For motorcycle riders, the freedom of the open road is irresistible. While riding has many benefits, it also has many risks. In fact, according to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are more than 28 times more likely than drivers or passengers in cars to die in a motor vehicle accident and five times more likely to be injured. For safety’s sake, New Jersey has several laws all riders should be aware of. Not only can following these laws help to keep you from being severely injured (or worse) in an accident, they can also keep you from getting a traffic ticket or risking some liability in a crash.
#1: You Must Have a New Jersey Motorcycle Endorsement or License
New Jersey residents must have a motorcycle endorsement on an existing NJ basic license or must have a motorcycle license in order to drive a motorcycle. In order to get a license or endorsement, you can take an approved NJ Motorcycle Safety Education Program (MSEP) Basic Rider Course (BRC). By doing so, you are not only learning how to ride safely and responsibly, you may also be able to waive the knowledge test and riding exam. It’s also possible to take a test and exam and earn a license or endorsement. Either way, it’s required by law.
#2: Helmets are the Law in New Jersey
Helmets are required by law in New Jersey for riders and passengers on a motorcycle. Studies show that riding a motorcycle without a helmet increases the risk of death in an accident by more than 40%; and, unhelmeted riders are three times more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury in a crash. Without question, riding with a helmet is safer than without.
#3: You Must Have Insurance
In order to register your motorcycle, you must have at least a minimum level of motorcycle insurance which is $15,000 in liability. However, your most important consideration should be how much insurance you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages and other damages in the event of an accident. We recommend purchasing the most coverage you can afford and consider purchasing underinsured/ uninsured motorist insurance that could cover additional damages if the other driver’s insurance policy does not cover the bills
#4: Eye Protection is Required
Your bike must have an approved wind screen on it. If it doesn’t you must wear goggles or a face shield to protect your eyes. Goggles are important to keep bugs and debris out of your face while driving at high speeds. If anything were to get in your eye, the temporary blindness could cause you to lose control of the bike.
#5: Passengers Must Have a Designated Seat
There are no restrictions about age or height for passengers, but they must have seating and wear a helmet. It is unlawful to carry a passenger unless your motorcycle is equipped with a designated seat for the person to sit on. If you do carry a passenger, the motorcycle must be equipped with footrests specifically for use by the passenger.
#6: Handlebars Cannot Be Higher Than Your Shoulder
Simply put, the handlebar grips must rest below your shoulder height, while seated, according to New Jersey Revised Statutes 39:3-76.3.
#7: Daytime Headlight Use is Required
New Jersey requires motorcycle headlights to remain visible while operating the bike. Modulating headlights are ok. Cars and other vehicles turning into the path of an oncoming motorcycle is a leading cause of accidents, so keeping headlights on may prevent an accident from occurring.
Get Help with a Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident due to someone else's lack of care, you may need legal representation to ensure your rights and best interests are protected. In these situations, having someone who is on your side to back you up can be a huge relief.
When you hire a New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer from our team at Brandon J. Broderick, you can be assured we will passionately and aggressively represent your best interests and work to maximize your compensation. Without a legal claim, the insurance company can offer you a lowball offer that barely covers any of your needs. You may be left having to pay for the costs of your injuries on your own. Contact us today and let us turn your setback into a comeback.