Connecticut motorcycle laws you should know

Motorcycle rider wearing helmet for safety.

Connecticut has certain statutes in place to protect motorcycle riders and other road users. These requirements include having a driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement, using a helmet and eye protection, proof of liability insurance, and regulations about the vehicle’s equipment. Thorough knowledge of Connecticut’s motorcycle laws can keep you riding safely.

What Is a Connecticut Motorcycle Endorsement?

A motorcycle endorsement (or M endorsement) is a qualification valid driver’s license holders in Connecticut can receive. This endorsement allows drivers to ride two- or three-wheel motorcycles on roads and public highways.

To receive a motorcycle endorsement, a prospective rider must:

  • Have a valid Connecticut driver’s license
  • Complete the application for a non-commercial driver’s license
  • Pay the necessary fees
  • Complete the knowledge and vision tests
  • Complete a training course approved by the DMV

Before you receive the endorsement, you also have the option to get a motorcycle learner’s permit. The permit lasts for 60 days, with the option to renew for another 60 days. It restricts you to riding only on local roads during daylight hours.

Are Motorcycle Helmets Required in Connecticut?

Connecticut law requires all motorcycle riders and passengers under the age of 18 to wear a federally-approved helmet. Motorcycle permit holders of any age must also wear helmets. Those who violate this law will face fees and possible consequences for their license.

Is Eye Protection Required for Motorcycle Riders?

The law also requires riders of motorcycles without a windshield or a windscreen to wear some form of protective gear for their eyes. Options include goggles, glasses, or a face shield.

What Equipment is Required for a Motorcycle to be Considered Street Legal?

If your motorcycle was built after 1979, Connecticut requires daytime headlights. Your motorbike must also have mirrors on the left and right sides. If you carry passengers on your motorcycle, it must be equipped with a proper seat and footrests.

Is There a Limit on How High Handlebars Can Be?

Connecticut law states a motorcycle’s handlebars must not reach higher than the rider’s shoulders.

Are There Rules Regarding the Muffler on a Motorcycle?

Connecticut statutes require motorcycles to have a muffler to prevent “excessive, unusual or unnecessary exhaust noise.” Noise restrictions prevent motorcycles from being louder than 84 decibels (dB) when traveling over 35 mph on a paved street or highway. You may not alter the muffler to amplify sound.

Can a Motorcycle Rider with a Learner’s Permit Carry a Passenger on Their Motorcycle?

Motorcycle riders with only a learner’s permit cannot carry passengers. You will only be allowed to carry passengers on your motorcycle after you have had the full motorcycle endorsement for 90 days if you are 18 or over or six months if you are 16 or 17.

Is Lane Splitting Legal in Connecticut?

Lane splitting is a maneuver where a motorcyclist moves between slower-moving lanes of traffic. Connecticut’s statutes forbid lane splitting, as state law requires all motor vehicles to move only within one lane of traffic. This law also prohibits lane filtering, where motorcyclists move between still lanes of traffic at stop lights.

What Are Connecticut’s Motorcycle Insurance Requirements?

Connecticut law requires all motor vehicle drivers to carry proof of liability insurance covering damage to others’ property and bodily injury. The minimum requirements are policies covering:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage per accident

Who Can Be Held Liable After a Motorcycle Accident?

When a motorcycle collision occurs, any party whose negligent actions contributed to the crash can potentially be held accountable. Parties who could be liable include:

  • Other motorists – Drivers who speed, text, drive aggressively, or violate other traffic laws may be responsible for a motorcycle rider’s injuries.
  • Government agencies – If dangerous road conditions like potholes or debris cause an accident, the municipality or Department of Transportation may be liable.
  • Manufacturers – If a defect in the motorcycle’s design or a faulty component like tires or brakes contributed to a crash, the manufacturer may share the fault.
  • Employers – If the rider was completing a work-related task when the collision happened, they may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer.

It is essential to examine all potential factors and parties that may have caused or contributed to the incident. A motorcycle accident attorney can help identify all negligent parties so you can pursue maximum compensation. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our Hartford motorcycle accident lawyer today for a free case review.

Contact a Connecticut Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Riding a motorcycle offers many benefits. It can be fun as long as you are operating your vehicle safely and within the bounds of the law. However, accidents can happen to even the safest motorcyclists when other parties behave negligently. If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and more. Working with an experienced Connecticut motorcycle accident lawyer can help make the process of demanding the money you deserve easier.

The attorneys at Jainchill & Beckert, LLC have 55 years of combined experience getting favorable results for our clients. We offer personalized customer service, meaning you will work directly with one or more of our partners rather than being passed off to a paralegal. Our efficiency and passion have earned us a stellar reputation among our many satisfied previous clients. Our Hartford personal injury attorneys are ready to put our skills to work for you, too. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.

Author Bill Beckert

For over three decades, Bill has dedicated his career to helping injury victims throughout Connecticut secure justice and accountability for injuries sustained at little to no fault of their own. In all cases, he places the best interest of his clients above all else. Describing the services we provide here at the firm, he explains, “We are fighters who work to ensure that our clients are informed and empowered so that we can achieve an outcome that provides peace of mind.”

After graduating from the University of Connecticut in 1989, he then earned his law degree in 1993 from the Western New England University School of Law. Since then, he has striven to make sure every client who steps into his office gets the high-quality representation and undivided attention they deserve. In recognition of his work, Bill has been listed in The National Trial Lawyers Top 100.