Louisiana Motorcycle Laws That Riders Need to Know

motorcycle rider with black helmetDriving a motorcycle is dangerous. If a crash occurs, riders often suffer serious injuries. That is why it is so important to follow Louisiana motorcycle laws, as these laws were designed to help keep riders safe and reduce the risk of a crash.

The experienced Lafayette motorcycle accident lawyers at Galloway Jefcoat have compiled a list of state motorcycle laws riders need to know. Whether you are a new or experienced rider, it is never a bad time to review these laws.

If you were injured in a motorcycle collision in Lafayette or the surrounding area, we may be able to help you pursue compensation for your medical costs and other damages. Our services are provided at no upfront cost, which means we do not get paid unless we recover compensation for you.

Galloway Jefcoat. Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. Call (337) 984-8020.

Louisiana Motorcycle Endorsement Requirements

A motorcycle endorsement is a credential that is added to your license signifying that you are legally allowed to ride a motorcycle.

You must get a motorcycle endorsement added to your Louisiana driver’s license before you can legally ride a motorcycle anywhere in the state. The endorsement will appear as an M on your license. Unlike some states, Louisiana does not require you to get a separate license to operate a motorcycle.

You can get an endorsement on your license after you pass a motorcycle knowledge and skills test (Louisiana Revised Statutes 32:408). You can only apply for an endorsement if you have a valid Louisiana driver’s license or learner’s permit. If you have the required license or permit, you must score at least80 percent on the knowledge and skills test to obtain an endorsement.

It is important to note all motorcycle endorsement applicants must:

  • Bring the motorcycle they will use to take the skills test
  • Ensure the motorcycle they bring has a valid license plate, insurance and current inspection sticker
  • Have a helmet to wear during the test

However, the requirement to pass a knowledge and skills test will be waived if you complete a Department of Public Safety, Motorcycle Safety, Awareness and Operators Training Program.

Louisiana Motorcycle License Plate Laws

When you buy a motorcycle, it must be inspected at a repair shop that has been approved by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (Louisiana Revised Statutes 32:1304 A.(1)). This inspection must be completed within 40 days of your purchase of the motorcycle. You are also required to have your motorcycle reinspected each year.

How Much Louisiana Motorcycle Insurance Do I Need?

Once you have a motorcycle endorsement, you can obtain insurance on your bike. Louisiana requires riders to purchase the following minimum insurance coverages:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury liability for an accident that injures one person
  • $30,000 in bodily injury liability for an accident that injures two or more people
  • $25,000 in property damage liability coverage for each accident

There are additional coverages you can add to your policy, including:

  • Collision – This pays for the repair of your motorcycle if it is damaged in a crash.
  • Comprehensive – This pays for repair or replacement of your motorcycle if it is damaged by things like vandalism, theft, fire or weather events
  • Special equipment coverage – This can be used to pay for repair or replacement of special equipment you added to your bike

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is also not required. However, you may want it in case you get into a crash with a driver who lacks insurance or does not have enough coverage for your damages.

Motorcycle Helmet Law in Louisiana

In Louisiana, all motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets that meet safety criteria set by the state. This includes the person operating the bike and any passengers on the bike.

Riders and passengers must wear helmets that were designed and manufactured specifically for riding motorcycles. Your helmet must have the following features:

  • Lining
  • Padding
  • Visor
  • Chin strap

The chin strap must be properly secured while the motorcycle is in motion.

Wearing a helmet is not only the law, but it is also something that could help save your life in a collision. Research has consistently shown that wearing a helmet can greatly reduce your risk of a severe head injury in a motorcycle crash.

Required Eye Protection

State law says it is unlawful to ride a motorcycle unless you are wearing an approved eye-protective device (Louisiana Revised Statutes 32:190.1). The only exception to this is if your bike has a windshield that is high enough to provide adequate protection of your eyes.

You can wear tinted goggles during the daytime, but state law says it is illegal to wear tinted goggles on your motorcycle at night.

Even if you have an approved windshield, you may want to wear eye protection. The tires of the vehicles you are sharing the road with can kick up dirt and debris. This dirt and debris will be traveling at high speed and could hit you in the face or the eyes.

Rules on Motorcycle Seats

You are required to sit on the permanent and regular seat attached to your motorcycle (Louisiana Revised Statutes 32:191). You also cannot carry any passengers, including children, unless your motorcycle seat was designed to accommodate two people. This means the passenger must be on the regular seat with you, if it can accommodate two people, or on another seat that has been firmly attached to the side or rear of the bike.

When you are sitting on your bike, you must have one leg on each side of the bike facing forward.

Required Handlebars and Footrests

The handlebars on your motorcycle cannot be above shoulder height when you are sitting on the seat (Louisiana Revised Statutes 32:191.3). The reason for this is that handlebars that are too high make the bike harder to control.

Also, if you are carrying passengers, your bike must have footrests for the passenger to rest their feet on. The only exception to this is if the passenger is in a sidecar or enclosed cab.

You are prohibited from carrying anything that prevents you from keeping both hands on your handlebars.

Rules on Riding With Children

You cannot transport a child on a motorcycle if that child is required to be in a child safety seat. This means the child has to be at least five years old. The child must also wear a helmet that is an appropriate size for him or her.

Full Use of a Traffic Lane

As a motorcycle rider, you are entitled to full use of a traffic lane. Other drivers are prohibited from driving in such a way that you are deprived of the full use of a lane.

Louisiana allows you to ride next to another motorcycle in one lane of traffic. However, no more than two motorcycles can ride next to each other in one lane of traffic.

Is Lane Splitting Legal in Louisiana?

Lane splitting refers to driving between traffic lanes or between rows of passenger vehicles. This practice is illegal in Louisiana. The only exception to the law on lane splitting is for police officers who are performing their official duties.

Did You Get Injured in a Motorcycle Collision? Call Galloway Jefcoat

Motorcycles do not offer anywhere near the amount of protection offered by other passenger vehicles. That means even a minor crash could cause riders to suffer long-term or even catastrophic injuries.

If this has happened to you, Galloway Jefcoat is ready to help you seek the justice and compensation you need. Our firm has obtained hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of injured victims.

Free Consultation. Zero Upfront Fees. Call (337) 984-8020.