Judge Mark Frankel is a specialist in alternative dispute resolution, mediation, and arbitration. President of the Wisconsin Reserve Judges Association, he’s developed various sentencing guidelines that have since been adopted statewide by statute. He has also taught advanced evidence to judges at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.
Outside his work, he’s similarly passionate about several hobbies and other interests. Chief among his favorite hobbies, alongside theater and traveling, is motorcycling. With this in mind, the expert offers a closer look at several all-important motorcycle riding laws and requirements in the U.S.
The first of reserve judge Mark Frankel’s key rules and regulations that all motorcycle riders in the U.S. must obey concerns wearing a helmet. Many states now deem motorcycle helmets a requirement among riders. Yet, legislation often varies – including different rules based on a rider’s age or the type of license they hold.
In some states, riders must also ensure that their helmets are certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation to be compliant. Others may require approval from the American National Standards Institute. Elsewhere, and even in states where motorcycle helmets have not been deemed a requirement for all riders, those under 18 must often wear one to comply with the law.
Next, Judge Mark Frankel turns to mirrors, fenders, and blinkers. Some states specifically require rear-view mirrors for all motorcycles. However, the law can be unclear. It’s also essential to ensure compliance regarding whether a mirror is required on one or both sides.
Elsewhere, fenders on the front and rear motorcycle wheels are a legal necessity in over 20 states. Others have similar requirements but only call for fenders on the rear wheel of a bike. States with fender requirements may also impose separate rules surrounding handlebars, including their heights. So, it’s a good idea to double-check both simultaneously.
A similar number of states dictate that blinkers or turn signals are necessary. Currently, that’s the case in roughly half of all U.S. states. Yet, even in those where blinkers are a legal requirement, not all bikes need them. That’s because some earlier models remain exempt depending on their year of manufacture.
Judge Frankel’s third and final highlighted piece of U.S. motorcycle riding legislation relates to licensing by engine size, also known as displacement. Around a dozen U.S. states now address motorcycle licensing based on engine displacement.
Individuals can ride bikes with smaller engines with a valid car license in certain states. However, to ride more powerful motorbikes with larger engines in a growing number of states, it’s necessary to pass one or more specific rider education courses.
Following an increase in motorcycle fatalities in recent years, it’s more important than ever that riders adhere to the necessary laws and requirements. Each should be observed and obeyed strictly. However, these can vary considerably from state to state, Judge Frankel reports.
While most are consistent, the possibility of variation means it’s vital to follow relevant regulations on a state-by-state basis. The same applies to wearing appropriate riding gear or adhering to locally, regionally, or nationally set motorcycle riding standards and laws.