What You Should Know About California Motorcycle Law
Nothing beats the wind on your face and the roar of the engine while riding on the highway, and while the freedom of the open road is what made us ride, we still need to understand and follow motorcycle laws. Being responsible on the road will help you avoid the hurdles of traffic citations and having to deal with fines or even worse, getting your bike towed by the police.
And more importantly, it will reduce the risk of getting in an accident and suffering from injury by a lot. We’ll show you below the most important motorcycle laws in California to know about.
1. Lane Splitting
Responsible Lane splitting is absolutely legal in California, you should know that our beautiful Golden State is the only state in the whole country where bikers can ride between traffic lanes. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean we put the pedal to the metal and weave in and out of traffic as we see in the movies. The California Highway Patrol created a set of guidelines for bikers to safely practice lane splitting which are:
- Motorcyclists should avoid riding at speeds of 10 miles per hour greater than surrounding traffic. The risk of an accident increases at higher speed differentials.
- Bikers should avoid lane splitting when traffic is moving at 30 miles per hour or faster
- Motorcyclists should take the environment into account before lane splitting. We should always pay attention to the weather, visibility, width of the road, and size of the surrounding vehicles.
- It is recommended to split lanes between the far-left lanes as it is safer than between other traffic lanes. Also, it is illegal to ride in the shoulder lane.
- Lane splitting should be avoided around large vehicles
- Bikers should avoid driving in the blind spots of other vehicles
- Wearing bright clothing and reflective gear is recommended to increase visibility as well as using high beams during daylight hours.
2. Motorcycle License Requirements
As with a car, to get a motorcycle license in California you must pass a series of examinations like a vision exam, knowledge, and skill tests to be able to get a motorcycle license. If you are between 16 and 21 years old you must undergo training and hold a learner’s permit for six months before applying for your license.
During the learner’s period, you are not allowed to carry passengers, drive on the freeway or go out riding at night. The DMV may waive your skill test if you show a valid Certification of Completion of Motorcycle Training, valid 12 months from the issue date.
3. Registration and Insurance Laws
We know dealing with the DMV is something nobody wants to do, but it is needed to register your bike with them to be able to ride. It does not matter if it’s used or brand new, every ride has to be registered with the DMV.
You are also obligated by law to have at least the minimum insurance policy limits stipulated by California legislation. Failing to obtain and maintain at least the minimum insurance can lead to a 1-year suspension of your license, in addition to losing your right to receiving medical treatment and monetary compensation after getting in an accident, even if you were not at fault.
4. Motorcycle Equipment Requirements
To legally be able to ride at your leisure, your motorcycle must meet certain specifications and requirements:
- Your motorcycle must have a muffler and rearview mirrors
- If you are going to carry a passenger or want to in the future, your bike must have passenger footrests.
- Handlebars must not elevate your hands six inches or over above your shoulders (no matter how cool it might look).
- Your bike requires front and rear turn signals
Aside from the requirements needed regarding your bike, there are safety requirements regarding equipment that you must abide by. You must wear a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation regardless of if it’s open or full-faced, it has to meet the DOT regulations. This requirement is both for you and passengers riding with you.
5. Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
When involved in a motorcycle accident, seeking compensation in a court of law is tied to the Statute of Limitations. To successfully pursue a valid claim, you must bear in mind that legal action must be taken before the said statute expires. But first, we need to understand what it is.
As defined by the law of the United States, the statute of limitations is a set amount of time that parties involved in a dispute have to initiate legal procedures from the date of the alleged offense, whether it be civil or criminal action.
The time set for the statute varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, in California the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident. There are some exemptions thought:
- If a minor wants to take legal action the 2 years’ time starts from the moment they turn 18 provided that no one has filed a lawsuit on the minor’s behalf.
- If the sued party has filed for bankruptcy, it can toll the statute of limitations until the bankruptcy is resolved.
If a government entity was responsible for the wreck, you’ll have between six months to one year from the date of the accident for you to take legal action.
Get in Contact with your Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today.
Got in an accident? We are ready to ride out for you! Don’t let negligent and irresponsible parties take advantage of your injuries, contact your Motorcyclist attorney today. We got the experience and the know-how to fight on your behalf and get you the medical treatment you need and win the maximum compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free review of your case at (844) 284-9437. We’ll Ride for You! We Care for You!
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About Justin Farahi
Justin P. Farahi is a personal injury attorney dedicated to helping victims of accidents recover from their injuries. Since founding Motorcyclist Attorney he has recovered millions of dollars for clients all around California. Specialized in diverse practice areas of personal injury and surrounding himself with the most capable professionals he continues his work helping vulnerable people get the medical treatments they need after an accident, and winning the money they deserve.
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