It’s an unavoidable truth that traffic laws aren’t universal across the United States. In fact they can greatly vary from one state to another.
Any road user has to realize that what might be a minor infraction in Alabama could warrant a hefty fine in New York, and vice versa.
To navigate these different landscapes efficiently, you should familiarize yourself with the specific rules of each state where you’ll ride your motorcycle, ideally before you hit the road. With that in mind, here are some must-know aspects.
Identifying the Strictest States for Motorcyclists
There are several states with notably strict traffic laws, particularly relevant to motorcyclists. For instance:
- Virginia: Known for its rigorous enforcement of speed limits and hefty fines.
- Arizona: Has some of the toughest rules when it comes to helmet usage and mirrors on motorcycles.
- Michigan: Infamous for its stringent ‘No-Fault’ insurance law affecting all motorists including bikers.
Even something seemingly minor like lane splitting (which is allowed in California but across-the-board illegal in many other states) could lead to unsought problems if you’re not aware of its legality, or lack thereof.
Navigating Speed Limit Regulations
Speed limits can differ greatly among states, and as a motorcyclist, it’s crucial to understand the variations. Take note of these discrepancies:
- Texas boasts some of the highest speed limits in the country, with certain highways allowing up to 85 mph.
- Oregon contrasts with its relatively low maximum speed limit for motorcycles: 65 mph on most freeways.
Of course, obeying these regulations is not just about avoiding tickets. For example, exceeding posted speeds by more than 10mph in Georgia is deemed a reckless driving offense, so carries harsher penalties that you really don’t want to get lumbered with.
How to Hire a Traffic Law Attorney
Seeking legal counsel may be necessary if you fall foul of traffic rules and regulations. To find reputable traffic law attorneys, consider these steps:
- Research Online: Websites like Avvo and Martindale-Hubbell host extensive directories and reviews of attorneys by state.
- Ask for Referrals: Reach out to friends, family, or colleagues who might have used a traffic law attorney before.
- Consult Local Bar Associations: Most bar associations offer referrals to help match you with appropriate lawyers based on your unique requirements.
Once you’ve found a good lawyer, prepare for consultations by having relevant documentation to hand. Also be vigilant about understanding fee structures too, as charges can vary significantly across different practitioners. Finally, make sure any questions you may have are answered thoroughly before signing contracts or agreements, as it’s wise to always prioritize clarity when dealing with legal matters.
Looking Into Helmet Laws
Helmet laws can affect motorcyclists considerably both in terms of safety and potential penalties for non-compliance. Here are some notable variations:
- California: This state implements a universal helmet law, meaning all riders and passengers, regardless of age, must wear helmets at all times when riding.
- Illinois: By contrast, this state has no motorcycle helmet use law, permitting individuals to choose whether or not to wear one.
- Florida: Allows adults over 21 years old who have at least $10,000 in medical insurance coverage to ride without a helmet.
While the idea of feeling the breeze directly against your face as you ride may sound appealing, remember that motorcycle safety extends beyond what local laws demand. Regardless of where you’re riding from or heading to, a helmet is a must-have accessory as safety comes first.
The Bottom Line
As mentioned, the main thing you can do as a motorcyclist to stay in the loop on traffic laws is to do plenty of research if you’re crossing state lines to ride and stick to safe riding practices wherever you are.