What You Need to Know about Louisiana Motorcycle Laws and Safety
Ah, the open road. Many New Orleans motorcycle accident lawyers are motorcycle enthusiasts themselves; they know that Louisiana is a great place to ride your motorcycle year-round. But the call of the ride is especially tempting as the weather improves and summer approaches.
At Mike Brander Injury Attorneys, our personal injury lawyers have seen firsthand the different injuries that occur in various accidents involving cars, big rigs, and other motorcycles. Whether you’re considering buying a motorcycle, recently purchased one, or have been riding for years, knowing the ins and outs of Louisiana motorcycle laws can potentially save your life.
Safety Tips for New Motorcycle Riders
As a new biker, it is important for you to understand the different driving challenges you’ll face on the open road. Our New Orleans motorcycle accident attorneys have outlined a few safety tips below to help reduce your chances of being injured in an accident.
- Complete a motorcycle safety course before you get your motorcycle license. This will give you more experience than a friend teaching you on the road.
- Always wear protective gear, including a helmet and a jacket with heavy duty panels. Leather holds up against the road and can make a difference in the severity of your injuries. Finally, wear durable boots/shoes for enhanced protection. Your toes will thank you.
- Maintain a safe following distance of at least two seconds, if not longer. What might be a fender bender accident in a car can be deadly for bikers, who have much less protection.
- Avoid riding in the rain. Even the most skilled motorcyclists find it difficult to maintain control on slick roads.
- Stay focused on the road rather than your phone or bike controls.
- Be incredibly careful at intersections. Intersections are some of the deadliest spots on your journey. Drivers turning left or right may not spot you, or someone running a red light may hit you. All of these are possible in a car, but it’s more likely to result in wrongful death for a motorcyclist.
Louisiana Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Whether you have been riding for 20 seconds or 20 years, protecting your head against brain injuries is imperative. Motorcycle helmet efficacy and safety has improved dramatically in the last decade.
According to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, wearing a motorcycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by 69% and the risk of death by 42% in an accident. Wearing a helmet is also required under Louisiana motorcycle laws.
Helmet use is compulsory in Louisiana and applies to motorcycles, scooters, and motorized bicycles. Under Louisiana Revised Statute 32: 190, all riders and passengers must wear proper helmets with lining, padding, visor, and chin strap, as per requirements set forth by the Commissioner. In addition, it is illegal to manufacture, sell, or distribute protective helmets if their specifications are not approved by the Commissioner.
Make sure your helmet meets the standards set by the Department of Transportation. If this organization’s DOT symbol is not on the back of the helmet, we suggest that you get a new one that meets the DOT standards. Bottom line: a good, properly-fitted helmet can prevent catastrophic injuries, permanent disability, or death—and wearing one is the law.
Louisiana Motorcycle Laws for the Road
As a new rider, it can be overwhelming to learn everything you need to know to ride safely. Even veteran riders may occasionally need to refresh their knowledge of Louisiana motorcycle laws.
Following these common rules of the road can save you both a traffic ticket and your life.
- Be road ready. Make sure that you’ve passed written and road tests and are properly licensed and insured. Your motorcycle should also be road ready and in good repair, with properly inflated tires and functioning headlights, brakes, and signal indicators.
- Don’t pass in the same lane as the vehicle you’re trying to pass. Also, do not drive between lanes of traffic. This is called lane-splitting and is illegal in Louisiana.
- Keep both hands on the handlebars and refrain from carrying anything on your motorcycle that does not allow you to keep your hands on the handlebars.
- Ride sober. Never operate a motorcycle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other substance that negatively impacts your ability to ride safely.
- Passengers are only allowed on motorcycles that are designed for more than one rider. Passengers must also be at least five years old, helmeted, and able to be properly seated.
- Be alert. Share the road and be safe. You’re smaller and less visible than the average motorist in a vehicle, so make sure other drivers see you before you attempt to change lanes, pass, etc. Also make sure you follow Louisiana move over laws for emergency vehicles.
Finally, keep your skills sharp. If you’re a motorcyclist, it’s important to control your bike and navigate traffic as well as possible. The Louisiana State Police offers motorcycle safety courses designed for every level, from beginners to advanced motorcyclists.
Safety Tips for Driving Around Motorcyclists
Riding a motorcycle for primary transportation has increased in popularity in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana, which means that other motorists need to pay more attention to their surroundings to keep riders safe and prevent traffic accidents.
- Accommodate vulnerable motorcyclists, scooter operators and bicyclists.Every driver, whether on a bike or in a car, should be striving for safety. Be aware of your surroundings and recognize the fact that they are more vulnerable to injury.
- Provide ample space between you and smaller vehicles. Increase your following distance accordingly.
- Always check your blind spots before changing lanes. Use shoulder checks in addition to mirrors to catch motorcycles you may have otherwise missed.
- If you intend to pass a motorcyclist, leave sufficient space, multiple car lengths if you can, between your vehicle and the rider. This diminishes the risk of generating a gust of wind with your car that may knock the rider off balance.
How Other Motorists Cause Motorcycle Accidents
As a motorcyclist, you know that you have equal rights to share the road with other motorists. Unfortunately, other motorists often don’t see it that way. In fact, they might do things to motorcyclists that cause accidents to occur. These actions include:
- Cutting the motorcyclist off at traffic lights, stop signs.
- Cutting too close to the motorcyclist when they pass and change lanes.
- Disobeying speed limits and tailgating.
- Not yielding when the motorcyclist has the right of way.
- Not paying attention when the motorcyclist changes lanes.
- Crowding or not giving the motorcyclist the full lane as required by law.
On the flip side, don’t be “that” biker. You know the one—riding in the emergency lane, splitting lanes, or the one with the annoying (and distracting) loud muffler.
Injured in a New Orleans Motorcycle Accident?
In any traffic accident where the other driver is at fault, the help of an experienced New Orleans personal injury attorney can make sure that you receive a just and fair settlement for your damaged vehicle, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, motorcycle accident victims often face prejudice from other motorists, insurance companies, or even juries. To make sure you are adequately compensated, be sure to invest in comprehensive motorcycle insurance coverage and always follow the rules of the road.
In the event that another motorist’s negligent or reckless driving causes an accident in which you are injured, know that you may face obstacles without the help of an attorney. Insurance companies may decide that if you ride a motorcycle, you know that you are more exposed physically than motorists in cars and have consciously chosen to take the risk of being injured.
Simply, they assign “blame” to you for your own injuries, just because you ride a motorcycle – even though you followed Louisiana motorcycle laws. This can also unfortunately mean an unfairly prejudiced jury, which may reward you a diminished settlement for your injuries.
Contact a New Orleans Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Our Louisiana personal injury lawyers know full well the prejudices that motorcycle riders face every day. With our many years of experience, we have seen it all, heard it all, and know how to help. We have experience with motorcycle laws and the claims that come with them.
Our legal team will also handle negotiations with the responsible party’s insurance company. And, if your motorcycle accident was the result of faulty parts or equipment, we are prepared to represent you in a product liability lawsuit.
To arrange your 100% free consultation from Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys, call us at one of the numbers below 24/7. Representatives are also available via LiveChat to address your concerns and questions. You can even request your complimentary case review online by filling out this simple form.
The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.