It’s finally motorcycle season again in Minnesota. There are few experiences more exhilarating than tearing down a forest-flanked strip of highway on your bike. Scenery whizzing by, the sun beating down on you: it’s the sensation anyone rolling around on two wheels lives for. Before you hit the road, though, you need to make sure your gear – and knowledge – is up to snuff.
Laws everyone needs to follow
Minnesota motorcycle laws are different depending on whether you’re driving on a motorcycle permit or a license endorsement. Regardless of what you have, there are some hard and fast laws that apply to everyone:
- You must have a permit or endorsement.
- You must have your bike registered and display your license plate.
- You must carry your proof of insurance while riding.
- You must wear eye protection – face shield, goggles or glasses; windshields don’t count.
If you have a license endorsement and are over 18 years old, the law does not require you to wear a helmet. That said, it’s still a good idea to wear one.
For the permit riders
Taking everything above into consideration, these are the next set of rules you’ll need to follow if you’re riding with a permit and don’t want to get pulled over:
- You must wear a Department of Transportation-approved helmet.
- You must not carry passengers.
- You must not ride on interstate freeways.
- You must not ride at night.
No midnight rides down the freeway for permit carriers, and make sure you have your DOT-approved helmet on at all times.
Keep the law on your side while riding
Most of the driving laws you’ll need to follow while riding are no different than the ones automobile drivers need to follow: Don’t drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, don’t run red lights, etc. There are a few unique rules of the road you’ll have to keep in your head, though. And even a perk or two along the way:
- You are entitled to the full use of your driving lane.
- You are permitted to travel in high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) carpool lanes while riding solo.
- Splitting traffic is illegal. You may ride side-by-side with another motorcyclist, though.
- Wheelies, stoppies and standing on the seat are all considered careless and reckless driving.
- You may not carry anything that interferes with holding onto the handlebars.
- You may wear headphones, but only in one ear.
And there you have it, a quick look at Minnesota’s motorcycle laws. Now that you’re educated, grab your gear, rev your engine and set out for a great season of riding. Drive safely!