As the weather gets warmer, more and more motorcyclists are hitting Ohio’s roadways. While many riders follow the laws carefully and ride responsibly, others take unwarranted risks and ignore the laws in place to keep them safe. Being aware of Ohio motorcycle laws and understanding how they keep you safe is an important part of riding responsibly.
Are there laws regarding operating motorcycles in Ohio?
In general, motorcyclists must follow all the same rules of the road in Ohio as their car-driving counterparts. One of the few exceptions is that two motorcycles can ride abreast in the same lane, according to ORC § 4511.55.
Are there laws about how to ride?
All motorcycles in Ohio must have a “permanent and regular” seat properly attached to the bike. All riders must sit astride this seat, meaning with one leg on each side. Motorcycle operators should face forward at all times.
In general, the same rules apply to motorcycle passengers. They must sit on a properly installed seat designed for passengers, straddle the bike, and face forward at all times. It is also important to note that a bike cannot legally carry more people than its design allows, meaning a bike with a single seat cannot transport the operator plus a passenger.
What does Ohio law say about helmet use?
Helmet use is not mandatory for most riders in Ohio. The laws require U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmets for the following groups:
- All drivers during the first year of holding a license
- Drivers under 18
- Any passengers riding with these drivers
- Passengers under the age of 18
Other riders outside of these groups can legally ride without a helmet. It is important to note, though, that all riders must wear eye protection unless the bike has an approved windscreen.
Note: Regardless of legality, all riders should always wear helmets as they are 37 percent effective in preventing death and 67 percent effective in preventing head injuries, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
What sort of other safety and operational features does the law require?
Ohio law requires motorcycles have a number of features designed to prevent accidents and help improve the biker’s safety. These include:
- Headlight and brake lights
- A mirror or mirrors that provide a clear view to the rear
- Turn signals on bikes built in 1968 and after
As of May 2016, Ohio law allows handlebars to be no higher than 15 inches from the seat. This law will change in January of 2017, after which the handlebars cannot exceed the height of riders’ shoulders when they are on a bike.
Contact Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault Co., L.P.A. today at 419-843-6663.