Laws Regarding Motorcycles

State Laws Regarding Motorcycles

The experienced Boston motorcycle accident lawyers at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. implore all motorcyclists to abide by Massachusetts state laws, to minimize the risk of serious injury and/or death following a crash. It is important to remember that motorcycles share the same rights and responsibilities as any other vehicle on the road. When another driver's negligence causes an accident, our attorneys hold the at-fault driver accountable. Contact us today at 617-225-2100 for a free consultation to discuss your options.

Safety Helmets Are Required By Law For All Operators And Passengers 

In short, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 90 § 7, all riders and passengers must wear a safety helmet. Massachusetts is in the vast majority of U.S. states with helmet laws. In fact, 19 states and Washington D.C. require, like Massachusetts, all motorcyclists to wear helmets when riding. An additional 28 states require at least some motorcyclists, depending on certain factors, namely age, to wear a helmet. Finally, only three states, Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire, have no helmet laws.

In Massachusetts, motorcycle riders must wear a helmet at all times. This applies to both motorcycle passengers, as well as the motorcycle driver. If a motorcycle accident were to occur, the helmets that both the rider and passenger are wearing would substantially reduce the risks of serious head injuries. Those who choose not to wear helmets have a much higher risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury. Serious traumatic brain injuries can cause bruising, torn tissues, bleeding, and other physical effects on the brain. Injuries to the brain interfere with memory, focus, concentration, and emotional regulation. These injuries can cause long-term health problems, and can lead to death. Motorcycle riders must use helmets that meet the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s safety standards. 

Additionally, Massachusetts law requires that motorcycle riders wear eye protection. Traveling at high speeds can allow the rushing wind to cause tears in your eyes. This will make it more difficult for you to see, and increases your risk of crashing your motorcycle. Items can also blow into your eyes, such as insects or leaves, that can obstruct your vision and cause you to lose control of the motorcycle. 

Compulsory Liability Insurance Is Required By Law 

In Massachusetts, you must have at least the minimum amount of insurance by law to register a motorcycle at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Standard policies and insurance minimums require Bodily Injury protection (BI) of at least $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage up to $8,000 to cover medical expenses and lost employment, and at least $5,000 per accident to cover property damage. Further, each motorcyclist's policy must have at least $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident uninsured motorist coverage. Again, these are the minimal requirements, by law. Your registration will not be approved until this minimum insurance is purchased.

Lane-Splitting Is Prohibited 

Oftentimes, we see negligent motorcyclists weaving in and out of traffic, sharing the lane with other cars and trucks. This action is not only unsafe and significantly raises the risk for serious injuries and deaths, but is prohibited under Massachusetts law. Motorcyclists and motor vehicle operators must learn to safely share the road, not share single traffic lanes. More often than not, serious motorcycle accidents resulting in broken bones, paralysis, closed head injuries, and death involve another car or truck. Lane splitting significantly increases this risk.

Other Legal Requirements 

There are many other legal requirements before riding a motorcycle in Massachusetts. For example, helmet speakers are prohibited, left and right turn signals must be equipped, and handlebars cannot rise above the rider's shoulders when seated in a safe position. Our Boston motorcycle accident attorneys suggest all riders become familiar with, and routinely practice, all safety laws before getting on your bike.

Contact our Boston motorcycle accident lawyers at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. today at 617-225-2100 if you or a loved one has been injured or killed because of another driver's carelessness. We have offices in Boston, Cambridge, and Quincy and serve all of Massachusetts.

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