Biking 101: Utah’s Motorcycle Laws 2017

Posted by George Tait | Dec 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

It's midafternoon and you're cruising down the highway on your new motorcycle, loving the feel of the fresh air whipping across your face. You're lost in your thoughts and the gorgeous Utah scenery when suddenly; you hear a siren behind you. It takes a moment before you realize that a police car is stopping you.  But why?

If you're biking in Utah (and if you aren't you should be!) you need to have a basic familiarity with Utah motorcycle laws. The last thing you want to deal with on your ride is a chat with a local policeman.  The laws are straightforward and easy to follow once you know them.

Utah Safety Gear Laws

Unlike many other states with “universal” helmet laws, Utah law only requires the use of a helmet for motorcycle drivers and passengers who are under the age of 21 (see Desert News and here. Utah law sets out very specific requirements on the types of helmets that are considered suitable for minors to wear when on motorcycles. You best bet is to shop at a store familiar with Utah motorcycle laws who can help you buy a helmet that complies with Utah law and also provides the most head protection.

Even though Utah law doesn't mandate helmets for adults, it is always a good idea for all bikers to wear helmets for protection in case of an accident.  Traumatic brain injury is a common outcome of motorcycle accidents and a helmet can help protect against serious injury or even death.

Utah law does not require that motorcyclists use eye protection but it is recommended for safety and for riding enjoyment. A faceshield that is impact-resistant helps protect your face in a crash and keeps dirt, rain, insects, and wind from hitting your face and eyes. Goggles are the next best option as they will help keep your eyes from watering and won't blow off while riding. Like helmets, the best advice is to try several types on for size and fit before deciding and always opt for the maximum amount of protection.

Utah Motorcycle Licensing Requirements

Under Utah Traffic Code 53-3-202, you must test for and receive a motorcycle endorsement on your Utah driver's license in order to operate a motorcycle on public roads.  If you are at least 16 years old and hold a current valid Utah license, you can apply for a temporary learner permit by taking a written test and paying a fee. The learner permit is valid for six months after which you can take a riding test to obtain the motorcycle endorsement.

The type of motorcycle that you use to test is important as it might limit your riding options in the future. The size restrictions are:

0 = 90 cc or less

2 = 249 cc or less

3 = 649 cc or less

If you are tested on a motorcycle with 650 cubic centimeters or more than you will have no restriction on your license and you may ride any size motorcycle.

Utah Traffic Laws

For the most part, motorcycles are subject to the same laws as cars and trucks on the roadway. There are some important laws specific to motorcycles, however, that are important to know:

  • A motorcycle can only pass a vehicle in front of them by changing lanes;
  • Motorcycles cannot ride more than two side-by-side in one lane;
  • Passengers can only ride on bikes that are designed to carry more than one person;
  • Motorcycles are permitted to use the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes;
  • Motorcycles cannot “lane share” or ride between rows of vehicles or lanes of traffic; (there has been some discussion in the legislature about changing this law);
  • A motorcyclist must not carry anything that would prevent him or her from keeping both hands on the handlebars;
  • Motorcycles are entitled to full use of a lane; and
  • The driver must signal a turn at least two seconds before executing the turn.

For more details regarding Utah traffic motorcycle laws, you can consult Utah's Motorcycle Operator Manual.

Before biking, make sure you have the proper safety gear and a motorcycle learner's permit or endorsement on your license as well as proof of insurance. Get familiar with the Utah traffic laws pertaining to motorcycles. And then, there's nothing left to do but enjoy the ride!

At Utah Bike Law we're Utah bikers who help the Utah biking community with all of its legal needs. If you've been involved in a motorcycle accident and have any questions, please reach out by calling 801-487-6454 or visiting us online to find out more about how our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys can help you.

Utah Bike Law is a law firm and its lawyers who ride represent motorcycle riders and their families across Utah including the counties and cities of Beaver, Box Elder, Cache, Carbon, Daggett, Davis, Duchesne, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Iron, Juab, Kane, Millard, Morgan, Piute, Rich, Salt Lake, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier, Summit, Tooele, Uintah, Utah, Wasatch, Washington, Wayne, Weber, American Fork, Beaver, Bountiful, Brigham City, Cedar City, Delta, Draper, Duchesne, Fillmore, Heber, Kamas, Kanab, Kaysville, Layton, Lehi, Logan, Moab, Murray, Nephi, Ogden, Orem, Park City, Price, Provo, Richfield, Riverton, Roy, Salt Lake City, Sandy, South Jordan, St. George, Tooele, Vernal, West Jordan, and West Valley City. Utah Bike Law and its attorneys are licensed to practice law only in the State of Utah and maintain offices in Salt Lake City, Utah. No attorney client relationship is established by simply visiting this website.

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About the Author

George Tait

Since 2004 George Tait has dedicated his practice to helping injured people and their families get fair and full compensation from the insurance companies. Before becoming an attorney George Tait was a Registered Nurse for over 15 years. The last years of his nursing career were in the Universit...


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