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​Motorcycle Laws and Riders’ Responsibilities

There’s a reason people are attracted to motorcycles – they’re fun, fast, and provide a thrilling way to get around. Unfortunately, motorcycles must ride along the same roads as cars and trucks, and drivers are not often kind to motorcyclists, resulting in collisions.

While Illinois provides laws motorcycle riders must obey, other drivers on the road have a duty to drive responsibly and keep riders free from harm.

Continue reading to better understand the basic requirements of riding a motorcycle and ways drivers must help keep roads safe for motorcyclists.

If you suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, consult with an experienced local motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. A motorcycle accident lawyer has the skills and resources to pursue fair compensation on your behalf.

Motorcycle Law Basics for Riders

Riding a motorcycle should be exciting. However, riders must follow the law. We outline the basic requirements for motorcycle riders below.

Drivers License

Every motorcycle rider needs a license. The type of license a rider needs depends on the kind of motorbike.

For motorcycle engines larger than 150ccs, the rider must have a Class M license. If the engine is smaller than 150ccs, the rider will need a Class L license.

Applicants must be at least 16 years old. If the applicant is at least 18 they must present proof of a riding course to waive the driving test. If the applicant is under 18, they must also take a driving exam and a written test.


Hitting the pavement first requires motorcycle riders to have specific equipment on their motorcycles.

This equipment includes:

  • Brakes
  • Side-view mirrors
  • Headlights
  • Taillights
  • Blinkers
  • Handlebars below shoulder height
  • A horn
  • An unmodified muffler
  • Seat and footrests for passengers
  • A license plate with a light

The motorcycle must also have a windshield; if not, riders and passengers must wear protective eye gear.

Most states have legal requirements for helmets. Illinois is one of three states with no legal helmet requirements for motorcycle riders. However, that does not mean riders shouldn’t wear helmets. Wearing a helmet provides much-needed protection in case of an accident.


In Illinois, there are insurance requirements for motorcycle riders.

All riders must have minimum insurance, including:

  • $25,000 coverage per person
  • $50,000 coverage per accident
  • $20,000 coverage for property damage

Riders must also purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist protection.

Having insurance coverage is crucial when riding a motorcycle. It can help cover medical costs for riders.

If policy limits are insufficient to cover bills, a motorcycle rider may have legal options to hold the other driver accountable and pursue additional financial recovery. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help.

Drivers Have a Responsibility to Keep Motorcycle Riders Safe on the Road

While motorcycle riders must always ride responsibly, that does not eliminate the need for other drivers to drive safely while on the road.

The United States Department of Transportation highlights the importance of sharing the road safely, making May Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Illinois provides Rules of the Road, which include the duty of other drivers to share the road with motorcycles. These provisions exhibit the importance of recognizing when you’re driving alongside a motorcycle and ways to help keep riders safe.

The handbook includes the following tips and information:

#1. Lane Sharing

Lane sharing involves sharing the lane side-by-side with a motorcycle. It is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.

When a driver shares their lane with a motorcycle rider, it can be difficult for a driver to see the motorcycle. Drivers are encouraged to avoid sharing the road with motorcyclists, even if they believe there is enough room for both.

#2. Intersections

Every driver on the road must be particularly cautious when approaching intersections and watch out for motorcycles. According to the guide, more than 50 percent of motorcycle crashes happen at intersections.

#3. Stoplights

While motorcycle riders must generally follow all of the same road rules as drivers, motorcyclists can approach stoplights differently. Because motorcycles are so light compared to cars or trucks, the in-ground sensors that control traffic lights may fail to detect any vehicle.

When a motorcycle rider approaches a red traffic light, and the light fails to turn green after 120 seconds, the motorcyclist may proceed through after ensuring the way is clear. Drivers must be careful when going through traffic lights to avoid colliding with motorcyclists.

#4. Passing

A motorcycle must maintain its lane position and speed when passing a car or truck. This requirement allows the motorcycle to complete the maneuver safely.

#5. Following and Stopping Distance

Drivers must allow at least “three to four seconds” of following distance when driving behind a motorcycle. This distance allows a motorcycle rider to stop or make maneuvers safely.

#6. Road Conditions

Road conditions, especially those created during inclement weather, are dangerous for all drivers and riders alike. These conditions are especially dangerous for motorcycle riders, as road inconsistencies can negatively impact their ability to maneuver their bike or brake.

In these situations, drivers must be particularly careful and respectful of motorcyclists. Even speeding past a motorcycle too quickly can threaten a rider’s safety, as it can create a significant wind gust.

Motorcycle Riders Face Even More Danger than Drivers

Motorcycles offer riders no protection, and riders must rely on safety gear like helmets and gloves to offer some level of protection in case of an accident.

Auto accidents can also cause substantial injury, but a vehicle offers way more protection, with seatbelts, airbags, and other valuable safety features.

Because riders are prone to serious injury and even death, drivers must always be cautious. While driving a motorcycle, riders are extremely vulnerable and rely not only on their safe riding but on the responsible driving of others around them.

After an accident on a motorcycle, it is in your best interest to consult or hire a motorcycle accident lawyer immediately.

Consult a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

A motorcycle collision can result in severe injuries, and you’ll likely face mounting medical bills. Consider taking legal action.

If you suffered injuries after a collision with a vehicle, don’t handle your claim alone – discuss your case with a motorcycle accident lawyer. A motorcycle accident attorney can review the details of your situation and create the best legal strategy to get you the compensation you deserve.

After an accident, your health and safety should be your top priority. Afterward, contact a motorcycle accident attorney near you.