Although riding a motorcycle brings the freedom and joy of the open road, it can also be very risky, as motorcycles lack the many protections offered by traditional passenger vehicles. Because of this, there are several important motorcycle laws in Connecticut that riders should know before heading out on the road.
If you are injured in a collision while riding a motorcycle, do not hesitate to contact our trusted New Haven motorcycle accident lawyers to review your legal options. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
1. Connecticut Motorcycle Endorsement
In Connecticut, riders do not have a separate motorcycle license, but rather have a standard driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement. Despite not obtaining a new license, the process for obtaining a motorcycle endorsement involves several steps:
- Payment of the required fee for testing and the permit
- Successful completion of a knowledge and vision test
- Optional riding time with a learner’s permit that allows you to drive a motorcycle with certain restrictions
- Completion of a motorcycle training course approved by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, which includes classroom and skills training on a motorcycle
Those who are at least 16 years old with a valid Connecticut driver’s license can obtain a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license by presenting proof of completion of an approved training course to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
2. Helmet Law
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Connecticut is one of 28 states that have partial helmet laws requiring only certain riders to wear helmets.
CGS § 14-289g requires all motorcycle operators and passengers under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. A failure to do so could result in a minimum fine of $90.
CGS § 14-40a (b) also requires that those who are applying for a motorcycle endorsement wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle with a training permit. A failure to do so could result in a fine between $35 and $50 for a first-offense and up to $100 or 30 days in jail for any additional offenses.
The state’s partial helmet law was enacted in 1989 after 13 years without a helmet law after the state’s previous law was repealed in 1976. That mandatory helmet law required anyone riding or operating a motorcycle to wear a helmet.
3. Eye Protection
Unless the motorcycle has a windshield or wind screen, all motorcycle operators and passengers must wear protective eye gear, such as goggles, glasses or a face shield, according to CGS § 14-289d.
No passengers are allowed on a motorcycle operated by an individual with a learner’s permit. Those who have recently obtained a motorcycle endorsement cannot transport passengers for 90 days after obtaining an endorsement. Those who are 16 and 17 years old cannot transport passengers for six months after obtaining a motorcycle endorsement.
Once drivers have passed this time limit, they may only carry passengers on motorcycles that are equipped to carry passengers and have a seat for the passenger that is firmly attached to the back of the operator’s seat. Any motorcycle operator who carries a rider on a motorcycle not equipped to do so has committed an infraction, according to CGS § 14-289c.
5. Lane Splitting
Connecticut provides motorcycles the same rights and privileges as other motor vehicles on the road, including the right to full use of a single traffic lane. Because of this, CGS § 14-289b. forbids more than one motorcycle to ride side-by-side in a single lane at a time.
Furthermore, the operator of a motorcycle cannot overtake and pass another vehicle in the same single traffic lane. They also cannot operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic, which is known as lane splitting.
6. Insurance Requirements
All motor vehicles in Connecticut, including motorcycles, are required to provide proof of liability insurance, which covers bodily injury to other people and damage to the property of others caused by your actions.
The state requires a minimum of:
- $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $10,000 per accident for property damage
If You are Injured in a Crash, Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Unfortunately, all too often riders who are careful and obey all state motorcycle laws are involved in collisions caused by negligent drivers. If you or a loved one is injured in a crash, contact D’Amico & Pettinicchi for a free, no obligation consultation and review of your legal rights.
Our attorneys have decades of experience fighting for the rights of those who have been injured by the negligence of others, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
We also work on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not owe us any payment unless you receive compensation.