There are much fewer motorcycles than cars in the United States. However, according to the National Safety Council, motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2019. Riding a motorcycle is dangerous, which is why Louisiana has more restrictions for its operation than other states. The provisions in the law exist to prevent riders from having severe accidents that could change their lives forever.
Like all the states in the country, the law in Louisiana requires motorcyclists to have an endorsement on their driver’s license to legally ride a motorcycle. To get the endorsement, motorcyclists must pass a knowledge exam and an on-cycle skills test. If a motorcyclist rides without an endorsement, they could end up paying up to $500 in fines and spending up to 6 months in jail. Additionally, riders in Louisiana must always wear a proper helmet when they hit the road.
Louisiana’s motorcycle laws
States vary widely concerning riding requirements. Some states, for example, allow riders to operate the motorcycle between lanes. However, lane-splitting is illegal in Louisiana. It is also unlawful for a rider to:
- Pass in the same lane occupied by a vehicle
- Drive alongside another motorcycle in the same lane
- Drive without eye protection unless the motorcycle has a high protective windshield
- Use tinted eye protection at night
- Carry a passenger without the motorcycle having footrests for that passenger
- Operate a motorcycle with handlebars that are above the rider’s shoulder height
- Carry a passenger if the motorcycle is not designed to carry more than one person
- Carry a package or another article that prevents the rider from keeping both hands on the handlebars
- Carry a child younger than five years old and without a safety helmet
- Cling to another vehicle
Only police officers can lane-split or pass in the same lane occupied by a vehicle while performing their duties.
Protection for riders
Motorcyclists will face penalties if they break the traffic laws of the state. These laws were created to reduce the chances of a rider getting into a severe accident. However, riders may also get injuries even while obeying traffic laws. Sometimes car drivers can be careless and injure a motorcyclist for different reasons. When this happens, motorcyclists can file a claim against the driver at fault to get compensation for their injuries. No one deserves to pay for another’s mistake, and riders have the right to fight back if another’s negligence caused their injuries.