Connecticut Motorcycle Laws

Mar 11th, 2024 | Personal Injury

If you want to take up motorcycling in Connecticut, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the state’s motorcycle laws. Like motor vehicle drivers, motorcyclists are subject to several rules and requirements to share the road safely. Failure to follow these laws can result in penalties, the New Haven personal injury lawyers share what you need to know about Connecticut’s specific requirements.

Are Motorcyclists Required to be Licensed in Connecticut?

To legally operate a motorcycle in Connecticut, you must obtain a motorcycle (“M”) endorsement on your standard driver’s license or a motorcycle learner’s permit. This process involves passing a motorcycle knowledge test, a vision test, and a novice motorcycle safety course.

In addition to licensing requirements, motorcyclists are also required to carry liability insurance. This coverage must provide at least:

  • $25,000 per person in bodily injury insurance
  • $50,000 per accident in bodily injury insurance
  • $25,000 per accident in property damage liability

What Equipment Are Motorcyclists Required to Have?

To reduce the risk of accidents, all motorcycles must be equipped with safety equipment designed to improve visibility and communication with other road users. This equipment includes:

  • A taillight
  • A brake light
  • At least one headlight
  • Front and rear brakes
  • Turn signals
  • A horn
  • Two mirrors

Do Connecticut Motorcyclists Need Head and Eye Protection?

Section 14-289 of Connecticut’s Vehicle Highway Use law requires all motorcycle operators and passengers under the age of 18 to wear approved safety helmets. Additionally, all operators who hold a motorcycle learner’s permit—not a license—are required to wear a helmet. This rule stands regardless of the rider’s age. Motorcyclists must also use eye protection, such as goggles or a face shield, unless the bike has a built-in windshield.

Is Lane-Splitting Legal in Connecticut?

Lane splitting is a common, albeit dangerous, practice where motorcyclists ride between vehicles traveling in adjacent lanes. This maneuver is designed to help motorcyclists bypass traffic, but it also puts riders at risk of accidents involving cars changing lanes or making other sudden moves.

According to Section 14-289b of Connecticut’s traffic laws, motorcyclists are entitled to the full use of a lane, but they cannot ride side-by-side with a passenger car or more than one motorcycle in a single lane. Additionally, overtaking and passing in the same lane occupied by a motor vehicle is not allowed, nor is riding on the line between two lanes of traffic.

Who Is Liable for a Motorcycle Accident?

In the event of a motorcycle accident in Connecticut, the state’s fault-based insurance system assigns liability to the party who caused the collision. This means that the at-fault driver must pay for any damages that occurred in the accident, such as medical expenses and property repairs.

Whether you’re a seasoned rider or new to the motorcycle community, adhering to these laws not only helps you avoid potential penalties but may also reduce the risk of accidents. If you are injured in a collision, however, you have the right to hold the at-fault driver accountable.

In these situations, a Connecticut motorcycle accident lawyer can help you seek justice. After seeking medical care for your injuries, schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss your accident and learn more about your legal options.