It’s important that all motorcyclists know—and follow—motorcycle-specific laws. These laws are in place to protect your safety, as well as the safety of others on the road. If you own, operate, or ride a motorcycle in Louisiana, make sure you know these laws and rules of the road before you go!
Do You Need a Motorcycle License/Endorsement in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, you are required to obtain a valid motorcycle endorsement on your standard driver’s license to operate a motorcycle anywhere in the state (military service members and their dependents, as well as full-time students from out of state/out of country are exempt).
How to get a motorcycle endorsement in Louisiana:
- First, schedule an appointment at your local Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) for the written motorcycle knowledge exam and practical test.
- Prepare for your appointment by taking online practice tests, and make sure to have a completed application and two forms of accepted, valid proofs of identification when you arrive at your appointment at the OMV.
- You will need to pass the written motorcycle knowledge exam, as well as either the on-cycle skills test OR one of the state’s approved Motorcycle Safety courses. If you take the practical test, you will need to bring the required safety equipment (an approved motorcycle helmet and eye protection or a windshield) along with your bike.
Do You Have to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet in Louisiana?
Yes, Louisiana law requires anyone who operates or rides a motorcycle as a passenger to wear an approved motorcycle helmet. The helmet must be specifically designed for motorcycle riders and must have a chin strap, visor, lining, and padding. Additionally, the helmet must be secured with the chin strap anytime the motorcycle is moving.
What About Eye Protection?
In addition to an approved motorcycle helmet, you are also required to wear protective eyewear when riding a motorcycle UNLESS your bike has a windshield that provides sufficient wind protection.
Approved eyewear includes:
- Safety glasses
- Face shields
Protective eyewear must meet specific performance guidelines. Additionally, you are not permitted to wear tinted eyewear when riding at night.
What Are Louisiana’s Motorcycle Insurance Requirements?
Just like other motorists who drive passenger cars and commercial vehicles, motorcyclists are required to carry at least minimum liability insurance in Louisiana. If you do not have proof of insurance, you will not be able to register your motorcycle and cannot lawfully ride anywhere in the state.
Louisiana’s minimum liability insurance requirements for motorcyclists include the following coverage amounts:
- $15,000 in bodily injury/death per person
- $30,000 in bodily injury/death per accident
- $25,000 in property damage per incident
While these amounts illustrate the minimum liability requirements, it is a good idea to consider increasing your coverage. Liability insurance covers others who may be injured or sustain property damage in a crash you cause, but this coverage does not protect you or your bike.
If you are hit by someone else, you will need to count on their liability insurance to cover your medical bills, lost wages, motorcycle repairs, and other damages. Often, minimum liability insurance is not enough. What’s more, you could be injured by an uninsured driver or someone who flees the scene of the accident. It is important that you consider all types of insurance coverage to protect yourself and your passengers in the event of a crash.
Is It Legal to Lane Split in Louisiana?
Lane splitting—or the practice of riding on lane lines between rows of traffic—is illegal in Louisiana. Additionally, motorcyclists are not permitted to overtake other vehicles in the same lane of traffic; they must only pass in separate lanes.
Additionally, motorcyclists are permitted to use the full lane. Other drivers on the road should maintain a safe distance when traveling behind or passing motorcyclists and should allow them full use of the lane.
How Many Motorcycles Can Share a Single Lane?
Louisiana law permits two motorcyclists to ride side-by-side in a single lane of traffic. However, it is illegal to ride three or more abreast.
Do You Have to Keep Both Hands on the Handlebars when Riding?
Yes, by law, you may not ride a motorcycle while carrying or holding anything that prevents you from keeping BOTH hands on the handlebars. This includes cell phones, GPS devices, cameras, recording devices, and any other object or item that causes you to remove one (or both) hands from the handlebars while riding. For your safety, you should always keep both hands firmly on the handlebars anytime you are in motion.
Additionally, motorcyclists in Louisiana are not permitted to have handlebars that are so high that they cause the motorcyclist’s hands to be above shoulder height while holding/riding.
Contact The Womac Law Firm to learn how our New Orleans motorcycle accident attorneys can help you with your claim.