Get To Know North Carolina Motorcycle Laws

North Carolina Motorcycle Laws

Whether you’re planning a trip to North Carolina or wish to receive your motorcycle license soon, you’ll need to understand the North Carolina motorcycle laws before riding. Motorcycle requirements vary greatly from state to state, so it’s vital to understand the mandates in your location. 

At Law Tigers, we aim to keep riders safe and protected. Our team of nationwide motorcycle attorneys wants to help you learn how to enjoy your motorcycle without accidentally breaking any laws. 

Getting a Motorcycle License and Registration in North Carolina

North Carolina citizens must meet special license requirements to operate a motorcycle in North Carolina, even if you’re renting one. You can visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to begin the process. To receive the motorcycle learner’s permit, you must pass the following tests:

  • Motorcycle knowledge test
  • Road sign identification test
  • Vision tests

Riders under 18 need consent from a legal guardian before receiving the permit. You also need an existing driver’s license before applying.

The permit doesn’t allow you to carry any passengers. After 12 months, you can apply for a full motorcycle endorsement to remove this restriction. You must pass the knowledge and skills tests to receive the endorsement. 

North Carolina also requires drivers to register their motorcycles. You must renew the registration each year. To register your vehicle for the first time, you need the following:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • Proof of acceptable liability insurance 
  • A lien release or title 
  • Odometer statements (on bikes under 10 years old)
  • Damage disclosure statements (on dealer purchases)

North Carolina Helmet Requirements

North Carolina motorcycle laws require all riders to wear approved helmets. Every motorcycle helmet must comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) #218, which requires:

  • A minimum of one-inch-thick foam lining
  • A Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker
  • A manufacturing label with the ID, size, date, shell type, model number, and material
  • A care and cleaning instruction label
  • A retention strap

Motorcycle Traffic Laws

Motorcyclists must follow most traffic laws that apply to all drivers, though a few exceptions apply. Here are the most common motorcycle traffic law categories:

Passenger restrictions: You can only carry as many passengers as your bike can hold. For example, a two-seater may not carry three people. All passengers must wear helmets. 

Lane sharing: Riders may use any lanes that cars can, though motorcyclists may also share lanes. 

HOV usage: You must carry two or more passengers on your motorcycle to use the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane. 

Red light malfunctions: Inductive loop detector traffic lights sense approaching vehicles and adjust the traffic pattern accordingly, though they can’t always detect motorcycles. If this malfunction happens, bikers may pass through a red light after waiting at a stop for three minutes and ensuring that no cars or pedestrians are entering the intersection. 

Lane splitting: Lane-splitting refers to driving between two lanes occupied by full-sized vehicles. North Carolina does not specifically permit or prohibit lane splitting. 

Motorcycle Equipment Requirements

All motorcycles must have the following components to be street-legal:

  • A secured license plate (visible from 50 feet)
  • Headlights (visible from 200 feet)
  • Taillights (visible from 500 feet)
  • Brakelights (visible from 100 feet)
  • A horn 
  • A footrest
  • One rearview mirror
  • An approved exhaust and muffler
  •  A speedometer 

Your annual inspection for registration renewal will ensure that your motorcycle has all the necessary components. 

Did You Have an Accident in North Carolina? Call Law Tigers

Understanding North Carolina motorcycle laws can be especially important in the event of a motorcycle accident in that state. If you get hurt in a crash or need legal advice, call us at Law Tigers at +1 (888) 863-7216 for a free consultation with a motorcycle attorney in your area.