Following New York State’s traffic laws is essential for every person sharing the roads to decrease the frequency of accidents. Upholding these standards is especially important for motorcyclists as they are much more susceptible to injury since they do not have the same protections as cars and trucks, such as airbags or metal frames.
In addition to protecting oneself from injury, following Buffalo motorcycle traffic laws keeps bikers from receiving citations or other legal consequences. This includes protecting their right to maximum compensation if a motorcycle collision does occur.
How Do Traffic Laws Apply to Motorcycles?
Bikers must know and follow all New York State vehicle and traffic laws. The local police department and other law enforcement agencies, including county agencies like sheriffs and state troopers, enforce these regulations. In Buffalo, and throughout the state, traffic laws apply to motorcycles the same as they do to all other motor vehicles.
While there are some nuances and motorcycle-specific regulations, ultimately, bikers are under the same obligations as drivers of cars, pickup trucks, or SUVs. They must use signals when they turn, have working/functioning headlights and brake lights, follow speed limits, and yield at traffic signs and stop lights. Individuals who operate motorcycles must also carry insurance coverage, just as they are required to do for passenger vehicles. State law mandates minimum liability coverage limits of $25,000 in bodily injury per person.
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Motorcycle-Specific Traffic Laws
One example of a motorcycle-specific traffic law in Buffalo, is that anyone operating or riding on these vehicles must wear a helmet that meets the standards outlined in Section 571.218 of the federal motor vehicle safety rules. This requirement does not apply to smaller motorized vehicles that do not exceed 20 mph, but is still recommended for safety.
Bikers must also have a motorcycle-specific license that is different from the license they get for driving a regular car. Individuals must be aged 18 or over or 17 with a driver’s education certificate to qualify. The process is similar to getting a regular license in that the motorist starts with a learner’s permit, takes a written test, and then after they are prepared, takes a road test. If they pass the road test, they are granted an MJ or M license, which is the class required to drive a motorcycle.
Limitations of an Instructional Motorcycle Permit
With a permit, the most significant condition that motorists have to adhere to is having somebody with a valid license with them. This is the same requirement as when someone is driving a car. However, they are usually sitting next to them, whereas, on a motorcycle, the person with the permit has to be within a certain distance while riding alongside them on another bike.
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The Impact of Motorcycle Laws on Accident Claims
When a motorcyclist sustains injuries in a collision and did not follow Buffalo traffic laws, this could greatly impact their case and ability to recover compensation for their damages and losses. This does not mean they have no case, but at a minimum, there will be comparative fault if they broke the law.
Comparative fault means that the injured person holds a portion of responsibility for their injuries or the accident itself. If found at fault, their award could be reduced through negotiations with the insurance company. Alternatively, if they are in a trial setting, and a jury awards damages, but they put a percentage of fault on the injured biker, the biker’s award will be reduced based on that percentage. This means that even if someone else causes a crash, but the injured biker was not wearing a helmet at the time of the event, the courts could lessen their recovery based on the assertion that their injuries would not have been as severe had they been wearing the protective equipment.
Contact a Buffalo Attorney to Discuss Motorcycle Traffic Laws
Staying up to date on Buffalo motorcycle traffic laws is crucial to your safety and to protecting your legal rights. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles is an excellent resource to try to stay compliant. For more information, or to learn about your legal options following a motorcycle accident, rely on our trusted team at Richmond Vona, LLC. Call today for a free consultation.