Ohio Motorcycle Laws You Need to Know

Riding a motorcycle can be very dangerous, but you can lessen your chance of being involved in an accident by knowing and following these Ohio motorcycle laws.

Do these laws apply to you?

To answer that question, we first need to determine what type of vehicle you have. If you drive any type of motor vehicle that has a seat or saddle for the operator, has no more than three wheels on the ground, and is not a tractor, you are likely riding a motorcycle and the following laws apply to you.

These laws may also apply to scooters and electric bicycles.

Rules of the Road for Motorcycles

Motorcycle riders in Ohio must follow the rules of the road, just like any other driver. You have the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers. This means you must obey the same traffic signals, speed limits, and other rules.

You are entitled to the same full lane width as drivers of other vehicles. If it is not legal to do something while driving an automobile, it is not legal to do it when riding a motorcycle. In addition to the regular rules of the road, you must also comply with some laws that apply only to motorcycles.

Registration and titling

ORC § 4503.10

requires that all motorcycles have proper registrations and titles just as a typical motor vehicle must. You must have proof of legal ownership and complete all required registration forms. You must also be current in the payment of all registration and transfer fees.

How loud can my motorcycle be?

The level of motorcycle vehicle noise Ohio law allows depends on how fast your motorcycle is traveling.

If your motorcycle is traveling at 35 miles per hour or less, the maximum noise limit is 82 decibels.

When your motorcycle is traveling at speeds over 35 miles per hour, the maximum noise limit is 86 decibels.

What vehicle equipment do I need?

To safely and legally operate your motorcycle in Ohio, you need to equip your bike with the following:

  • At least one, but no more than two functioning headlights
  • A rearview mirror
  • At least one “adequate brake.” It may be either a hand-controlled brake or a foot brake
  • Brake lights and turn signals

There are two other things to be aware of regarding motorcycle equipment.  If your motorcycle does not have a compliant windscreen, you must wear eye protection (e.g., goggles, face shield, safety glass spectacles).

Note: If your motorcycle is an off-highway motorcycle, Ohio law has different equipment requirements for your vehicle than for a street motorcycle.

Do I have to wear a helmet?

Riders under 18, passengers, and new riders must wear a helmet. When the law requires helmets, they must be DOT-compliant.

Note: All riders should wear a helmet at all times regardless of whether the law requires it. While Ohio law does not require it, you should also always wear motorcycle safety gear, such as a leather jacket and boots, to protect yourself from road rash.

Can I wear earplugs?

No. You cannot wear earplugs or earphones when riding a motorcycle; however, this does not apply to helmets that have built in speakers.   

What insurance do I need?

As with any motor vehicle in the State of Ohio, you must maintain liability insurance to protect others in case you cause an accident. Ohio law requires all riders to have:

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

You must have a separate insurance policy for your motorcycle. Your car insurance will not cover your motorcycle.

Do I need a special motorcycle license?

Everyone who operates a motorcycle in Ohio is required to have a current driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement. Getting this license in Ohio is a multi-step process.

Can I split lanes?

Ohio law does not allow or disallow lane splitting; however, it can be a dangerous practice and, if you are involved in an accident, can lead to you taking some or all of the blame for an accident.

What does Ohio law consider riding under the influence for a motorcycle?

Ohio law

holds motorcycle riders to the same rules on driving under the influence as any other driver.

Ohio law prohibits driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any combination thereof. An officer will consider any driver he or she finds with a BAC of 0.08% or higher under the influence. The legal limit is lower for motorcycle riders who are under the age of 21.

Where can I get help after an accident?

The team at Bressman Law knows that even riders who follow all the rules of the road can be involved in accidents. If you or a loved one suffered injury in an accident caused by a negligent driver, call our Columbus motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss your case today.

We offer free consultations and work on a contingency basis which means that you do not pay us until we win your case for you.

Do not let a negligent or reckless driver ruin your life; give us a call today to discuss your legal options: 877-538-1116.