Orange County California Motorcycle Laws

California has relatively strict motorcycle laws compared to other states, but following them is essential for your safety and avoiding fines and penalties. If you are injured in an accident, failing to adhere to motorcycle laws can harm your personal injury case, and you might receive lesser compensation or lose other rights.

Although motorcycle accidents aren’t as frequent as car accidents, they usually result in more fatal injuries. If you have been in a motorcycle accident, consider consulting with a motorcycle accident lawyer to help you pursue your claim and receive fair compensation for your damages. Here is what you should know about motorcycle laws in Orange County, California:

Helmets Laws

Regardless of age, all motorcycle riders and passengers in California must wear an appropriately fitted and Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet while operating or riding a motorcycle. Failure to wear DOT-compliant helmets can result in hefty fines.

Catastrophic or fatal injuries are more likely to occur when a motorcycle rider does not wear an appropriate helmet that meets the DOT’s safety standards and requirements. DOT-compliant helmets usually have the manufacturer’s seal of certification on them.

Licensing Requirements & Training

To operate a motorcycle in California, riders must possess a valid motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license or have a separate motorcycle license — Class M. To obtain a motorcycle endorsement, you must pass a written knowledge test and an on-road skills test.

Motorcyclists under 21 are legally required to complete a California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) training course, while those above 21 are strongly encouraged to do so. These courses can provide valuable instruction on safe riding techniques and help riders develop the necessary skills and knowledge to operate a motorcycle safely.

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Equipment Requirements & Restrictions

All motorcyclists must have certain safety features to ensure road safety, such as having working headlights, tail lights, brake lights, turn signals, mirrors, and a muffler in good working condition. Handlebars should not be positioned higher than a rider’s shoulders when seated on the motorcycle, and riders should generally wear clothing that makes them more visible to others.

California law prohibits the use of certain modifications or equipment that could affect a motorcycle’s safety or emissions standards. For example, modifying your motorcycle’s exhaust systems to produce excessive noise is illegal.

Lane Splitting

Lane splittings occur when a motorcyclist rides between stopped or slow-moving traffic lanes. In California, lane splitting is legal when done in a safe and prudent manner. It is essential to keep adequate space between vehicles for passing and lane splitting.

However, if other vehicle drivers intentionally block or impede a motorcyclist in a way that causes them harm while lane splitting — for example, opening a vehicle door to impede movement — it is illegal.

Motorcyclists often bear the stigma of being reckless in traffic. However, most motorcycle accidents are caused by negligent drivers. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Orange County, California, consult with a motorcycle accident attorney. They can help you pursue just compensation for your injuries and other damages.

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