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Arkansas Motorcycle Laws: All You Need to Know in 2021

Arkansas Motorcycle Laws: All You Need to Know in 2021

Arkansas Motorcycle Laws: All You Need to Know in 2021

If you are a motorcyclist living in Arkansas or someone planning a motorcycle road trip to Arkansas, it may be a good idea to brush up on your knowledge of the motorcycle laws specific to the state. Because rules of the road such as traffic lights, speed limits, and stop signs have become universal throughout the United States, it is sometimes easy to forget that these laws do not remain the same forever. Keeping up with the changes made to the motorcycle laws will help you better navigate the road and ensure your safety.

Even if you are confident in your riding skills, remember that motorcyclists have to be extra careful when on the road. Without a reinforced exterior like cars and trucks have, you are more susceptible to injury due to your body being exposed. One careless mistake may end with you thrown from your bike and sent to an emergency room. Plus, if you accidentally break a traffic law, you may end up getting pulled over by the police. Claiming that you had no idea about the rule and just made a mistake is not an acceptable excuse to an officer of the law. You could avoid unpleasant situations if the information about the motorcycle laws is already available in your head.

This article will focus on Arkansas motorcycle laws as of 2021. You will review regulations that talk about the items you will need while riding such as your helmet, license, and safety features. You will also learn how you should behave when you are cruising so as to show courtesy to other drivers. By the end, you should have finished a refresher course that will make it easier to traverse across the state of Arkansas.

1. Helmet Laws In Arkansas:

It is recommended you wear a helmet at all times when you are on a ride. While body protection may seem useless if you crash at high speed, a helmet will keep your skull intact against most impacts. There are two types of motorcycle helmets that are approved by the DOT or the Department for Transportation. An open-face helmet has an opening at the front which exposes your face from the forehead to the chin. A full-face helmet covers your entire head with a small opening for your eyes. It includes a plastic or glass visor that can be flipped down to protect the exposed area. Both helmets allow you to keep your head from harm while giving you full peripheral vision so that you are aware of your surroundings.

Even though it is safer to have a helmet on, motorcyclists who are 21-years old or older are not legally required to wear one in Arkansas. On the other hand, motorcyclists who are 16 to 20-years old are legally required to wear a helmet when riding. Both groups also need to be able to protect their faces with safety glasses, goggles, or face shields if their helmet does not have a visor. This rule applies to both riders and passengers as well.

2. License Laws in Arkansas:

There are two types of licenses that are commissioned for motorcyclists living in Arkansas. The first is a Class MD license which is intended for riders who are 14 to 16-years old. This allows them to operate only motor-driven cycles or motor-driven bicycles. These vehicles are only capable of covering 50 to 250 cubic centimeters. The second is a Class M license which is intended for riders who are 16-years old or older. This gives them the freedom to operate motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, or any vehicles who function similarly. If you suffer from a physical disability that would make it slightly more challenging to ride a motorcycle, restriction codes will be printed on your license. Based on your condition, each code will have a specific accommodation which can be identified by officials. Here are a few examples below:

  • With Licensed Adult
  • Corrective Lens
  • Mechanical Aid
  • Prosthetic Aid
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Outside Mirror
  • Daylight Driving Only
  • Other

Before you can get your license, you will need to pass both a written and practical exam. To be fully qualified to operate a motorcycle, you would need to provide proof of completing the learning courses or having previous experience practicing how to use a motorcycle-like vehicle. You would also need to submit any titles and registrations when filling out relevant documents related to your license. An example of a relevant document is your motorcycle insurance policy. In the event of injury to yourself or damage to your vehicle, you will need insurance to cover the necessary costs. When you complete all of these tasks, your certifications will be issued by the Arkansas police. After that, you should be ready to go.

3. Noise Restriction Laws in Arkansas:

Motorcycles are outfitted with a muffler to minimize the roar of the engine whenever a rider pulls the throttle. Depending on the area and the time of day, the loud sounds coming from your engine may be an inconvenience to the people around you. In Arkansas, it is required that your motorcycle be installed with a factory-made muffler or one of similar quality. It has to be able to keep engine noises to an acceptable volume and prevent excess smoke from pouring out. It is illegal to tamper, modify, or apply cutoffs to the exhaust region of your motorcycle as it could reduce the muffler’s effectiveness.

4. Passenger Laws in Arkansas:

If you ever transport a passenger, you need to make sure your motorcycle has a passenger seat and footholds installed so that he or she can stay secure while in motion. A passenger is not allowed to hold onto you for support. You also cannot carry more than one passenger at a time as there would not be enough space to seat another person and your vehicle’s balance would be thrown off due to the extra weight.

It is illegal to carry a passenger who is younger than 8-years old. Around this age range, children usually are not tall enough to reach the footholds nor are they heavy enough to stay seated during sharp turns or acceleration. Any riders who are younger than 16-years old are not allowed to transport a passenger.

5. Lane Splitting Laws in Arkansas:

If you find yourself surrounded by slow moving traffic, you might be tempted to navigate between the lanes to get ahead of the other vehicles heading the same way as you. Lane splitting can be dangerous because of the tight space left to maneuver between the rows of vehicles. Due to the vehicles being packed together, you will need to keep an eye out for any cars suddenly changing lanes or picking up speed. Other drivers may not be able to see you with their rearview mirrors so you need to be ready to react at a moment’s notice.

In Arkansas, there are no laws that prohibit you from doing lane splitting. While it is recommended you refrain from lane splitting, you can attempt to if you are fully aware of your general area and can maneuver without impeding other drivers. Take it easy on the throttle; proceed at a slow pace so you can brake in time if necessary while still overtaking the vehicles in front of you. However, keep in mind that you are still liable to being pulled over by the police if your riding seems like it may be endangering or antagonizing the other drivers.

6. Motorcycle Safety Features in Arkansas:

Like any other vehicle, your motorcycle needs to be visible to everyone around you regardless of the time of day. At minimum, your motorcycle should have a headlight, a brake light, a set of turn signals, a rear reflector, and a set of rearview mirrors. Whether it is morning or evening, you are required to have your headlight on at all times.

There are two types of headlights that can be installed on a motorcycle. You are required to have daytime headlights as the bulb shoots out a bright, continuous beam. It is strong enough to signal incoming traffic of your presence even against the glare of the sun. Modulating headlights are an alternative option that have a pulsating bulb which changes in intensity. These are optional as the flashing is meant to catch the attention of oncoming traffic, but alternating between low and high light is becoming obsolete.

Even though turn signals are reliable means to tell other vehicles behind you when you are shifting lanes, they are not required by law in Arkansas. If you plan to go without turn signals, you will need to know how to use hand signals to communicate with other drivers.

7. Riding Etiquette in Arkansas:

While not all behavior involved with how you ride your motorcycle will be enforced by the law, there are certain practices you should make a habit of to promote a respectful attitude when it comes to sharing the road.

As mentioned before, if you do not have turn signals, be sure to know your hand signals so you can give other drivers fair warning of the direction you are heading. In situations where there is low visibility such as fog or dim light, your hands may be able to clearly convey a message when your rear lights cannot.

Since your motorcycle is capable of making tighter turns and can slip between vehicles with little room available, you need to put a sizable buffer between yourself and any drivers in front of you. If you are tailgating, you may end up colliding into the back of another vehicle if it stops without warning. If you want to pass someone in front of you, make sure he or she can see you first. Make sure you are visible in the other person’s rearview mirrors before you arrive at his or her blind spot. Be sure to show acknowledgement by giving a wave. Besides confirming that you have been seen, you show appreciation for the other driver’s attentiveness

Before you go out for a ride, you should regularly look over your motorcycle to see if there is anything faulty. The sections you should pay attention to include tires and wheels, controls, lights and electrics, oil and fluids, chassis, and kickstand. This can be remembered by using the acronym T-CLOCK. If you find any issues, you should correct them at home or take your motorcycle into a repair shop to be seen by professionals. Before you go on an extended trip, make sure that your fuel tank is adequately filled. While you are riding, if you detect any signs of mechanical failure, begin to make your way off the road. Turn on your hazard lights and keep signaling as you make your way to the side so other drivers can get out of the way. Make sure your motorcycle is safely out of the way of incoming traffic before you inspect your ride or call for assistance.

8. Takeaways:

If you are a resident of Arkansas, what you just read may have been familiar information you vaguely recall with a few tweaks made regarding the application of these laws. If you are an out-of-state traveler, you have a better idea of what equipment you need to bring with you to an area of the United States you have never visited before. Motorcycle laws between states may vary in the severity of their restrictions, but they all exist for the same reason. Allowing you to enjoy the pleasures that come with racing down the streets, highways, and roads of Arkansas while setting limits on what a motorcyclist can do to prevent people from accidentally hurting themselves or each other. 

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