After a long and dreary winter, motorcyclists are eager to get out on the open road. There is something to be said for the sense of freedom and independence that comes with taking the bike out for a spin in the fresh spring air, to be sure. However, along with that free spirited ride comes serious risks as well. Motorcycle crashes, both single-vehicle crashes as well as those involving vehicles in addition to the motorcycle, claim the lives of scores of motorcyclists every year. Tragically, a biker was killed in New Franklin Township recently and became yet another statistic. In the accident, according to the police reports, the motorcycle operator swerved to avoid hitting another vehicle and, in doing so, lost control of his bike and struck a guardrail when he went off the side of the road. He was thrown from his bike and died after being transported to a local hospital. Police records also noted that the cyclist was not wearing a helmet and did not have a motorcycle endorsement at the time of the accident.
Motorcycle Endorsement – What Does This Mean?
Riding a motorcycle can be as dangerous or as safe as a motorcyclist makes it. In Ohio, motorcyclists start out the licensing process by obtaining a temporary permit, which is valid for one year. To obtain this permit, the applicant must pass a written exam administered by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ licensing office. The next step would be to obtain a motorcycle license or endorsement – a license allows a driver to operate a motorcycle only, while an endorsement is an add-on to a regular driver’s license that allows the driver to operate a motorcycle as well as other vehicles.
To obtain a motorcycle endorsement, a driver is required to already have a valid driver’s license. Another requirement to obtain this endorsement is to pass a skills test. The skills test itself has specific requirements, all of which must be met in order to successfully take the skills test. These requirements include presenting a valid temporary motorcycle permit, a valid Ohio driver’s license, and proper safety equipment including a helmet and eye protection. Lastly, the applicant must also have a motorcycle in safe operating condition that meets specific seat, handlebar/grip, and safety equipment requirements.
Another component of the licensing and endorsement process is the road skills test, which includes successfully performing various driving maneuvers to demonstrate that you can operate a motorcycle safely. Some of these skills are the same as one would be tested for when driving a regular vehicle, and some of the skills are specific to the challenges of driving a motorcycle. Skills include:
- Controlling your vehicle;
- Handling both regular and hazardous traffic scenarios;
- Knowing your vehicle;
- Safely adjusting your speed, braking, and turning your vehicle; and
- Safely stopping and avoiding obstacles.
Because driving a motorcycle is so much different than driving a car or other type of four-wheeled vehicle, and often requires much faster decision making and quick reflexes to respond to traffic situations, ensuring that you have these skills firmly in place before driving your motorcycle on busy public roads and highways goes a long way in keeping not only you but other drivers safe.
Wearing the Proper Gear
Section 4511.53 of the Ohio Revised Code sets forth specific requirements for motorcyclists regarding the types of gear that must be worn and the types of activities that can and cannot be engaged in while driving a motorcycle. Some of these safety requirements include that of sitting on a proper seat, in the proper fashion, while riding a motorcycle either as a driver or a passenger, and having handlebars or grips no higher than 15 inches above the driver’s seat. Additionally, protective eye gear must be worn when riding on a motorcycle either as a driver or passenger unless they are in an enclosed compartment of some type. The law also prohibits motorcyclists from carrying more people on their motorcycle than it was made to carry. Lastly, protective helmets are a requirement for riders who are under 18 years old, or who are still designated as a “novice,” according to section 4507.13 of the Revised Code, which is in place for the first year a motorcyclist holds his or her motorcycle license or endorsement.
Bike Equipment – Requirements and Restrictions
In addition to the requirements that pertain to the motorcyclist and his or her safety gear, there are also requirements for the motorcycle itself. According to a website offering biker tips and guidance for motorcyclists throughout the country, the bike itself must have one mirror, a muffler, and turn signals if it was manufactured since 1968. There are no restrictions as far as helmet speakers, but there may be specific noise restrictions adopted by individual Ohio townships or counties. As with the laws and regulations specific to drivers and their activities, these motorcycle requirements and restrictions are also geared towards the safety of both motorcycle drivers and passengers as well as the rest of the people with whom they share the road.
Contact the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers If You Have Been Involved In An Accident
When accidents happen, you want to be able to find the right attorney to help you recover for your losses; the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers is the first place to turn. Our attorneys handle personal injury cases of all types and have the experience you can count on to help you get the results you want. Each case is unique and requires personalized attention and, when you meet with your attorney, you will learn about your rights and responsibilities under the law, how you can expect your case to progress through the legal system, and what you may reasonably expect to happen as a result of taking your case to court. We will confidently and competently fight to get you the results you deserve. Contact us now to speak with one of our caring and compassionate Ohio auto accident professionals schedule your free consultation today.