Part of the appeal of riding a motorcycle is that there is nothing between you and the open road. Unfortunately, this creates a much higher risk of injury or death if you are involved in a motorcycle accident.
That is one of the reasons Louisiana motorcycle laws were created. Following these statutes can help keep you safe and reduce the risk of serious injury in a Louisiana motorcycle crash.
Obtaining a Motorcycle Endorsement
It is illegal to ride a motorcycle in this state without a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license.
Visit your local branch of the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles and schedule an appointment to take the motorcycle knowledge exam and on-cycle skills test.
The knowledge test is a series of questions about what to do in various situations on the road. For instance, you should know what to do if a tire goes flat while you are riding.
The on-cycle skills test will be used to ensure you have basic vehicle-control and crash-avoidance skills. You will need to demonstrate the ability to do several things, including:
- Turn safely
- Adjust speed in different traffic situations
- Stop quickly
- Perform maneuvers at safe speeds
You can bypass the on-cycle portion by completing a motorcycle safety course from the Louisiana Department of Public Motorcycle Safety, Awareness, and Operator Training Program. You simply need to provide proof that you completed the course when you apply for a motorcycle endorsement.
The basic rider course takes 15.5 hours and includes on-cycle training and classroom instruction.
Louisiana Motorcycle Inspection Laws
Like all other motor vehicles in the state, motorcycles are required to be inspected once or twice a year. The inspection covers the brakes, mechanisms and other equipment on the vehicle.
Louisiana Motorcycle Helmet Law
Anyone who rides a motorcycle in the state of Louisiana, including passengers, is required to wear a helmet specifically manufactured for motorcycle riders. The helmet must be secured by a chin strap when the vehicle is in motion, according to Louisiana Revised Statutes 32:190.
The helmet must have the following parts:
- Chin strap
The helmet must also meet any other specifications established by the deputy secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, also known as the commissioner.
Under Louisiana Revised Statute 32:190.1, unless you have a windshield that provides adequate eye protection, you must wear goggles, safety glasses or a face shield that meets performance specifications set by the commissioner. When you are riding at night, you cannot use eye protection that is tinted.
Riding on Motorcycles
While motorcycles are considered motor vehicles and must adhere to general traffic laws, there are additional requirements:
Keeping Both Hands on the Handlebars
It is illegal to ride a motorcycle while carrying something that prevents you from keeping both hands on the handlebars.
Louisiana law also prohibits bikes from having handlebars that cause your hands to rest above shoulder height when you are sitting on the bike.
Riding with Children
You cannot ride with a child who is required to be restrained in a rear-facing or forward-facing child safety seat. Children five years old or older can only ride on the bike if they are able to be properly seated and they have a safety helmet.
Louisiana Motorcycle Passenger Laws
Passengers are only allowed to ride on motorcycles that are specially made for more than one person.
Using Traffic Lanes
Motorcyclists cannot overtake or pass in the same lane that is occupied by the vehicle they are passing. They are also never allowed to drive between lanes of traffic or in between rows of vehicles. These activities are dangerous because other drivers will not be expecting this type of movement through traffic.
No more than two bikes can ride side-by-side in a single lane.
Obeying Louisiana’s motorcycle laws and practicing defensive driving can help you avoid accidents.
However, if you are in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact the motorcycle accident lawyers at Simien & Simien to schedule a free consultation. Our personal injury lawyers do not get paid unless you do.