Alabama Motorcycle Laws
Riding a motorcycle in Alabama comes with certain responsibilities. It’s important to know the state’s motorcycle laws and regulations and what they require. However, no matter how responsibly you ride, there will always be careless and negligent drivers on the road who disregard motorcyclists and cause serious injuries throughout our state.
If you are hurt by a careless motorist, don’t talk to the insurance company without speaking with an attorney first. At Serious Injury Law Group, our dedicated motorcycle accident lawyers will work to protect your rights and demand the money you need to cover medical expenses, replace lost income, and compensate you for your pain and suffering. Set up a free consultation with our team now.
Understanding Alabama Motorcycle Safety Laws
Although you can’t control what other people on the road do, you certainly can take precautions to give yourself a fighting chance if ever involved in a motorcycle collision in Alabama. Here are just a few safety laws to remember.
In order to ride a motorcycle on public roadways, you must hold a license, be wearing a helmet, and follow all traffic laws. The bike also must meet all DOT guidelines and requirements for being “street legal.”
Alabama Motorcycle License Requirements
Is a motorcycle license required in Alabama? Yes. Each state decides whether motorcycle riders will require separate licensure or endorsement. In Alabama, an “M” endorsement is required for all riders age 16 and up. However, someone as young as 14 can get a permit to ride a moped or similar low-power motorized scooter.
In order to qualify for a motorcycle endorsement, all riders must take and pass a written test or complete a motorcycle safety course. This is a relatively new requirement, as up until January 2016, there was no such requirement. That all changed with the passage of legislation in 2016 that made Alabama the last state to create such a requirement.
Alabama Motorcycle Helmet Law
Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Alabama? Yes. As a matter of fact, a helmet is required of all motorcycle riders and passengers, regardless of age. Some states – even neighboring Florida – have various age limits on the requirement. However, for Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee, the rule is universal to all riders and passengers, without exception based on age.
Alabama Motorcycle Passenger Laws
There are also Alabama laws for motorcycle passengers and safe operation. For instance, here are just a few:
- Passengers must be old enough to hold on.
- Passengers must be able to reach foot pegs or foot rests.
- Passengers must wear helmets.
Motorcycle Traffic Laws in Alabama
All riders in Alabama must adhere to the same basic traffic rules as any other motorist. This means:
- You must stop at all traffic signs and stop lights.
- You must not lane share (except with other motorcycles).
- You must not exceed the speed limit.
- You must wear an approved helmet.
- Some municipalities and local ordinances restrict exhaust decibels, as well.
Alabama motorcycle laws are sometimes a little confusing. Consider another major point of controversy: so-called “dead red” laws.
If you’ve ever approached a red light with an induction sensor, you might recall that the light just didn’t want to change. This is because these sensors often fail to identify the motorcycle, and thus they don’t “trip.” This can leave traffic backed up for a long time.
Currently, about 16 states around the country have passed laws that allow motorcyclists to legally run a red light after waiting a reasonable period of time (which varies from state to state). However, Alabama is not one of these states.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
There are a number of major causes of motorcycle accidents in Alabama. These are just a few.
- Failure to see motorcyclists – Drivers can become inattentive and almost “blind” to two-wheel vehicles, leading drivers to pull out into the path of motorcycles.
- Motor vehicles turning left into the path of a motorcycle – Intersections are particularly dangerous for riders. Oncoming traffic may fail to acknowledge the rider’s right to turn left.
- Speeding – Like any crash, speeding is always a big risk factor because it increases the stopping time, especially for large vehicles like trucks.
- Vehicle changes lanes into a motorcycle – Blind spots and distractions can lead drivers to merge into a motorcycle without even noticing them. When people complain about loud exhaust pipes, they need to remember that this is one of the ways motorists can be made aware of the bikers around them.
- Impaired driving – Drunk or drug-impaired drivers are one of the biggest threats to safety on the road. A drunk driver may lack judgment and reaction time, leading to deadly motorcycle accidents.
- Text & Driving – The use of handheld devices to talk, text, or surf the Internet while driving can all lead to driver distraction. Distracted driving remains a leading cause of auto accidents in the country.
- Tailgating – What would otherwise be a minor fender bender without injuries between two vehicles can quickly become a serious crash when it involves a motorcyclist. When a car strikes a motorcycle from behind, crush injuries, amputations, and fatalities are not uncommon.
- Car opens the door into the path of a motorcycle – When drivers are parking, they need to look before swinging doors open into traffic, as this can cause a dangerous obstacle for motorcyclists.
- Sudden stops – The rear driver is not always to blame for the crash. Sometimes a driver will stop suddenly for no apparent reason. A motorcycle doesn’t stop the same way as a car. This can lead to serious injuries.
- Poor road conditions or dangerous surfaces – Loose gravel, spilled sand, and other materials can also lead to injury crashes.
- Taking a corner too fast – Sometimes rider inexperience can be a problem. If a rider tries to take a turn too fast for his or her bike or experience level, it can lead to a wipe-out crash.
- Inclement weather – Bad weather can sneak up on you fast. Always prepare by packing rain gear.
Contact Our Alabama Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
Our motorcycle accident lawyers are true Alabama natives who care deeply about the communities we serve. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, and Hayneville, we do our best to make sure every client has easy access to exceptional legal representation near them.
Our attorneys have spent years carefully building tested and proven methods of helping people seek maximum compensation in motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle crashes. If you’ve suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash in Alabama, contact Serious Injury Law Group today for a completely free initial meeting with one of our skilled attorneys.