: FMVSS, EPA, DOT, and CARB regu­la­to­ry stan­dards. Bet­ween the­se 4 regu­la­ti­ons, not­hing pre­vents a pro­per­ly manu­fac­tu­red (fac­to­ry) motor­cy­cle from being legal­ly regis­tered on the roads of the United Sta­tes. All motor­cy­cles pro­du­ced sin­ce 1978 must com­ply with all of the abo­ve regu­la­ti­ons to be clas­si­fied as road­wor­thy; Howe­ver, cer­tain fac­tors such as the type of frame can make it dif­fi­cult for off-road motor­cy­cles to meet road appro­val. A blue dot on the tail­light of up to one inch is legal. 169.64 subd.

4c) The late 1960s, par­ti­cu­lar­ly 1967, was a time when hel­met laws chan­ged dra­ma­ti­cal­ly. Befo­re this year, hel­mets were some­thing the “losers” wore. No “cool” per­son wore a hel­met on a motor­cy­cle. That quick­ly chan­ged in 1967, when sta­tes were for­ced to impo­se hel­met laws to qua­li­fy for cer­tain federal safe­ty pro­grams and high­way con­struc­tion funds. Wit­hin a few years, in the ear­ly 1970s, almost every sta­te enfor­ced a uni­ver­sal motor­cy­cle hel­met law. This remai­ned con­stant until 1976, when sta­tes suc­cess­ful­ly urged Con­gress to pre­vent the Depart­ment of Trans­por­ta­ti­on from con­si­de­ring fines for sta­tes without hel­met laws. If you look at motor­cy­cle hel­met laws in each sta­te, you‘ll noti­ce that some requi­re a DOT cer­ti­fied hel­met, others only requi­re a hel­met for cer­tain older riders or under cer­tain con­di­ti­ons, and the­re are a small num­ber that don‘t requi­re hel­met time. It‘s con­fu­sing, so let‘s take a look at the con­di­ti­ons you‘ll encoun­ter when dri­ving across the coun­try: Can­di­da­tes must pass the DMV motor­cy­cle know­ledge test to qua­li­fy, but they don‘t need to take a rider trai­ning cour­se or pass a DMV pro­fi­ci­en­cy test/driving test. Most muni­ci­pa­li­ties have noi­se ordi­nan­ces that limit noi­sy exhaust gases for their resi­dents. You may not care about noi­sy exhaust fum­es on open roads, but hea­ring your neigh­bor dri­ve to work at 6 a.m. on his motor­cy­cle with the exhaust open can be frus­tra­ting. Only 10 sta­tes allow an open exhaust without the need for a muffler.

Other sta­tes have dif­fe­rent regu­la­ti­ons, so here‘s what you can expect: A motor­cy­cle needs atten­ti­on more often than a car. If some­thing goes wrong with the motor­cy­cle, you should inqui­re befo­re ent­e­ring traf­fic or dri­ving the motor­cy­cle at high­way speed. Make the fol­lowing checks befo­re each outing: A “scoo­ter” or “scoo­ter” refers to a varie­ty of moto­ri­zed bicy­cles and toys. A two- or three-whee­led vehi­cle of any size, manu­fac­tu­red for use on public roads and sold by a licen­sed dea­ler, is likely a motor­cy­cle and con­fir­ma­ti­on is requi­red. A vehi­cle with two or more wheels that is not manu­fac­tu­red for use on public roads and sold by retail stores is likely a toy. FMVSS — Federal Motor Vehi­cle Safe­ty Stan­dards — All road­wor­thy motor­cy­cles must meet at least the­se stan­dards. The­se inclu­de bra­kes, ligh­t­ing and other safe­ty fea­tures necessa­ry for use on the road. Lane sepa­ra­ti­on is a rather con­tro­ver­si­al topic. Only Cali­for­nia allows the sepa­ra­ti­on of lanes of any kind, and some will speak of it as a bles­sing, while others claim it is a curse.

Lane divi­si­on is when a motor­cy­cle moves bet­ween vehi­cles on the road. As we dis­cus­sed in our arti­cle on lane sharing, it can help redu­ce traf­fic con­ges­ti­on in lar­ge metro­po­li­tan are­as, but it can also be extre­me­ly dan­ge­rous for motor­cy­c­lists. Out­side of Cali­for­nia, this is not a docu­men­ted legal equestri­an prac­ti­ce and will likely cau­se con­fu­si­on or street rage among other moto­rists. If it is not decla­red ille­gal, be care­ful if necessa­ry. All infor­ma­ti­on on this page is for edu­ca­tio­nal pur­po­ses only.