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New York State Motorcycle Laws & Requirements

New York State Motorcycle Helmet Laws:

While driving any vehicle poses a risk for each driver, motorcyclists are at higher risk for injury and death since there are no airbags, seatbelts, or metal cages keeping the driver safe, like a car or truck. Because of this added danger, wearing the proper attire is important. In many states, New York State included, motorcycle helmets are required for the driver and passengers. Not only is it in your best interest to wear a helmet, it is also the law. Motorcycle helmets can differ. To ensure you have the right helmet, make sure to buy it from a reputable seller. The helmet should verify that it is certified by the Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. While there are many different styles of helmets, a full-face motorcycle helmet offers the most protection to the motorist. Full-face helmets also offer adequate eye protection which is required for driving a motorcycle in New York State, even if your bike has a windshield. 

New York State Motorcycle Licensing Requirements:

Much like driving a car in New York State, driving a motorcycle requires a license from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You must have a class M or MJ driver's license to operate a motorcycle. Before you can acquire a motorcycle license, you must first get a learner’s permit. 

Steps to Obtaining a Motorcycle License in New York State: 

  1. Apply for your learner’s permit through the DMV and pass the written exam. Once you pass the exam, you will be given your learner’s permit, allowing you to practice with a licensed motorcycle driver who is at least 21 years of age.

  2. Practice for your motorcycle road test - it is recommended by the DMV that you have at least 30 hours of practice on your motorcycle and at least 10 hours of practice in medium to heavy traffic before taking the test. It is also recommended that you take a motorcycle safety course

  3. Schedule a time to take your motorcycle road test through the DMV. 

  4. When you pass your motorcycle road test, you will be granted a motorcycle license that is valid for 8 years. If you already hold another New York State driver's license, you should receive your motorcycle license within 2 weeks of passing the road test. If this is your first New York State driver’s license, there will be more paperwork to fill out and the DMV will award you a temporary ID while you wait for your permanent license in the mail. 

No-Fault Insurance Law in New York State: 

All vehicles on the road are required by law to carry valid and up-to-date insurance. Insured cars and trucks involved in an accident in New York State, are covered by no-fault insurance. This means, in most cases, that your insurance company will cover your medical bills and lost wages up to $50,000, regardless of who caused the accident. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are not covered by the no-fault law in New York State. 

One of the only ways for a motorcyclist to get reimbursed for medical bills and lost wages is to bring a lawsuit against the party who caused their injuries (the “wrongdoer”). The motorcyclist’s attorney would sue the wrongdoer in an attempt to gain compensation for the injury. This can take as little as a few weeks to as long as a few years to settle in court, leaving the motorcyclist to pay for their medical bills out of pocket while waiting for the wrongdoer’s insurance company to reimburse them. 

Whether you are a seasoned motorcycle driver or just earned your motorcycle license, it is important to make safe driving a top priority. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in New York State, contact us today for a free consultation.