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Motorcycle Laws & Safety Guidelines in Connecticut

Written by Daniel B. Brill

Man Riding Motorcycle

Motorcycle riding can be exhilarating and fun. That said, it’s critical for motorcyclists to understand the laws governing motorcycle riding to protect their safety and legal rights. In this article, we will explore the motorcycle laws in Connecticut, highlighting key regulations, safety measures, and legal considerations. Understanding these laws can help motorcyclists make informed decisions and prevent accidents, as well as provide valuable information for those seeking legal guidance in personal injury cases.

Motorcycle License and Endorsement Requirements

In Connecticut, operating a motorcycle requires a special license and endorsement separate from a standard driver’s license. Bikers must pass a knowledge test, a vision screening, and an on-cycle skills test. Additionally, completing a state-approved rider education course is mandatory for riders.

Helmet Laws

Connecticut has a partial helmet law.  While there is no blanket mandate for bikers to wear a helmet, Connecticut General Statutes § 14-289g requires all motorcycle operators under age 18 to wear a helmet.  The helmet must meet the standards set by the Department of Transportation (DOT), ensuring it provides adequate protection in the event of a crash. By wearing a helmet, riders lower the risk of head injuries and fatal accidents, promoting overall safety on the roads.

Unlike helmet laws, all motorcycle riders, regardless of age, must wear protective headgear while operating or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle.

Motorcycle Equipment

Motorcycles must have at least one rearview mirror on the left side, a headlamp, taillight, and rear reflector, along with adequate brakes and mufflers. Motorcycles are also prohibited from having handlebars positioned higher than the rider’s shoulder height when seated.

Lane Splitting and Sharing

Lane-splitting is highly dangerous and prohibited by Connecticut law (Connecticut General Statutes § 14-289b).  Lane splitting refers to the practice of motorcycles riding between lanes or between vehicles. Motorcycles are considered vehicles and must drive in one single traffic lane as with other motor vehicles.

Insurance Requirements

All motorcycle riders in Connecticut must have liability insurance coverage. The minimum insurance requirements include bodily injury liability coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is also highly recommended because it protects bikers from being struck by drivers without adequate insurance.  Underinsured motorist coverage isn’t automatically applied to motorcycle policies because of the higher insurance risk of riding a motorcycle. Even so, you should ask your insurance company about buying this valuable coverage.

DOT Guidelines for Motorcycle Safety

The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends various ways to add extra protection for yourself when riding a motorcycle.

Wear Protective Gear Beyond Just a Helmet and Goggles

Riders should wear sturdy jackets, gloves, long pants, and boots that cover the ankles. This clothing will protect you from abrasions, road debris, and injury. You should also consider wearing a bright-colored reflective jacket for nighttime riding.

Regularly Maintain Your Bike

The DOT suggests you run a maintenance check before every ride. Inspect tires for inflation and tread wear. Inspect brakes and ensure that all lights and signals are working. Regular oil changes are also essential to preventing bike failures that lead to accidents.


The DOT recommends you always ride with headlights on, even during the day, to increase your visibility. Choose brightly colored clothing. Use proper hand signals to communicate your intentions to other motorists.

Defensive Riding

While you can control your own actions on a bike, you have no control over other drivers on the road. For that reason, it is critical for you to pro-actively avoid potential hazards by maintaining a safe distance from other drivers, checking the road ahead, and monitoring your mirrors for approaching vehicles. And of course, you must always avoid distractions like your phone as they limit your ability to focus on the road.

Enhance Your Riding Abilities Through Training

The DOT suggests investing in a professional motorcycle training course to improve riding skills and overall safety even after you’ve obtained your license. These courses teach advanced riding techniques, hazard perception, defensive driving, and emergency maneuvers. Even experienced riders can benefit from refresher courses to stay updated with the latest safety practices and techniques (NHTSA, 2021).

Contact A Motorcycle Accident Attorney If You Were Hurt in A Crash

Complying with the laws surrounding motorcycle riding not only protects you from fines but also minimizes the risk of injuries.  In any event, accidents can still occur due to many factors, including negligent drivers on the road.

If you or a loved one were injured on a motorcycle due to someone else’s negligence, seeking legal guidance from an experienced motorcycle collision lawyer is essential to protecting your right to fair compensation. Please contact our highly experienced lawyers for a free consultation today.