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Motorcycles And California Law

California law regulates the use of motorcycles and other conveyances on California roads and highways. Riding a motorcycle may a dangerous experience as motorcyclists are vulnerable to many dangers when on the road. Those who ride motorcycles do so without the protection offered by a steel frame, airbags, and other safety features. As a result, motorcyclists are at a greater risk to suffer injury when they collide with another vehicle or anything else for that matter.

California traffic laws that apply to motorists in automobiles also apply to the riders of motorcycles. Riders may not ride above the posted speed limit or fail to stop at stop signs. Also, they must drive at speeds that are safe for present conditions. As a way to reduce traffic congestion, California allows “lane splitting,” which is the practice of motorcyclists riding between lanes of traffic. California was the first state in the United States to legally recognize the practice of lane splitting.

The minimum damage threshold for collision reportability to the State of California is $1,000. A driver of a motor vehicle or rider of a motorcycle involved in a collision with property damages greater than $1,000 must submit a Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California (SR 1) to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

A motorcycle, whether new or used, must be registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Also, riders must have an insurance policy that meets the minimum requirements under California state law. The consequence of failing to obtain and maintain an insurance policy may be a 1-year license suspension. Failing to have insurance also causes a cyclist to potentially forfeit the right to recover pain and suffering damages if involved in a collision while uninsured, even if not at fault for the accident.

California law has certain specifications that must be met by each motorcycle on the road. Almost all motorcycles require front and rear turn signals. Motorcycles must have mirrors, a muffler, and passenger footrests, the latter if the bike will carry passengers. Handlebars may not elevate the rider’s hands six inches above the shoulders. California law requires that a rider must wear a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation that has a visible DOT sticker.

Five years ago, legislation created three classes of electric bicycles. All operators of a Class 3 (maximum speed of 28 miles per hour) electric bicycle must be 16 years old or older and are required to wear a bicycle helmet. There is no financial responsibility, driver’s license, registration, or license plate requirement for these electric bicycles.

Any resident of the Central Valley who has suffered a major loss from accident, theft, fire, or some other calamity, may depend on Maison Law for the highest level of legal service in the Fresno and Visalia areas. Maison Law is located on W. Main Street in Visalia, about 50 minutes from the Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT). Pick up the phone (24 hours a day, 7 days a week and speak with a Maison Law representative. Our Central Valley personal injury attorney is here to help you! Call Maison Law at (559) 203-3333.


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