Understanding Ohio’s motorcycle laws
If you are an Ohio motorcycle enthusiast, or your teenager has begun pestering you for a bike, you should familiarize yourself with Ohio’s motorcycle laws, some of which may surprise you. For instance, did you know that while you cannot wear earplugs while riding a cycle, you also need not wear a safety helmet unless you are a novice rider under 18 years of age or a passenger of such a rider?
Ohio’s cycle laws fall into the following three categories:
- Licensing requirements
- Mechanical requirements
- Protective gear requirements
1. Licensing requirements
You must have both a license and registration for your cycle, but you need no rider education certification. Children between the ages of 12 and 16 can only operate a cycle under the direct supervision of a properly licensed person over the age of 18. To maintain your license, you must carry the minimum amount of insurance coverage required by law and you also must submit to random periodic safety inspections.
If under 18 years of age, your teenager must successfully complete a rider education class to obtain a motorcycle license unless (s)he can demonstrate the skills sufficient to waive such a class. Although people over 18 need not take these classes in order to obtain a license, Ohio recommends that you avail yourself of the opportunity to learn how to safely operate a bike.
2. Mechanical requirements
Your cycle must have a headlight and taillight, both of which you must turn on after sunset. Its handlebar height must be no higher than your shoulders. It also must have a rearview mirror on either the right or left. In addition, it must have a muffler with no cut-outs and, if manufactured after 2005, must not emit sounds louder than 96 decibels at 20 inches. Bear in mind that your city or town may have its own more restrictive noise regulations.
If your bike carries a manufacture date of any time after 1967, it must be equipped with turn signals. Should you wish to have a passenger ride with you, your bike must have both a passenger seat and passenger footrests. You and a fellow rider may ride two abreast in the same lane, but you may not lane split.
3. Protective gear requirements
Keep in mind that Ohio’s protective gear requirements are there to protect you in the event you crash. Nevertheless, they are quite liberal. You must wear eye protection unless your bike has a windscreen. As previously stated, you cannot wear earplugs while riding, nor do you need to wear a safety helmet unless you are a rider under 18 years of age or the passenger of such a rider. Should you choose to wear a helmet, a superb idea considering that a helmet is the very best way to prevent your death in a crash, it can contain speakers. Ohio has no laws pertaining to protective clothing.
Riding a motorcycle should be an enjoyable experience for you and your passengers, not a catastrophic accident waiting to happen. Your safety and that of your passenger rests on your operating skills, common sense and commitment to safe driving and safe gear.