Understanding the Vehicle Code
Motorcycle Laws California
Motorcyclists' rights are the same as those of other motorists; riders must adhere to the same rules of the road, and they share the same privileges as other drivers, in addition to being able to legally lane split. However, motorcycle laws in California are unique as motorcycles are vastly different from automobiles and so must be governed by a separate vehicle code. Understanding the California Vehicle Code as it relates to motorcycles is extremely important if you are a rider. Although there is no substitute for seeking legal counsel or thoroughly going over all applicable vehicle code sections, below you will find a reference guide to some of the more important statutes regarding motorcycles.
At our Orange County law office in Newport Beach, we are intimately familiar with California motorcycle law, as we are riders ourselves. With more than many years of experience handling motorcycle claims and years of riding experience, our team at Inland Empire Motorcycle Law is the firm you want on your side if you ride. To arrange a complimentary consultation, contact Inland Empire Motorcycle Law today.
The below laws apply to all road bikes in the state of California. Motorcycles that are used exclusively for off-road use must meet a separate set of guidelines. Being familiar with these laws will help ensure both you and your motorcycle is in compliance with state laws. A failure to abide by the law can hinder your ability to recover damages in the event of an accident.
Helmet - In California, a helmet is required at all times when riding a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle, such as a moped. Please see California Vehicle Code Section 27803.
Headlight - Any motorcycle manufactured after 1978 is required to operate a headlight at all times, including during daytime hours, per California Vehicle Code Section 25650.5. For improved visibility, we recommend that you install or have installed a modulating headlight.
Mirrors - All motorcycles should have at least one rearview mirror, and preferably two. The mirror should not be obstructed in any way and should provide a view of a distance not less than 200 feet behind the rider. Please see California Vehicle Code Section 26709.
Mufflers - A muffler is required for all motor vehicles, including motorcycles. No bypass, cutout, or similar device can be installed, per California Vehicle Code Section 27150. Any motorcycle manufactured prior to 1970 shall not exceed a noise level of 92 dba; vehicles manufactured from 1970-1972 must not exceed 88 dba; from 1973-1974 must not exceed 86 dba; from 1975-1985 must not exceed 83 dba; and after 1985 must not exceed 80 dba. Please see California Vehicle Code Section 27201 and 27202.
Passengers - If riding with a passenger, he or she must be provided with a securely fastened seat behind the driver and separate foot rests, except in the case of a side car. Helmets must be worn by both driver and passenger and all occupants must keep their feet on the foot rests at all time. Please see California Vehicle Code Section 27800.
Radar Detectors - The use of radar detectors is not restricted but the use of radar and laser jammers is, per California Vehicle Code Section 28150.
There are many other issues applicable to motorcyclists, many of which aren't addressed in statute of vehicle code. For example, lane splitting and riding two abreast in one lane are not discussed in the California Vehicle Code, which by default makes them legal. Understanding the myriad of California motorcycle laws can be difficult; at our Orange County law office, we can provide you with the counsel you need.
Contact Inland Empire Motorcycle Law
Please don't hesitate to contact our Orange County law office today if you have questions regarding California motorcycle law. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, we can conduct a thorough motorcycle accident investigation and reconstruction, establish liability, and help ensure your legal rights are protected.