One of the first things you do in January is set up your new calendar or date book for all 2010 important dates and conferences that are part of your life every year. One major addition to your yearly calendar should be meeting dates and conventions of some associations that fight for motorcycle rights. If you ride much and don’t keep up with ever changing motorcycle laws, you could be in for some rude awakenings.
Remember when HOV (High Occupancy Vehicles) lanes started being put in place in larger cities? We all know they’re meant to speed up your commute if two or more are occupying a vehicle. When they were first installed here in Dallas, the signs said NO TRUCKS, TRAILERS or MOTORCYCLES.
However when you look at it understanding all contributing factors,
- If there is one rider, the motorcycle is 50% occupied
- Two riders equals 100% occupancy (making it a high occupancy vehicles)
- Many motorcycles have air cooled engines that will burn up in bumper to bumper traffic
- Motorcycles are small enough to not cause a traffic jam if it breaks down on an HOV lane
Where’s the sound logic to keep motorcycles off HOV lanes? Of course legislators finally saw the light once presented by several motorcycle activists groups.
I actually heard of one stupid Senator that tried to put a bill through for motorcyclists to be required to wear seat belts. What dim-witted, knuckle head could even spend time to put those kinds of words on paper? Clearly someone that never rode and never knew anyone that actually rode motorcycles. Anyone that knows anything about riding understands that if you’re going down, the first thing you want to do is kick away from the bike. If you get hung up with the bike, your injuries will be compounded in multiple ways. Sometimes you feel like setting up an actual ‘show & tell’ scenario for someone like that and let them see first-hand just how their hair-brained-methane-producing idea would work in the real world.
However, what really happened is several motorcyclists had to take off work from their jobs, to fight that kind of idiotic legislation.
Also, if you’re more than just a bar-hopping rider, and like to tour through different states, you need to keep abreast of which motorcycle laws differ from state to state. Some examples are:
- Both hands required – some states require both hands to be on handlebars at all times unles
- Eye protection – some states do not require it and some states require glasses or helmet visor
- Handlebar height – (Ape Hangers) some require specific measurements, others require no higher than shoulders, ears, eye level, etc.
- Noise limitations – some states measure sound decibels, others require certain mufflers
- Helmet requirements – helmets, no helmets, certain qualifications on type s of helmets, etc
- Both hands required – some states require both hands to be on handlebars at all times unless you own an older bike that didn’t come with turn signals. You can signal and that’s all so if you pass a police car and they waive at you, don’t waive back; they’re not trying to be friendly.
One of the easiest ways to find out is go to the American Motorcyclist Association site. This site is laid out using the same template for each state so you can skip from one state to another and go straight to the exact issue you want to address quickly. Happy navigating!