Motorcycles are more commonplace than ever nowadays, and motorcycle riders are statistically more prone to accidents than other vehicles by some margin.
Motorcycle crashes are some of the most devastating and dangerous accidents that happen on a regular basis.
There are certain motorcycle safety laws in place across the country to keep riders safe and accountable for their actions, and so that they ride properly according to local and state law.
In this blog, we discuss the Alabama motorcycle safety laws, how motorcycle riders can operate their vehicles lawfully, what requirements are in place in terms of helmet law and other accessory laws, and more.
Alabama Motorcycle Safety Laws: A Step-by-Step Breakdown of State Law on Motorcycles
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) outlines the state’s motorcycle laws in a manual released every year. In this section, we’ll break down the main points of Alabama motorcycle laws so that readers are aware of how to legally own and operate a motorcycle in the state.
In order to legally own and operate a motorcycle in Alabama, drivers must do the following:
- Be at least 16-years-old (or 14-years-old for a restricted-use license).
- Obtain an Alabama motorcycle license endorsement through either a motorcycle safety course or an Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS) knowledge test.
- Register your vehicle with the State of Alabama.
- Secure an insurance policy that adequately covers your vehicle.
Obtaining a Motorcycle License in Alabama
In Alabama, there are two types of vehicles that require a Class-M license:
- Motorcycle is defined as a motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding a tractor.
- Motor-Driven Cycle is defined as every motorcycle, including every motor scooter, with a motor which produces not to exceed five brake horse-power nor to exceed 150 cubic centimeter engine displacement and weighs less than 200 pounds fully equipped, and every bicycle with motor attached.
There are a number of rules pertaining to the age of licensed motorcycle riders and who may own and operate a motorcycle. People ages 16 years and older who have been issued a Class M Driver’s License may operate either a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle. A person who is at least 14-years-old can apply for a restricted driver’s license to operate a motor-driven cycle, such as a moped, only.
State law dictates that every driver in the State of Alabama have his or her driver license in possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle and shall display the license upon the demand of a judge of any court, a peace officer, or a state trooper.
Completing an Alabama Motorcycle Safety Course or Department of Public Safety Test
Alabama motorcycle laws indicate that in order to receive a Class M driver’s license, a rider must receive an “endorsement”, either from an accredited motorcycle safety course or from the Department of Public Safety’s motorcycle knowledge exam.
Taking a safety course is not required by Alabama law, but it is highly encouraged for new riders to complete a safety course so they know the best practices for owning and operating a motorcycle on the road.
Is There a Motorcycle Helmet Law in Alabama?
Alabama has a universal helmet law: riders must wear helmets when operating their vehicle. Only 19 states have a universal helmet law, and Alabama is one of them.
The ALEA Manual states:
“No person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle unless wearing approved protective headgear (helmet).”
Though some people are opposed to the helmet law, helmets and protective headgear keep riders safe. Most motorcycle accidents happen at no fault of the operator, and even minor accidents can cause serious brain injuries for riders. We encourage motorcyclists to wear helmets and other protective headgear and equipment to keep themselves safer.
Is Lane Splitting Legal in Alabama?
Lane splitting is not legal or permitted in the State of Alabama. Alabama motorcycle laws outline the following in regard to lane splitting:
“No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between rows of vehicles”
Further mentioned is the concept of overtaking other drivers in the same lane:
“The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.”
Lane sharing, however, is legal but is only permitted that two motorcycles ride side-by-side. Alabama motorcycle laws state the following in regard to lane sharing:
“All motorcycles are entitled to full use of traffic lanes, and no motor vehicles shall be driven in such a manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of a lane. However, this section shall not apply to motorcycles operated two abreast in a single lane.” and “Motorcycles shall not be operated more than two motorcycles in a single lane.”
Other Motorcycle Laws Mentioned by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA)
Motorcyclists in Alabama must follow all rules of the road that pertain to other drivers and vehicles, but must also adhere to some motorcycle specific laws.
These rules are listed below:
- Cyclists shall ride only upon the permanent and regular seat and shall not carry any other person unless the cycle is designed and equipped with foot pegs to carry more than one person.
- Cyclists shall not operate a motorcycle while carrying any package, bundle or other article which prevents the cyclist from keeping both hands on the handlebars.
- No person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle without wearing shoes. Motorcyclists and passengers must wear shoes when operating their vehicle.
- No person shall operate any motorcycle with handlebars more than fifteen (15) inches in height above the portion of the seat occupied by the operator.
- No person riding upon a motorcycle shall attach himself or the motorcycle to any other vehicle on a roadway.
- All motorcycles are entitled to full use of traffic lanes, and no motor vehicles shall be driven in such a manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of a lane. However, this section shall not apply to motorcycles operated two abreast in a single lane.
Select an Insurance Policy that Covers Your Motorcycle
Motorcycles have a lot of the same requirements as other motor vehicles on the road in terms of insurance coverage and registration.
Alabama law requires adequate liability insurance coverage for motorcycle riders include the following:
- $25,000 for bodily injury liability
- $50,000 for bodily injury liability for more than one person
- $25,000 for property damage liability
These are only the minimum requirements for liability insurance coverage. If the damages resulting from an accident at the fault of a motorcyclist exceed these dollar amounts, they could be liable to pay the remaining balance out-of-pocket.
Bodewell Law: Your Motorcycle Accident Law Firm
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident at no fault of your own, you might qualify for a personal injury lawsuit.
Our law firm has decades of experiencing representing injured motorcyclists and people injured at no fault of their own in a number of situations.
We understand the hardships of being in an accident and recovering from injuries on top of the mental and financial toll these accidents generally incur.
Contact us for a free case evaluation or use the chatbot on our website to see if you qualify for legal action instantly.