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What Are California Motorcycle Laws?

A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in San Jose Explains Motorcycle Laws

Motorcyclist holding motorcycle helmetMotorcyclists have the same rights as fellow motorists. However, not everyone on the road follows the rules and regulations required to drive. And unfortunately, accidents happen as a result of this negligence. If a motorist does not follow California law and an accident results, then you may have grounds for a motorcycle injury claim. A motorcycle accident lawyer in San Jose can investigate your accident to determine whether the other party may be responsible for your injuries.

What Are Important Motorcycle Laws in California?

Understanding California’s motorcycle laws is important for your safety and the safety of everyone else on the road. Important laws include:

  • California motorcycle license requirements. You need a Class M1 license to operate a motorcycle in California. You must pass a knowledge test and a skills test to get this license. If you are younger than 21, you must also take the state’s Basic Rider Course. If you are older than 21, the state may waive the skills test if you have completed a motorcycle training course.
  • Motorcycle registration. It does not matter if you buy a motorcycle new or used, you must register it with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Have you registered your motorcycle in another state? You must register it again in California when you move here.
  • Helmet. California motorcycle helmet law requires you to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle on any roadway in the state. The helmet must bear a DOT sticker saying it meets federal safety standards. This law applies to passengers as well.
  • Hardware. Motorcycles must have a muffler and mirrors. If you are carrying a passenger, the motorcycle must have a passenger footrest.
  • Headlights. Motorcycles built in 1978 or later must operate headlights even during daylight hours.
  • Choppers. The handlebars of a motorcycle cannot elevate the rider’s hands more than six inches above the rider’s shoulders when seated.
  • Insurance. Motorcyclists must carry liability insurance. Failure to do so can result in a one-year license suspension.
  • Lane splitting. California is one of the few states where motorcyclists can legally engage in lane splitting — riding between two lanes of car traffic. However, rules that went into effect in early 2013 allow motorcyclists to split lanes only when traffic is moving slower than 30 mph. Also, motorcyclists can go only 10 mph faster than the cars they are driving between while lane splitting.

What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident in San Jose?

After a motorcycle accident in San Jose, you should get medical attention. Then, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can assess your case.

If we decide to work together, Needham Kepner & Fish LLP will immediately begin gathering evidence, including police reports, photographs and medical records for your case. Our San Jose motorcycle accident attorneys will handle all the details of your case and give you the personal attention you need.

We Fight for Motorcyclists in San Jose and the Bay Area

Our knowledgeable attorneys are ready to answer your questions about motorcycle laws. We provide aggressive representation to motorcycle injury victims. We are available weekends and evenings by appointment. If your injuries prevent you from visiting our office, we will meet with you at your home or wherever is most convenient for you.

To schedule a free initial consultation, call us today at (408) 956-6949 or use our online form. We handle injury cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that you pay us nothing unless you recover compensation.

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