Riding a motorcycle on the open road can be invigorating and thrilling. But while riding a bike is freeing, it’s also dangerous. Louisiana has strict laws that motorcyclists should abide by—especially when it comes to wearing proper safety equipment and responsible riding.
Our team of motorcycle accident attorneys at Pierce & Shows knows how important it is to remain safe while riding, so we’ve provided some helpful information to keep you safe and on the right side of the law in Baton Rouge.
Helmets and Eye Protection in Louisiana
In the state of Louisiana, you need to be wearing a helmet if your motorcycle is in motion. The law (§32:190) states that motorcycle helmets should have the following features:
- Adequate padding to protect the head from trauma
- A chin strap to secure the helmet
- An interior lining to ensure that the helmet is comfortable when it comes in contact with the head
- A visor to protect the eyes
Not only does it make good sense to wear eye protection—as road debris could damage your eyes—it is a requirement if your motorcycle does not have a high enough windshield. Eye protection should adequately cover the eyes, and if you’re riding at night your eye protection must not be tinted.
Yearly Inspections, Insurance, and Licensing
All motorcycles registered in the state of Louisiana should have yearly inspections. All motorcycle operators must keep their licenses and their insurance information on their person when operating a bike.
When it comes to selecting motorcycle insurance, our Baton Rouge lawyers strongly encourage our clients to shop plans and consider selecting coverages higher than the state minimum. Motorcycle accidents are particularly dangerous and many riders have sustained serious injuries that are costly and debilitating. Having extra insurance coverage can help give you peace of mind while you’re enjoying the freedom of your motorcycle.
Motorcyclists will need to have a motorcycle endorsement added to their driver’s license, as well. Receiving a motorcycle endorsement involves taking a written test and a riding test. Prior to getting a motorcycle endorsement, riders should have their bikes registered, inspected, and insured.
Passengers and Traffic Lane Laws
Adding a passenger to a scenic ride is fun, but it’s important to bear safety and the laws of Louisiana in mind. For example:
- You may not have another person on your motorcycle unless there is a dedicated seat with footrests for a passenger.
- Children are not allowed on motorcycles, even if the bike has passenger seats.
- Both passengers and drivers must sit astride with their legs over each side of the motorcycle.
In most instances, a motorcycle should be operated the same way as a car when it comes to traffic lanes. A motorcyclist is entitled to full use of a lane—just like other vehicles. Motorcyclists are prohibited from passing cars between lanes or within the same lane. They are also prohibited from driving between rows of cars. If you’re riding with friends, no more than two motorcycles should ride side-by-side in a traffic lane.
If you’re new to riding a motorcycle, our Baton Rouge personal injury attorneys strongly recommend that you visit Louisiana’s Department of Public Safety website to review the official motorcycle manual.
How Pierce & Shows Can Help
As a motorcycle rider, you have just as much right to use the road as any other motorist.
When someone else harms you through their careless behavior on the road, you also have the right to hold that driver accountable.
At Pierce & Shows, we walk our clients through the process of what to do after a Louisiana motorcycle accident and their best options for approaching a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
However, it is important to note that there is a one-year statute of limitations on motorcycle accidents in Louisiana, meaning that you should contact our team of motorcycle attorneys as soon as possible to get started.