I spent most of my youth on motorcycles and a fairly significant portion of my adult years too. I’ve owned everything from Honda Minitrail 50s to Harley Davidson Dyna Glide convertibles and I love riding them. But as a Baton Rouge lawyer and resident, I can tell you that some of the worst injuries I’ve been asked to represent people on were from motorcycle wrecks. Motorcycles can be both fun and dangerous to ride. 2015 saw an 8% increase in fatalities among motorcyclists throughout the United States. But with the right gear, and by following the Louisiana motorcycle laws, you can keep yourself and others safe.
Whether you’re a resident or planning to visit Louisiana, if you drive a motorcycle, you need to adhere to these laws. In this guide, we’ll go through laws designed to prevent accidents that can cause life-changing injuries or even deaths.
Keep reading to keep the fun in your ride.
10 Louisiana Motorcycle Laws You Must Know
We’ve compiled a list of 10 laws that will keep you safe on the road so that you can enjoy riding your bike. From helmets to the height of your handlebars, these regulations are applicable statewide. No matter where you are in Louisiana, you need to abide by these laws.
#1: Wear Your Helmet
We know Louisiana can get warm, but it’s better to be hot and keep your brain intact than to be cool and risk a brain injury. Motorcycle helmets provide a 67% chance of preventing brain injuries in the event of a non-fatal crash, so wearing one is a no-brainer.
Besides, if you’re caught without one, you’re likely to get a ticket.
While your bike is in motion, make sure you have the chin strap fastened. Not only is this the law, but a helmet that flies off of your head doesn’t do you any good.
#2: Wear Protective Eye Gear
Even if you never experience a motorcycle accident–and we hope you don’t–you’ll want to protect your eyes. Cars and trucks can kick up pebbles and other debris from the road. If that gets in your eyes, two things can happen:
- You might get an eye injury or infection.
- You might have trouble seeing and end up getting into an accident.
Don’t leave the health and safety of your vision to chance. Louisiana LA R.S. 32:190.1 mandates that not only do you need to wear protective eyewear but also that at night, it cannot be tinted.
#3: No Kids Under Age Five
There are a couple of reasons you’re not allowed to transport kids under age five on your motorcycle in Louisiana. For one, it might be necessary for them to ride in a car seat. For another, they may be too small to safely fit in a passenger seat.
Louisiana’s LA R.S. 32:191(E) makes clear that if you need to travel with small children, an automobile is your best bet.
#4: Don’t Multitask
Multitasking while driving isn’t a good idea. Louisiana calls this distracted driving. Some states impose stiff fines for this transgression.
With motorcycles, it’s even more dangerous. Louisiana’s LA R.S. 32:191 also mandates that if you’re driving a motorcycle, both of your hands be free to operate the bike at all times. So if you’re thirsty or need to send a text, pull over to a safe area first.
#5: Seating Matters
Louisiana motorcycle laws are specific where seating is concerned. Follow the following laws to ensure your comfort and safety:
- LA R.S. 32:191 says you can only ride in a permanent and regular seat. This goes for passengers, too.
- You have to ride astride the seat, with one leg on each side of the motorcycle.
The way you and your passenger sit on your bike can affect balance, which influences how well you can control the motorcycle.
#6: How to Pass
We’ve all been there. The car in front of you is driving at a snail’s pace. Maybe they’re lost or tired, or maybe they just don’t like to drive faster.
That’s where passing comes in. On a motorcycle, it’s important to know that it’s unsafe to pass cars in the same lane those cars are in. For this reason, LA R.S. 32:191.1 makes it illegal to do so in Louisiana.
If you want to pass, use the left lane or, if you’re on a single-lane road, wait for a safe-passing zone.
#7: Don’t Ride the Line
If you’re walking through a large crowd, and you can see over others’ heads, it’s easy to wend your way through wherever you can fit. But on a motorcycle, weaving through lanes and riding the line between cars is not only unsafe, it’s illegal.
Louisiana motorcycle laws prohibit driving between lanes of traffic or rows of cars.
#8: Riding with Friends
Traveling with other bikers not only keeps you safe but ensures you can enjoy conversation with friends on stops. But how many motorcycles can ride together, abreast in one lane?
In Louisiana, LA R.S. 32:191.1(D) says the answer is two.
#9: Can You Use a Modulating Headlight?
A modulating headlight can save power by ranging from fairly dim to full brightness. However, at certain times, it may not be safe to use this type of headlight because it might not be bright enough.
On all roads in Louisiana, a modulating headlight can only be used legally during the day. This law makes it easier for other drivers to see you. It also makes it easier to see where you’re going.
#10: Handlebar Height
In Louisiana, handlebar height is regulated by LA R.S. 32:191.3. You’re not allowed to drive a motorcycle with handlebars that are higher than your own shoulders. For those who like to drive choppers featured on the covers of Easy Rider years ago, this might be disappointing.
That said, handlebars that are higher than your shoulders can make controlling a bike more difficult, which is why it’s deemed unsafe in the state of Louisiana. If your handlebars are too high, you should not attempt to ride your bike on Louisiana roads.
Following the Letter of the Law
Following these laws will keep you out of trouble with the authorities. Doing so can also help you prevent motorcycle accidents. But even if you follow every rule on the books, there are other drivers out there who might not do the same. Not only are there drivers who might not follow the law to the T, there are motorcyclists and drivers who might be under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs.
Motorcycle drivers who are in an accident need someone who can advocate for them. They need someone who can answer their questions. They need someone who can help them seek the lifestyle they enjoyed prior to the accident.
If you’ve been injured, Stephen Babcock of Babcock Injury Lawyers is standing by to help you.
Your case — and your future will be our top priority. When we meet with you, we will review your case with you for free and after you hire us you will have Stephen’s 100% Client Satisfaction Guarantee.
Contact us today.
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