In the United States, motorcycle registrations continue to rise every year. Statistics show that ownership has grown every decade. In 2006, there were 6.7 million motorcycles registered in the United States. By 2013, motorcycle registrations rose to 8.4 million. The State of Connecticut ranks 30 in motorcycle registrations, with 97,960 motorcycles registered. As motorcycle ownership continues to rise in popularity, there are certain laws and safety tips you should take into consideration. If you are planning to get a motorcycle in Connecticut, here are five things from our Connecticut motorcycle accident attorneys, you should know prior to making a purchase:
1. Getting a Connecticut License
A separate motorcycle license is not required in the State of Connecticut. Instead, a standard driver's license has a motorcycle endorsement. If you have a valid Connecticut driver's license and want to be able to legally ride a motorcycle, you must pass written and vision tests, in addition to a motorcycle safety training course that is approved by the State of Connecticut to get the needed endorsement. However, before you get your motorcycle endorsement, you have the option to obtain a motorcycle learner's permit. The motorcycle learner's permit allows a person to operate a motorcycle, subject to certain restrictions, to provide you with an opportunity to gain needed experience so you can become a better motorcycle operator. You then need to provide CT DMV with the necessary paperwork to get your endorsement.
2. What You Should Wear
The state of Connecticut requires motorcyclists to have some form of eye protection, unless the motorcycle has a windscreen. Proper eye protection includes goggles and closed-faced helmets. Furthermore, wearing a helmet is mandatory for riders, and passengers under 18 years of age, and for riders who hold a learner's permit.
3. Motorcycle Design
Connecticut laws state that a motorcycle's handlebar cannot be more than 15 inches above the depressed motorcycle seat. Any handlebar above shoulder height is considered illegal. Additionally, Connecticut state law requires exhaust mufflers. It is illegal to have exhaust cutouts or straight pipes on a motorcycle that produce certain defined noise levels. Additionally, all motorcycles must also be equipped with mirrors on both sides. If a motorcyclist has a passenger, it is imperative that his or her motorcycle includes footrests and a seat.
4. Road Manners
Motorcyclists must obey all of the rules of the road in the State of Connecticut. That being said, motorcycle riders must be aware of a few additional things. To start, motorcyclists should know that lane splitting (when a biker rides on the line between two cars) is illegal. Next, you should know that more than two motorcycles cannot occupy a single lane. Lastly, Connecticut does not restrict the age of passengers on a motorcycle.
Motorcycles can be very dangerous, which is why there are many factors you should consider before making a first-time purchase. To begin, you need to make sure you buy a motorcycle that fits your skills. You should buy a bike that is the right size for your frame. Check to be sure all of the controls are within reach and your feet can reach the ground comfortably. Additionally, you should consider a motorcycle with ABS brakes. Statistics show that ABS brakes reduce the likelihood of having a fatal crash by 37%. Lastly, make sure that the bike you buy doesn't feel too heavy and that the engine is not too powerful. Do your research, and find a motorcycle that you will be able to handle.
Next, take the time and money to invest in some proper safety gear. This includes a reinforced jacket, gloves, pants, and over the ankle footwear. Even in the summer, you should wear full gear to protect yourself from the elements. Lastly, you should always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. According to the NHTSA, helmets are 67% effective in preventing brain injuries.
When on the road, watch out for potential hazards. Motorcycles make less contact with the pavement in comparison to cars. Road hazards- no matter how big or small- can potentially cause you to slip out and have an accident. You should also ride defensively. Other road users may be unaware of your presence, which is why you should stay alert. Look out for sudden lane changes and avoid tailgating. Lastly, try to avoid riding your motorcycle in inclement weather. Less visibility and poor road conditions will give you less margin for error.
Motorcycles are both fun and fuel-efficient vehicles, which are two big reasons why they are growing in popularity. If you own a motorcycle, be sure to maintain it so that all of its equipment functions properly. When on the road, always obey your local traffic laws, which will greatly reduce your chances of having an accident. For further information please review the State of Connecticut's Motorcycle Operator Manual.
Even with great safety precautions, the unfortunate truth is that motorcycle accidents occur every day. If you or someone you love was injured in a Connecticut motorcycle accident, it is very important for you to know if you have a case. Contact us to consult with our Connecticut motorcycle accident attorneys. Let us take care of you.