Whether you have been riding motorcycles for years or are looking to give it a try, Ohio has several laws governing motorcycles, from insurance requirements and helmets to obtaining a license.
No matter your experience as a motorcyclist, you should review these laws to make sure you are in compliance before hitting the road. Knowing these laws can not only help save you from getting a traffic ticket, they could also help prevent a dangerous accident that could cause an injury or cost you your life.
Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, a crash could still occur. If it does, you should strongly consider seeking legal representation. A Cincinnati motorcycle accident lawyer can assist you in pursuing compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Obtaining A Motorcycle License In Ohio
You cannot legally operate a motorcycle in the state of Ohio unless you have a motorcycle license or motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license. The requirements for obtaining a license or endorsement vary depending on whether you are over or under the age of 18.
Riders Over The Age Of 18
If you are 18 years old or older, you can obtain an endorsement or license by passing the motorcycle skills test and a knowledge test.
The knowledge test is a multiple-choice exam that assesses your knowledge of riding a motorcycle and traffic laws. All of the questions on the test are based on information in Ohio’s Motorcycle Operator Manual.
For instance, you will need to know what to do when you are stopped at an intersection and a car is waiting to enter the intersection.
The on-cycle skills test will assess your ability to control the vehicle and avoid crashes. The test covers many skills, including:
- Safely turning
- Adjusting speed to the traffic situation
- Making quick stops and turns
- Making decisions in a crisis situation
- Communicating with other drivers
Riders Under The Age Of 18
If you are under the age of 18, you must complete a Motorcycle Ohio Basic Course and all requirements of Graduated Driver Licensing.
This means you need to obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit, also known as a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC), which you can do by passing the knowledge test. You will also need your parent or legal guardian to sign a permission slip.
The TIPIC has certain restrictions:
- You can only operate your motorcycle in daylight; nighttime driving is not permitted
- You cannot carry any passengers
- You cannot operate a motorcycle on interstate highways or congested roads
- You are required to wear a helmet and eye protection
The permit is valid for one year from the date you obtain it and you must carry it with you whenever you are riding your bike. If your permit expires before you obtain a license, you will have to take the knowledge test again to obtain another permit.
After holding the permit for six months, you can obtain a license or endorsement by doing the following:
- Completing a Motorcycle Ohio Course, which takes 16 hours and includes classroom and on-cycle instruction and testing
- Completing a driver education course, which includes 24 hours of classroom instruction and eight hours of driving
- Driving for at least 50 hours, including 10 hours of driving at night
The Motorcycle Ohio Course is typically the last step and once you pass it, you have 60 days to go to a deputy registrar agency to purchase your license or endorsement.
It is illegal to operate a motorcycle without insurance or proof of financial responsibility. The minimum insurance requirements for motorcycles are the same as they are for other motor vehicles:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death of another person in an accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more individuals in one accident
- $25,000 for property damage suffered by someone else in an accident
You can meet these requirements without insurance by establishing proof of financial responsibility. You will need to obtain one of the following:
- A Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) certificate showing that you have $30,000 in cash or government bonds deposited with the State Treasurer
- A BMV-issued bond secured by real estate with at least $60,000 in equity
- Certificate of proof of financial responsibility
- Surety bond certificate worth $30,000
- BMV-issued certificate of self-insurance, which is only available to individuals with at least 26 vehicles registered in their name
Riding The Motorcycle
Ohio also has laws that govern the safe operation of a motorcycle on state roadways, including required equipment and maneuvers you are allowed to make.
You cannot operate a motorcycle unless you are sitting on the permanent or regular seat that is attached to the bike. You also cannot transport a passenger unless he or she is sitting on a regular seat that is firmly attached to the bike.
You also cannot ride a motorcycle while carrying a package or anything else that prevents you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars.
The law also prohibits you from riding a motorcycle on a highway if the handlebars are higher than your shoulders.
Under Ohio law, anyone under the age of 18 or who has a license or endorsement with a novice designation is prohibited from riding a motorcycle without wearing a helmet that is approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. These individuals are also prohibited from carrying passengers unless they are wearing a helmet.
Even though certain individuals are required by law to wear helmets, they can still file a personal injury claim if they were injured while not wearing a helmet.
Riding Two To A Lane
Since motorcycles are much smaller than traditional passenger vehicles, there is enough space in a traffic lane for one motorcycle to ride next to another one. Ohio law says riders cannot ride more than two abreast in a single lane of traffic.
Ohio law does not mention lane splitting, which occurs when a motorcycle moves between two lanes of stopped or slowly moving traffic. This means it is not necessarily against the law.
However, you could still be cited for failing to drive in a marked lane or engaging in unsafe driving. Ohio law also states that motorcyclists must exercise due care when passing a standing vehicle.
Contact A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Right Away
The attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy have seen the devastation caused by motorcycle accidents. These crashes are almost always more severe than those involving traditional passenger vehicles because the only protection riders have is their helmets and any protective clothing they are wearing.
One of the worst parts of these crashes is that many were caused by another driver’s negligence. That means a lot of these crashes could have been avoided if drivers were operating their vehicles safely.
If you were injured in a crash, schedule a free legal consultation with our attorneys to determine your legal options. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and various other damages you suffered because of the crash.
We take cases on contingency, so there is no charge unless we obtain the fair compensation you deserve.