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What are the motorcycle laws in Ohio?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2024 | Motorcycle Accidents

Whether you’re a new motorcyclist or a seasoned rider, you know that motorcycle accidents carry big risks. For your own safety, you have to be a defensive driver.

Part of looking out for your own well-being involves making sure that you fully understand the rules of the road as they apply to you. Here are some of the basics to keep in mind:

You have to limit your passengers

It can be fun to take a friend on a spin around the block on your motorcycle – but make sure that that law permits it. You are only allowed to have the exact number of people on your bike that the manufacturer intended – whether that’s one seat, two or three. Extra passengers make a motorcycle harder to handle and more prone to accidents, and that’s too risky.

Lane sharing is allowed, but lane splitting is not

Lane sharing is when two motorcyclists ride side-by-side in the same lane, and that is permissible under Ohio’s laws. Lane splitting is when motorcycles ride down the middle of two lanes that are heading in the same direction, usually between larger vehicles that are stuck in traffic. A few states do permit this, but Ohio is not one of them – so make sure you tell your out-of-state friends when they come for a visit.

Only some riders are required to have helmets

Ohio is pretty relaxed when it comes to helmets. Most riders do not have to wear them – except for those who fall under the rules established by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT).

If you’re under 18 years of age or you’re in the first year of your motorcycle license, you have to wear a helmet that meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 218. (These will have a “DOT” sticker on the back.) Keep in mind that if you’re required to wear a helmet – so are your passengers.

You need eye protection, but earplugs and headphones are not allowed

A lot of drivers prefer to wear earplugs to cut down on the noise when they’re driving – and others prefer earphones or earbuds so they can listen to their tunes. However, these are not allowed in Ohio. The authorities want you to keep at least one ear free so that you can hear traffic sounds and sirens from emergency responders.

On the other hand, Ohio does require motorcyclists to use eye protection, whether that’s a visor, sunglasses or a windscreen attached to their bike.

Why is it important to know the rules of the road when you’re a motorcyclist?

Ohio uses a “comparative fault” method of determining negligence when accidents happen, which means that you can only recover compensation for your injuries in a motorcycle wreck if you’re 50% or less at fault. However, any damages you receive will be reduced according to your share of the negligence that led to the wreck.

Since those rules can make it much harder to obtain the compensation you need after an accident, you don’t want to give anybody the opportunity to shift blame your way and potentially devalue your claim.

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, seeking legal guidance is the best possible way to get the compensation you deserve.