Biking 101: Utah’s Motorcycle Laws

Biking 101: Utah's Motorcycle Laws

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

Mostly, motorcycles have the same laws as cars and trucks on the roadway. There are important laws specific to motorcycles, however that are important to know:

  • A motorcycle can only pass a vehicle in front by changing lanes;
  • Motorcycles cannot ride over two side-by-side in one lane;
  • Passengers can only ride on bikes designed to carry more than one person;
  • Motorcycles may 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 carry nothing that would prevent him or her from keeping both hands on the handlebars;
  • Motorcycles may full use of a lane; and
  • The driver must signal a turn at least two seconds before executing the turn.
  • Under Utah Traffic Code 53-3-202, you must test for and receive a motorcycle endorsement on your Utah driver’s license 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 motorcycle you use to test is important as it might limit your riding options. 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.
  • Unlike many other states with “universal” helmet laws, Utah law only requires the use of a helmet for motorcycle drivers and passengers under the age of 18.

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

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