Motorbikes account for about 3 percent of registered vehicles in the U.S. However, motorcycle riders are involved in approximately 15 percent of all traffic-related fatalities. In addition, recent reports show that motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than passenger vehicle drivers.
Louisiana Motorcycle Laws
The statistics are frightening for bike riders. Unfortunately, news outlets in Louisiana often report on lives lost in catastrophic motorcycle accidents.
Fortunately, Louisiana motorcycle laws are intended to keep motorcycle riders as safe as possible. If you plan to buy a motorcycle or you've recently purchased one, it's vital you understand Louisiana's motorcycle laws before hitting the road. These laws must be observed, as they are intended to mitigate the risk of injury and save lives.
Below we have shared what you need to know to safely and legally ride a motorcycle in Louisiana.
Motorcycle inspection and licensing
Motorcycle riders are required to secure a motorcycle endorsement from the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles before hitting the road. A motorcycle endorsement is included on your primary driver's license after passing a motorcycle knowledge and skills test. Your motorcycle needs to be inspected within 40 days of purchase and you will need to pay the applicable taxes before registering your bike.
Helmet laws in Louisiana
Louisiana law requires both operators and passengers wear suitable helmets while the motorcycle is moving. Under LA R.S. 32:190, appropriate and approved protective gear is defined as having:
The helmet is a life-saving device. Countless studies show that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of serious head injuries by nearly 70 percent and fatality by 42 percent.
Eye protection laws
Riders do not necessarily need to be involved in a collision to injure their eyes. Tires from other vehicles are known to pick and throw road debris. If road debris makes its way into your eye while traveling at high speeds, it could restrict or damage your vision and ultimately end in an accident.
Louisiana law (LA R.S. 32:190.1) requires protective eye gear if your motorcycle does not have a windshield high enough to protect your face fully. In addition, it is illegal to use tinted protective eye-wear at night.
Traffic lane Laws
Per LA R.S. 32:191.1, motorcycle operators have full rights to use of traffic lanes. However, motorcycle operators may not ride side by side in a single lane (aka two abreast in a single lane). It is against the law for a passenger vehicle to deprive you of the full use of the lane.
In addition, it is illegal for a motorbike rider to:
Footrest and handlebar laws
Louisiana law (LA R.S. 32:191.3) provisions dictate that a motorcycle operator and passengers have a footrest. Additionally, your handlebars must fall below or level with your shoulders when seated on the motorbike. This law is intended to ensure control of the motorcycle; handlebars higher than shoulder height makes maintaining control more difficult.
Riding with children
Perhaps you are thinking you would like to share the open road experience with your child. Unfortunately, Louisiana law (L.A. R.S. 32:191(E)) prohibits riding with children who legally must be secured in a child safety seat. To ride a motorcycle in Louisiana, a child must be five years or older, fit properly in the passenger seat, and wear an appropriately sized helmet.
According to Louisiana motorcycle law provisions L.A. R.S. 32:191, your motorcycle should have a permanent and a uniform seat (if intended for two passengers). Seating can be a single seat with a capacity of two riders. Additionally, passengers can only ride on bikes designed for passengers.
Injured in a motorcycle accident while obeying Louisiana motorcycle laws?
While Louisiana motorcycle laws are intended to protect riders' from accidents, accidents still occur. Generally, accidents happen when passenger vehicle drivers act negligently. If you are injured in an accident due to another driver's carelessness, you have the right to compensation for the damage they caused.
Contact Lundy Lundy Soileau & South's personal injury attorneys in Lake Charles at (337) 439-0707 to request a free case evaluation by a trusted Lake Charles motorcycle accident lawyer.
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