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Motorcycle Laws & Licensing for Louisiana, United States

Motorcycle Laws & Licensing for Louisiana, United States

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

For most motorcyclists, their immediate concerns are getting to a destination as quickly as possible, keeping an eye on the road for hazards, and enjoying the riding experience. But to get to that point, you would first have to learn how to operate a motorcycle. This journey would involve getting comfortable with the controls, becoming familiar with the rules of the road, and practicing how to ride in a safe manner. Depending on where you ride your motorcycle in the United States, there may be other restrictions and regulations to keep in mind.

This article will provide both residents of Louisiana and out-of-state tourists the necessary information they need to know about this state’s motorcycle laws and licensing process.

2. Louisiana Motorcycle Insurance

In anticipation of any motorcycle accidents where you are directly involved, you are required to own Louisiana motorcycle insurance upon finishishing registration of your vehicle. You will need it to help reduce the financial burden of paying for damages and medical expenses and show that you can be held liable in the event of a motorcycle accident. It is best to always carry proof of ownership as you will face repercussions if you cannot show you have Louisiana motorcycle insurance to local law enforcement when requested.

Your Louisiana liability insurance coverage must be able to cover the minimum costs for the following accident-related fees:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury to a person per accident
  • $30,000 for bodily injuries to multiple people per accident
  • $25,000 for property damages sustained per accident

The required Louisiana liability insurance coverage is intended for other affected parties. It provides compensation for medical bills or loss of property related to an accident. To obtain protection for your health and property, you would have to acquire optional forms of insurance coverage. It does not hurt to have additional financial aid if certain circumstances occur during an accident:

  • Collision coverage
  • Uninsured coverage
  • Underinsured coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Medical payments coverage
  • Towing and labor coverage

3. Louisiana Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Louisiana is a state with a universal motorcycle helmet policy which declares that all motorcyclists regardless of age are required to wear protective headgear whenever they ride a motorcycle.

Because it is mandatory to have a motorcycle helmet on, the number of fatalities due to motorcycle accidents in Louisiana is not as high compared to other states. While they cannot provide complete protection, they have been instrumental in preventing severe or fatal injuries to the head or neck. Statistics in recent years have shown how they have been beneficial to motorcyclists n Louisiana:

  • In 2019, only 81 motorcyclists out of more than 1,100 were killed in collisions
  • In 2019, 85% of those involved in accidents were wearing motorcycle helmets
  • Over the last five years, the rate of motorcycle fatalities decreased by 16% and the rate of motorcycle injuries decreased by 25%

If you are looking for an approved motorcycle helmet, you should look for either a three-quarter or a full-face helmet. Both of these are made by the Snell Memorial Foundation and follow the safety parameters provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Listed in this table below are the features that your motorcycle helmet is required to have if you wish to operate a motorcycle in Louisiana:

Louisiana Motorcycle Helmet Laws

4. Louisiana Motorcycle License Laws

4.1 Louisiana Motorcycle Instruction Permit

You can begin applying for a Louisiana motorcycle instruction permit if you are at least the age of 15 or older.

You will have to pay a fee of $12 if you wish to be issued an official Louisiana motorcycle instruction permit.

Listed below are the requirements you will need to fulfill to obtain a Louisiana instruction permit. Depending on your age when you approach the final step, the list of criteria may differ between motorcyclists:

Louisiana Motorcycle Instruction Permit

*It is not required for applicants that are 18 years old or older to acquire an intermediate license nor enroll in a motorcycle safety course. Applicants can benefit from additional education and practice, but only if they wish to spend more time prepping before taking the Louisiana motorcycle license test.

4.2 Louisiana Motorcycle Endorsement

You can begin applying for your Louisiana motorcycle endorsement upon reaching at least the age of 17 and having held onto the Louisiana motorcycle instruction permit for the required period of time.

You will have to pay a fee of $12 to finish having the endorsement added to your current Louisiana driver’s license.

Listed below are the requirements you will need to fulfill to obtain a Louisiana motorcycle endorsement. Depending on your age when you approach the final step, the list of criteria may differ between motorcyclists:

Louisiana Motorcycle Endorsement

*If applicants that are 18 years old or older submit proof of completion for a motorcycle safety course, they have the option of waiving the skill test of the Louisiana motorcycle license test.

4.3 Louisiana Motorcycle License Test

Written Portion:

  • Will be completed on touch-screen computers
  • Complete 25 multiple-choice questions
  • Questions will be based on content from Louisiana Motorcycle Operator Manual
  • Requires a passing grade of 80% or higher

Riding Portion:

  • Will be conducted in an actual traffic environment or a controlled, off-street area
  • Your motorcycle will be subjected to a pre-ride inspection to ensure it meets safety standards
  • Demonstrate basic understanding of motorcycle operation
  • You will be tested on your ability to stay within the speed limit, adjusting speed and position, maintaining visibility, operating under stress, accelerating, braking, turning, stopping, and swerving
  • The examiner will grade you based on how well you ride at safe speeds, stay within the lanes, and demonstrate riding maneuvers

5. Louisiana Motorcycle Passenger Laws

You are not allowed to carry any children under the age of five on your motorcycle. You are also not allowed to carry passengers if your motorcycle is not outfitted with equipment meant to transport an additional person.

To ensure safe and secure seating for your motorcycle passenger, your vehicle must have installed hand straps, footrests, and a permanent passenger seat. The passenger seat can either be positioned:

  • At the back of a large driver’s seat
  • Towards the rear with a separate saddle
  • Fixed to the side as a sidecar

Any young children over the age of five can only ride with you if they can plant their feet flat against the footrests and have an appropriate protective headgear on at all times. For everyone else, they must be able to meet the following criteria to be qualified to ride with you:

  • Your passenger must be able to reach the footrests
  • Your passenger must wear an approved motorcycle helmet
  • Your passenger cannot be carrying any packages
  • Your passenger must be able to understand and follow your directions
  • Your motorcycle should only be able to transport one other person

6. Louisiana Lane Splitting Laws

In Louisiana, it is illegal for motorcyclists to practice any form of lane splitting. While lane splitting can offer a faster alternative when heavy traffic is in the way, traveling in between rows of vehicles is just an accident waiting to happen. Not only would you be in their blind spots, but it would be impossible to get out of the way should a car try to change lanes without spotting you.

Therefore, motorcyclists are not allowed to engage in the following behavior while traversing Louisiana’s laned roads and highways:

  • You cannot ride on top of the dividing lines between lanes
  • You cannot ride in between adjacent rows of vehicles that are stopped
  • You cannot ride side-by-side with another vehicle sharing the same lane

However, riders are able to make use of the increased mobility afforded to their motorcycles in other ways. As motorcycles are their own class of motor vehicle, they can take advantage of specific rules of the road not afforded to cars or trucks. So long as the conditions are safe, you can attempt to do any of the following:

  • You are allowed to make full use of the space within your current lane
  • You can only share a lane with another motorcycle if:

       •Both parties stay apart at least two abreast
       •Both parties consent beforehand

7. Louisiana Motorcycle Safety Features

Part of your responsibility as a motorcyclist is that you need to check on the condition of your motorcycle yearly. It is best to conduct periodic inspections as frequently as possible to ensure your motorcycle’s primary components are working properly. Neglecting the machinery could result in it breaking down while you are traveling and increase the risk of you getting into an accident. Plus, any visible signs of your motorcycle experiencing mechanical failure could result in you being pulled over by Louisiana’s local law enforcement.

For your motorcycle to be considered street legal in Louisiana, it must be outfitted with the following safety features to help improve your motorcycle’s visibility and performance:

  • Horn
  • Wheels
  • Tires
  • Handlebars
  • Brakes(s)
  • Controls
  • Headlight
  • Taillight
  • Stoplight
  • License Plate Light
  • Reflector
  • Exhaust system
  • Muffler
  • Windshield
  • Rearview mirrors

8. Sources
391 Thor Pl,
Brea, CA 92821

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