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Motorcycle Laws & Licensing for Mississippi 2021

Motorcycle Laws & Licensing for Mississippi 2021

1. Introduction

When it comes to being a motorcyclist, the most important thing is not how skilled you are at handling your ride. It is how well you know all your state’s motorcycle laws.

No matter how experienced you are, no one is ever above the limitations set by motorcycle laws. Just like with driving a car, there are rules you need to follow so as to not be tempted into doing reckless riding behavior. Failure to comply reflects badly on your character as a motorcyclist.

If you are planning to travel through the highways and urbans areas of the Magnolia State, this article will inform you about the updated motorcycle laws and licensing for Mississippi as of 2021.

2. Mississippi Motorcycle Insurance

To be allowed to ride a motorcycle in Mississippi, you are required to own motorcycle insurance before registering your vehicle. All riders are subject to a liability policy.

Your Mississippi motorcycle insurance must meet the following minimum costs in accordance to the liability policy:

  • $25,000 to cover death or bodily injury to a single person
  • $25,000 to cover damage or destruction of property
  • $50,000 to cover death or bodily injury of two or more people

You may need additional forms of coverage to help pay for other bills that are not covered by the minimum costs. You may want to consider getting the following:

  • Collision coverage: Will provide protection for your motorcycle in any accidents under nearly every circumstance.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage: Will help you when dealing with drivers who do not own vehicle insurance or own vehicle insurance that is insufficient in covering accident-related costs.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Will help cover any damages sustained to your ride due to fire, wind, water, theft, and vandalism.
  • Bodily injury coverage: Will help pay for costs related to injuries or deaths that occur during an accident.
  • Medical payment coverage: Will provide payment for medical service and supplies such as health coverage, funeral expenses, etc.

If you cannot present proof of having motorcycle insurance after getting into an accident, you may be charged with fines and suspension of your motorcycle driver’s license. If you are found at fault for the accident, you may even be sentenced to jail.

If you would like to learn more about Mississippi motorcycle insurance, visit the Mississippi Insurance Department for more information.

3. Mississippi Motorcycle Helmet Laws

In accordance with MS Code § 63-7-64, you are not allowed to operate a motorcycle or motor scooter on a highway unless you are wearing an approved motorcycle helmet as laid out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Mississippi motorcycle helmet laws are very strict about all riders having to wear a helmet at all times as there is no age requirement. If you are pulled over for not wearing one, you can be subject to a fine of at least $100 or sentenced to 10 days in jail.

An approved motorcycle helmet should have a Department of Transportation sticker on the inside or outside. The types of motorcycle helmets you should pick from are either a full face helmet or an open face helmet.

Both kinds of motorcycle helmets must have the following qualities to best mitigate damage to your head:

Mississippi Motorcycle Helmet Laws

4. Mississippi Motorcycle License Laws

You are not authorized to operate a motorcycle in Mississippi until you receive a motorcycle endorsement. To get a Mississippi motorcycle endorsement, you first need to own a valid Mississippi driver’s license. You will then have to receive a Mississippi motorcycle permit and a Mississippi Class R driver’s license.

4.1 Mississippi Motorcycle Permit:

To be eligible to apply for a Mississippi motorcycle permit, you have to be at least the age of 15. Owning this allows a minor to operate a motorcycle, but there are restrictions.

According to the Mississippi motorcycle permit rules, the holder can only ride on a motorcycle while being supervised by a 21 year old with either a valid driver’s or operators license with a motorcycle endorsement or a valid restricted motorcycle operator’s license.

A permit holder also cannot carry a passenger, ride out on the highways, nor use a motorcycle from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

If you wish to know more information about Mississippi motorcycle permits, you can learn more on this topic at the Driver Service Bureau of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

4.2 Mississippi Class R Driver’s License:

Referred to as a Regular License, this license only allows the holder to operate a motorcycle throughout Mississippi. You cannot drive any other vehicles until you first get an operator’s license. You can only receive a motorcycle endorsement if you already have a valid Mississippi driver’s license and fulfill the other requirements.

If you wish to learn more about Mississippi Class R driver’s licenses, you can also find further details on this topic at the Driver Service Bureau of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

4.3 Requirements for Mississippi Motorcycle Endorsement:

Depending on how old you are, you may have to fulfill different requirements in order to finish the process of earning a valid Mississippi motorcycle endorsement. Listed below is a chart to help you figure out what you need to mark off your checklist:

Requirements for Mississippi Motorcycle Endorsement

If you are under the age of 15, you are required to take license classes. You should expect information sessions focused on teaching you about the dangers of driving intoxicated, how to practice defensive driving, and how to be aware when riding a motorcycle. You can take optional classes to learn more about insurance and renewing your license.

The safety courses are provided by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Depending on which district you go to, the total monetary cost and the number of days it will take you to complete the safety courses may vary.

If you wish to get an overview of the learning process involving motorcycle safety, you can look up information provided by the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety.

Whenever you receive motorcycle driving qualifications, you will need to pay a small fee depending on what type it is:

  • For a Mississippi motorcycle permit, it only costs $1
  • If you are over the age of 18, a new Mississippi motorcycle license or renewing one you already own costs $17 for 4 years and $33 for 8 years before you have to return for a replacement.
  • If you are under the age of 18, a new Mississippi motorcycle license costs $14.

If you are under the age of 18, the proof of domicile must have your parent’s signature on it. The following are examples of documents that include an applicant’s or parents’ signature and a physical address that are accepted as submissions:

  • Electric Bill
  • Water Bill
  • Mortgage Papers
  • Lease or Rent Agreement

If you are a new permanent resident of Mississippi and still own a valid out-of-state motorcycle license, you are not required to take the written test.

4.4 Mississippi Motorcycle Written and Road Tests:

When you are ready to get your Mississippi motorcycle license, you have to complete the written and road tests, specifically in that order.

First, set up an appointment with a nearby Mississippi Department of Public Safety office. Make sure to give yourself enough time so that you can spend time studying and preparing for the exams.

To prepare for the written exam, it is recommended you review the latest version of the Motorcycle Foundation Operators Manual provided by the Mississippi DPS. You can either get it at an office or download it as a PDF. After reviewing the chapters, you may want to try out a few Mississippi motorcycle practice tests online. You never know when questions you encounter during practice might show up on the actual written exam.

You should continue to practice operating your motorcycle every chance you get. Make use of empty parking lots or the local neighborhood to sharpen your riding skills. Getting familiar with your motorcycle will help make your travels smoother and fix any mistakes now rather than later.

Before you head out for your exam, make sure that you are carrying either your Mississippi driver’s license or your proof of application for a Mississippi driver’s license. You will also have to bring a means of payment to cover the fees for taking the exams.

For the written test, you are required to answer 25 multiple choice questions. You need to pass with a score of at least 80% correct answers. The questions will be taken from topics covered in the manual, but they will be randomly generated each time if you find yourself taking the written test multiple times.

For the road test, you can either take it right after you pass the written exam or set up another appointment to take it on another day. You will have to provide proof of registration and have the required motorcycle insurance before starting. Your test will involve you demonstrating basic maneuvers. The test should last for a duration of 30 minutes.

If you have business with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, you can learn the process for scheduling an appointment or renewing your license at the Official Mississippi Department of Safety Online Services.

5. Mississippi Motorcycle Exhaust Noise Laws

In accordance with MS Code § 63-7-55, every motorcycle has to be outfitted with a muffler that is kept in good working condition and given proper maintenance before and during every ride.

According to Mississippi motorcycle exhaust noise laws, the muffler has to be able to reduce the volume of the noise and the plumes of smoke that come out of the exhaust.

You may not apply a cut-out, a bypass, or any other device that tampers with the muffler while your motorcycle is riding down the highways.

6. Mississippi Motorcycle Passenger Laws

As laid out by Mississippi motorcycle passenger laws, you can only carry another person if your motorcycle has another seat installed that is able to fit your passenger and includes footrests that the passenger’s legs are able to reach without difficulty. You can also include handholds to provide extra grip, but this is optional.

Mississippi does not have an age limit regarding passengers, but your passenger must be tall enough for their feet to be flat against the footrests and heavy enough that he/she will not be thrown off your ride during turns or deceleration.

Your passenger must also wear a DOT approved helmet and have appropriate motorcycle riding gear on at all times. As you are responsible for the wellbeing of your passenger, you must make sure he/she follows all of your directions and complies with motorcycle safety laws.

7. Mississippi Motorcycle Lane Splitting Laws

Mississippi is part of the majority of states that is undecided when it comes to lane splitting. On the one hand, the state does not have any motorcycle laws that forbid riders from engaging in lane splitting. However, it also does not have any motorcycle laws that explicitly state it is legal to practice it on the highways.

If you decide to ride in between the lanes or vehicles that have slowed or stopped in traffic, you do so at your own risk. Depending on the county and the attitude of the local law enforcement, they may leave you alone. However, if the Highway Patrol perceives you as breaking traffic laws by riding recklessly, they may pull you over and give you a ticket.

It is recommended you avoid doing lane splitting in Mississippi since there is very little legal protection that would be in your favor should you get into an accident while you attempted at lane splitting.

8. Mississippi Motorcycle Safety Features

Even if you are an experienced motorcyclist, you are still quite vulnerable while on the road. Because your ride is smaller compared to most vehicles, it can be easy for other drivers to miss you. It also does not help that your ride lacks an outer metal frame to protect you if another vehicle hits you. To ensure your safety, your motorcycle must have safety features that increase your visibility and help ease your movements.

As stated in MS Code § 63-7-13, your motorcycle must have at least one headlight, but can install up to two, that is capable of illuminating 100 to 350 feet in front of you.

You also must have at least one rear light which can be seen from at least 500 feet away. Your rear light or a different light has to illuminate your license plate so that the numbers and letters can be seen from at least 50 feet away.

You must check that both your front and back lights are functioning at the same time when you turn the ignition.

Additionally, MS Code § 63-7-51 explains that a motorcycle must have at least one brake that can be applied using either your hand or feet.

9. Takeaway

Riding a motorcycle in Mississippi can be a fun hobby or convenient transportation, but you should always treat the responsibility that comes with operating one seriously. Providing the necessary documentation and taking a motorcycle license test demonstrates that you are ready to ride a two-wheeled vehicle. Making sure that you follow the motorcycle safety and traffic laws shows your consideration and respect for those you share the road with. Even if the policies regarding Mississippi motorcycle laws and licensing continue to change, keeping up to date is part of being a good motorcyclist. 

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