San Mateo Motorcycle Traffic Laws

San Mateo Motorcycle Traffic Laws

The rules for motorcycles overlap with traffic laws for other vehicles. However, there are some special laws that motorcycle riders need to observe. Understanding these laws is essential to keep riders from getting ticketed and to improve rider safety.

The other component is getting drivers to learn to look out for bikers and understand motorcycle safety rules. While bikers cannot change the behavior of other drivers, you can be aware of laws and best practices. Call one of our hard-working accident attorneys to learn more about San Mateo motorcycle traffic laws.

License Requirement

A driver’s license is not the same as a motorcycle license. In California, bikers need to have an M1 motorcycle license. If the biker has a moped or motorized bicycle, they need an M2 license. A person must be 16 years or older to apply for a license. For applicants under 21 years old, the first license is a learner’s permit.

Rider under the age of 21 have to take a motorcycle safety course before they can get their license. While the state does not require other riders to take the course, they do recommend it. The course includes classroom and riding components.

Riders over 21 need to pass a written test along with a motorcycle skills test. Once a person passes the test, they can get either a M1 or M2 license. Remember, motorcycle road laws in San Mateo require bikers to have a license.

Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

In addition to a motorcycle license, riders also need special motorcycle insurance.  The policy limits are $5,000 for property damage, $15,000 for bodily injury incurred by another, and $30,000 for bodily injury to others.

Riders also have to report most accidents—any causing more than $750 in property damage—to the DMV. Failure to report the accidents can result in the state suspending the motorcycle license. Calling the police is not enough — they do not report the accidents to the DMV. While that may seem like a burdensome extra step, the police do not know the dollar value of property damage at the scene.

While it is not required, most people recommend that bikers — and other drivers — carry insurance to cover their injuries if uninsured or underinsured drivers hit them. The minimum policy will cover those injuries, but $15,000 may not cover even a single day in intensive care, much less a more extended hospital stay. While having extra insurance is not a traffic law, it is a good idea for any San Mateo motorcycle rider.

Motorcycle Laws and Lane Splitting

Generally, bikers need to follow the same rules as other drivers. This includes observing all speed limits, traffic signs, traffic signals, and other directions. However, there is one law that sets California apart from other states — it allows bikers to lane split.

Lane splitting is when a biker rides between lanes of traffic. Bikers should not do it when traffic is moving at average speeds. Instead, they should only do it when traffic is slow or stopped. It allows bikers to move more quickly, which can help eliminate congestion and may be safer for them. However, lane splitting — also known as whitelining or stripe-riding — when traffic is moving at speed can be extremely dangerous.

Other than lane splitting, San Mateo cyclists should observe the same traffic laws as other drivers. While the regulations may be the same, safety rules are not. Bikers should drive defensively, assuming other drivers cannot see them, and be constantly prepared to react to changing circumstances.

Helmets Are Mandatory

While the state may allow lane splitting, it mandates helmets for all riders, regardless of age or insurance status. Bikers and their passengers must wear U.S. DOT-certified motorcycle helmets on any public roads. The helmets must be fastened and fit appropriately.

While helmet laws are controversial among many bikers, the facts are undeniable. Helmets dramatically reduce the risk of death and traumatic brain injuries. So, San Mateo motorcycle riders should follow helmet laws.

Learn More About Motorcycle Traffic Laws in San Mateo

If a rider has any questions about motorcycle laws, they can always contact an attorney. A lawyer could advise you of all applicable laws and rules and give you additional information, such as suggesting what type of insurance coverage a biker actually needs. Schedule a consultation to learn more about San Mateo motorcycle traffic laws.

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