Despite only making up 3% of all registered vehicles in the United States, motorcycles are involved in approximately 14% of traffic-related fatalities. Motorcyclists have a significantly higher chance of being in a fatal or severe accident than drivers of cars.
Whether you’re just passing through or live in the Pelican State, sticking to the various Louisiana motorcycle laws will keep you and others on the open road safer.
Licensing and Inspection
If you’re a Louisiana resident, you’ll need to have the relevant motorcycle endorsement from the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicle before you can get on your bike. This endorsement requires you to pass a motorcycle knowledge exam and on-site skills test, and if you succeed, it will become a part of your primary driver’s license.
All recently purchased motorbikes need to undergo an inspection within 40 days of purchase. Once you get an inspection sticker, you must register your bike and pay the applicable taxes before hitting the road.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Both riders and their passengers must wear approved protective gear while riding a bike.
According to Louisiana regulations, approved headgear contains:
- Adequate padding for weakening the force of head collisions
- A protective visor
- A chin strap that firmly attaches the helmet to the head
- Lining to ensure the rider’s comfort while wearing the helmet
While wearing a complete set of protective gear is the best option, simply wearing a helmet can save lives. Research consistently shows that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of severe head injuries by 69% and reduce the risk of fatalities by 37% for riders and 41% for passengers.
Eye Protection Laws
Having the wind in your face gives you that unbeatable feeling of freedom on the road, but it can also cause severe eye damage if hard particles blow into your eye while riding.
The Louisiana law on eye protection states that every rider must wear approved protective eye gear if their bike doesn’t have an adequate windshield. However, while eye protection is a legal necessity, it must conform to specific standards. For instance, wearing tinted eye protection while riding at night is illegal.
Traffic Lane Laws
According to Louisiana laws, motorcycle riders have the right to fully use all traffic lanes.
However, certain restrictions apply, and you’re not allowed to:
- Overtake a vehicle by passing in the same lane, unless you’re a police officer performing official duties
- Operate a bike between traffic lanes or by moving through queues of vehicles down the center line
- Ride your motorcycle alongside two other motorcycles in one lane
Footrest and Handlebar Laws
For safety reasons, Louisiana motorcycle laws state that all bikes must have handlebars that are below or in line with your shoulders to ensure complete bike control and prevent motorcycle accidents.
If you’re riding with a passenger, the passenger must have a footrest to ensure stability on the bike.
Riding with Children
Young children who require a child safety seat cannot ride on a motorcycle, according to the law. Children must be at least five years old, fit properly in the passenger seat, and wear a protective helmet at all times.
All motorbikes must have a permanent and uniform seat, and you must sit forward with one leg on each side while riding. Also, you can only share a seat if the motorbike’s design is for two people.
Protect Your Rights After an Accident
While complying with Louisiana motorcycle laws can keep you safe, they can’t completely protect you from accidents. If you’ve suffered from injuries after a biking accident, call Law Tigers at 1-888-863-7216 to find a motorcycle lawyer near you.