Motorcycle laws vary from state to state, and it is important to know and understand the rules enforced in any state in which you travel. Alabama has implemented laws pertaining to the use of motorcycles for the safety of motorcycle drivers, their passengers, and other individuals on the roads. Get to know these 4 areas of Alabama motorcycle law if you’re living in or traveling to Alabama:
- Class M driver’s License
- Helmets and Footwear
- Lane Sharing
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A person who is 16 years, or older, who has been issued a class M driver’s license, may operate either a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle. Alabama is one of only a few states not requiring a special license or specific testing for motorcycle drivers. The only exception is for individuals aged 14 to 16. A person who is at least 14 years of age may apply for a restricted license to operate a motor-driven cycle only (such as a moped).
Helmet and Footwear Laws
The state of Alabama currently has a universal motorcycle helmet law. This law requires that motorcyclists of all ages to wear helmets that have a solid exterior layer and a secured chinstrap. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation reminds readers that helmets can save lives and prevent serious brain injuries, and all research and evidence point to the fact that helmets really do work. Drivers and passengers are also required to wear shoes while operating a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle.
Motorcycle Passenger Laws
If there is a passenger riding on the bike, Alabama law requires the passenger to have a separate seat and dedicated footrests, according to the Alabama Department of Public Safety. Make sure that there is a strap or firm handholds for your passenger to hold onto, as well. The passenger must also have adequate safety equipment, including a solid helmet, and abide by footwear rules.
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Lane Sharing Laws
In Alabama, a maximum of two motorcycles may share a lane side by side. According to the Alabama Department of Public Safety, it is unsafe to have more than two motorbikes sharing a single lane side by side.
Many motorcyclists around the country practice lane splitting, which is when they travel between two vehicles. Despite it being a widespread practice, this is illegal in many states, including Alabama. Because of the small size of motorcycles, not to mention inattentive drivers, this is a common cause of serious crashes as many drivers fail to check blind spots before changing lanes. This rule also applies to motorcycles passing a vehicle when the pass would not otherwise be legal, such as on a road in a no passing zone.Alabama enforces these rules for the safety of its citizens and all drivers, and it is important to respect, understand and abide by these laws. For more details, refer to the Alabama Motorcycle Operator Manual.