The laws that apply to motorcycles and motorcycle riders in California are mostly the same laws that govern four-wheeled motor vehicles. However, there are some differences, as well as some rules that motorcyclists may find confusing.
Motorcycle riders who want to stay safe on their next excursion and those who aim to share the road safely with motorcycles would benefit from learning about some of the most important laws that apply to two-wheeled motor vehicles in California.
What laws should every aspiring motorcycle rider know about?
A helmet is required under law
Helmet laws vary from state to state, and some jurisdictions allow motorcyclists to forgo a helmet, provided that they carry extra insurance in the event of a collision. That is not an option in California. The person controlling the motorcycle and any passengers on the vehicle will need to have a helmet on at all times while on public roads.
Motor vehicle insurance requirements apply
Drivers in California are subject to liability insurance requirements. Every driver needs a combination of both property damage and bodily injury liability coverage. The minimum amounts necessary under state law are quite low and offer no protection if you are not the one at fault.
As a motorcycle rider at risk for serious injuries caused by others, you may want to invest in additional coverage. From collision protection to help you rebuild your bike to underinsured motorist protection for medical bills, you can get coverage that will minimize the possible losses in the event of a crash.
You can share lanes with other vehicles
You may not realize this, but California has slightly different laws regarding motorcycle safety. Lane splitting is actually legal in California despite being illegal in many other states.
A motorcyclist can maneuver through an occupied lane in traffic, provided that they signal their intent to pass or merge and do so safely. Lane-sharing can easily contribute to a crash because drivers may not notice the approaching motorcycle. Double-checking your surroundings before you maneuver is a smart choice, regardless of what kind of vehicle you drive.
Knowing the law and keeping safety your top priority will reduce risk of a motorcycle crash when you go out for your next ride.