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Motorcycle Laws & Licensing for Utah 2021

Motorcycle Laws & Licensing for Utah 2021

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Utah or “The Beehive State,” you will spend a lot of time surrounded by mountains, valleys, canyons, and rock formations on either side of you while traversing the long road ahead. When the sun sinks below the horizon, the landscape seems to catch on fire as it takes on a reddish tint.

But before you can venture out and explore Utah on your motorcycle, you will need to have the qualifications required to operate one in this state. That means acquiring a valid driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement recognized in Utah. Not to mention you have to own Utah motorcycle insurance to protect your ride so that you are not forced to cover any expenses out of your own pocket. Even though motorcycle riding is about adventures on the highway, you might be surprised how much paperwork is involved before the wheels even start turning.

You also will have to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road and safety precautions expected of motorcyclists in Utah. You need to know how to maintain the state of your motorcycle and wear the right motorcycle protection. You have to understand how to take care of a passenger and know what are appropriate maneuvers to attempt on the road.

The purpose of this article is to inform you of motorcycle laws and the licensing process for Utah as of 2021.

1. Utah Motorcycle Insurance

Around the same time, you register your motorcycle and obtain a motorcycle license, you will need to have Utah motorcycle insurance. You are required to carry documents showing proof of ownership whenever you are operating your motorcycle on the roads or highways.

Failure to acquire the necessary Utah motorcycle insurance could result in the Utah Department of Public Safety suspending your vehicle’s registration. You will also be fined with a minimum of $400 for your first violation. For repeated offences, the fines can reach up to $1000 if they occur within three years of the previous violations. If you continue to delay getting Utah motorcycle insurance, then the Utah DPS will be forced to suspend your driver’s license. You will not get it back until you show proof of owning motorcycle insurance and paying the reinstatement fee.

As laid out by Utah Code § 31A-22-304, your motorcycle insurance will need to be able to cover the following minimum costs in the event of an accident:

  • $25,000 to help you cover for the injury or death of a person in an accident
  • $65,000 to help you cover for the injuries or deaths of multiple people in an accident
  • $15,000 to help you cover for any property damages sustained during an accident

To get an overview of the motor vehicle liability policy minimum limits, you can find the section in the Utah Code.

2. Utah Motorcycle Helmet Laws

According to Utah Code § 41-6a-1505, you are required to wear a motorcycle helmet if you are under the age of 21. Your motorcycle helmet has to be a model that follows all of the safety parameters stated by the Department of Transportation and Utah’s state standards.

While adults over the age of 21 can choose to not wear a helmet, it is recommended you keep a helmet on at all times. A motorcycle helmet can help prevent severe injuries to your head and can even save your life if you are ever thrown onto the pavement or collide with a larger vehicle.

Another benefit of wearing a motorcycle helmet is that you can save $8 in moving traffic violations if you can prove that you were wearing all of the required motorcycle safety gear and are above the age of 21.

When searching for a motorcycle helmet that satisfies the expectations of the Utah motorcycle helmet laws, there are two types that offer maximum protection: three-quarter helmets and full-face helmets.

Listed in the table below are the requirements and features to look for in both three-quarter and full-face helmets:

Utah Motorcycle Helmet Laws

To review the regulations regarding Utah motorcycle helmet laws, there is a section focused on this subject in the Utah Code.

3. Utah Motorcycle License Laws

3.1 Types of Utah Motorcycle Licenses:

Listed in the table below are the criteria you need to meet if you wish to earn a Utah motorcycle license. Each type of Utah motorcycle license comes with their own set of restrictions and capabilities determining what you are allowed to do while on the road:

Types of Utah Motorcycle Licenses

If you are under the age of 19, you are required to apply for and hold a Utah motorcycle learner’s permit for the mandatory two months. You can only bypass this requirement if you submit proof of completing a Basic Rider Course.

While 16 years old is the minimum age to apply for a motorcycle learner’s permit, you can begin applying for a permit, license, or motorcycle rider training course when you turn 15 and a half years old.

When applying for a Utah motorcycle learner’s permit, you will need to pay a fee of $19. You have three attempts to try and get the motorcycle endorsement for your driver’s license before you have to pay additional costs to retry.

When applying for a Utah motorcycle endorsement, you will need to pay a fee of $18.

If you wish to review the details regarding the Utah motorcycle learner’s permit, you can find a page on the topic at the Utah Department of Public Safety.

3.2 Utah Motorcycle License Test:

For the written portion of the Utah motorcycle license test, you will have to complete 25 multiple choice questions based on content from the driver education course and the Utah Motorcycle Operator Manual. You will need to get at least 20 questions or 80% of the exam correct for you to pass. Failure to pass the written portion will result in higher charges the next time you decide to retake it.

For the riding portion of the Utah motorcycle license test, keep in mind that the size of the motorcycle you use will determine the type of vehicle your motorcycle endorsement will allow you to operate:

  • Riding a motorcycle that is 90 cc or less means you will be limited to operating motorcycles of this size range
  • Riding a motorcycle that is 249 cc or less means you will be limited to operating motorcycles of this size range
  • Riding a motorcycle that is 649 cc or less means you will be limited to operating motorcycles of this size range
  • Riding a motorcycle that is 650 cc or large means you are free to operate a motorcycle of any size

Before demonstrating your motorcycle skills, the vehicle you provide will have to be inspected to make sure it meets Utah’s safety standards. You will be required to successfully pull off different motorcycle maneuvers within a controlled environment. Such motorcycle maneuvers may include the following:

  • Cone Weave
  • Normal Stop
  • Quick Stop
  • U-Turn
  • Obstacle Swerve
  • Turn From a Stop

However, if you have a completion card from finishing a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Beginning Rider Course, you are allowed to waive the motorcycle driving skills portion of the Utah motorcycle license test.

If you wish to go over the process for getting a Utah motorcycle endorsement, you can find the instructions at the Utah Department of Public Safety.

4. Utah Motorcycle Passenger Laws

When looking over Utah Code § 41-6a-1501, you will find there are no age restrictions for motorcycle passengers in Utah. However, if your passenger is below the age of 21, he/she is required to wear a helmet at all times while seated on your motorcycle.

For you to be allowed to carry a passenger, your motorcycle must be designed in a way that it can support another person safely while moving on the roads and highways. It should include a seat that is big enough to fit two people or a separate passenger seat positioned either to the rear or side of the vehicle. There must also be footholds for a passenger to rest his/her feet if your motorcycle does not come with a sidecar.

Your passenger must be facing forward with a leg resting on both sides of the motorcycle. Your passenger cannot carry any belongings in his/her arms that could hinder his/her ability to hold onto the vehicle.

If you need to find the information for how to prepare your motorcycle for a passenger, it is located as a section in the Utah Code.

5. Utah Motorcycle Lane Splitting Laws

As of May 14, 2019, it is legal for motorcyclists to engage in lane splitting or “lane filtering” while on the Utah roads. In Utah, lane splitting refers to when a motorcycle attempts to pass other vehicles stopped in traffic traveling in the same direction by riding on top of the dividing lines. You are allowed to practice lane splitting so long as there are the following conditions:

  • The speed limit of the road must be at 45 miles per hour or lower
  • The road must have 2 or more adjacent lanes traveling in the same direction
  • You can only attempt lane splitting if traffic around you has completely stopped
  • Your motorcycle’s speed cannot exceed 15 miles per hour
  • There must be enough room to maneuver with minimal risk of colliding with other vehicles

While lane splitting is now allowed, it is suggested you only attempt it if you are an experienced motorcyclist. Lane splitting helps you get to your destination quicker, but it also carries a higher risk of getting into an accident.

If you wish to look over the Utah motorcycle lane splitting laws, you can find all of the information at the Utah Department of Safety.

6. Utah Motorcycle Safety Features

To lessen the chances of experiencing mechanical problems or getting pulled over by local law enforcement, you will have to make sure your motorcycle meets Utah’s standards of being street legal.

The Utah Division of Motor Vehicles may have to conduct periodic inspections of some of your motorcycle’s functions to ensure it is safe to operate. The department places a lot of emphasis on the braking system working properly. If there are signs the braking system is faulty, your motorcycle will be deemed unsuited for the road and may suspend the registrations for your vehicle.

Aside from the braking system, here are other Utah motorcycle safety features you will have to check to confirm they are in working condition:

  • Horn
  • Wheels
  • Tires
  • Handlebars (no higher than shoulder height)
  • Braking system
  • Controls
  • Head lamp
  • Tail lamp
  • License plate lamp
  • Stop lamp
  • Rear reflector
  • Exhaust system
  • Muffler
  • Turn signals (for models built after 1973)
  • Rearview mirror(s)

To find the checklist for required motorcycle equipment in Utah, you should check out the section in the Motorcycle Operator Manual.

7. Utah Motorcycle Muffler Laws

According to Utah Code § 41-6a-1626, all motorcycles are required to have a muffler that has no visible signs of damage, is given constant maintenance, and is able to ensure any noise emitted by the exhaust is kept to a minimum. You are not allowed to apply a bypass, cut-out, or anything similar that could compromise the functionality of the muffler.

Your exhaust system should not have any visible pollutants escaping from the exhaust system when the vehicle is in motion. However, do not be concerned if there are some visible pollutants when you start up the motorcycle’s engine before actually getting onto the road.

If you are found with a faulty muffler or there are signs of tampering, you will be fined a minimum of $50 for the violation. For repeated offences, the fines can reach up to $100 if they occur within three years of the previous violations.

To look over the guidelines for motorcycle muffler laws in Utah, you can find them in a section of the Utah Code.

8. Takeaway

After reading all of the rules that motorcyclists have to abide by in Utah, hopefully your passion for riding a motorcycle has not been diminished. You may be feeling annoyed at having to memorize all of this information. After all, the point of riding a motorcycle is to spend your time primarily acting rather than thinking. However, you just have to take each of Utah’s motorcycle laws one step at a time to help you remember them.

Having your insurance stored away in a secure place on your motorcycle means it is ready whenever you need it during an accident. Holding onto your license serves as your identity and proof to the authorities that you passed every test. Strapping on a helmet will provide extra protection for your head. Even if there are not many occasions where you have to use them, having them within reach whenever you are out on your motorcycle will put your mind at ease.

Taking into consideration your passenger’s wellbeing by making sure he/she is both comfortable and safe in the seat they are in will help make a ride smoother rather than stressful. Making sure every piece of machinery that makes up your vehicle from the head lamp to the exhaust system is in the best shape possible will make sure nothing goes wrong when you are zooming on a highway. Knowing how and when to do lane splitting will give you more options to get to your destination faster.

It may be a bit difficult to keep all of Utah’s policies regarding motorcycle laws and licensing organized in your head at first. But given enough time, it will soon become second nature to you.

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