For those planning to ride on Connecticut’s roads, it’s advised to be aware of the local laws in advance. What should you know?
Is Your Bike Actually a Motorcycle?
This may seem like a strange question, but Connecticut differentiates bikes between mopeds and motor scooters for licensing, registration and insurance purposes.
Motor scooters encompass all bikes with an engine smaller than 50cc, requiring foot or hand power to operate or being able to travel no faster than 30 miles per hour (MPH) using automatic transmission. Anyone riding a moped simply needs a driver’s license and the owner does not need to register the vehicle.
Motor scooters are the category where most motorcycle models fall. Based on classifications from Connecticut State Law Title 14 Sec. 14-286, a motor scooter is a two-wheeled motor-driven vehicle with an engine larger than 50cc and capable of driving over 30 MPH.
Owners not only need to register their motorcycles, get a state plate and purchase insurance, but they also need to have a motorcycle endorsement on their Connecticut driver’s license.
Getting a License
Are you under the age of 18 and interested in a motorcycle endorsement? Connecticut requires all motorcycle riders under the age of 18 to take a beginner’s DMV-approved motorcycle training course.
A motorcycle learner’s permit is another option, prior to getting your endorsement. The permit lasts for 60 days and can be renewed for an additional 60 days after. To obtain a motorcycle rider’s permit in Connecticut, you need to have already earned your driver’s license. Yet once you have it, a permit restricts you to:
- Riding only in Connecticut during daylight hours.
- Riding alone – no passengers.
- Local roads only – no multi-lane highways.
- Traveling with state-appropriate safety gear – for riders 18 and under, this includes vision protection and a helmet.
From here, you’ll have the opportunity to take the DMV-approved safety course and study for your motorcycle test to get an endorsement. The written test is similar to your driver’s license: Connecticut has a written portion with 16 questions, based on the Connecticut Motorcycle Manual and the Connecticut Driver’s Manual. A riding test also needs to be taken at one of the DMV Hub Offices.
To officially apply for your motorcycle endorsement, the state requires:
- Your Connecticut driver’s license
- Proof of completing a DMV-approved safety course
- For riders under 18, a notarized Certificate of Parental Consent (Form 2D) form
- A completed Non-Commercial Driver’s License application (Form R-229)
- Payment for the vision and knowledge tests
If you pass both tests, you’ll receive an “M” endorsement on your driver’s license. After you receive an endorsement, you must wait to have passengers on your bike. Connecticut requires new riders over 18 to wait 90 days and new riders 16 or 17 years old to wait six months for this privilege.
Connecticut requires all motorcycle riders to have eye protection of some kind, such as goggles, unless the bike is equipped with a windscreen.
For many years, state law required riders under 18 and anyone with an instructional permit (regardless of age) to wear a helmet. As of 2019, the helmet requirement age increased to 21, making Connecticut one of nine states to require 20-year-old motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.
Any bike’s handlebars must fall no higher than the operator’s shoulders. The state considers anything above this limit to be illegal. Mufflers are also required – factoring in noise laws, they cannot be louder than the OEM version that came with your motorcycle. Make sure those on your bike do not have cutouts or straight pipes. Additionally, your motorcycle must feature a left/right mirror but turn signals are not mandatory.
Connecticut also has required daytime headlight usage, if your motorcycle was built after 1979.
Are you planning to have a passenger? Make sure your ride has the right features, including a foot rest and seat.
Behavior On the Road
Everyone needs to follow the rules of the road – motorcyclists included. Beyond what you learned in driver’s education class, a biker must be aware of the following:
- Lane splitting, when a biker rides on the line between two rows of cars, is illegal in this state.
- No more than two motorcycles can occupy a single lane.
- Bikes can only make a certain amount of noise: 80dba/84dba if your motorcycle was manufactured after 1975, 82dba/86dba if before.
- The state has no age restrictions for passengers on your bike.
As you get out on the road, it’s imperative you prepare for emergencies. Beyond appropriate gear and following standard traffic laws, what else should you keep in mind?
- The state’s lemon laws cover motorcycles.
- Any insurance coverage must have a minimum compulsory liability of 20/40/10.
- Riders are further required to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that meets the state minimums for death and bodily injury.
- Make sure to schedule and complete periodic inspections.
Read More… Motorcycle Safety Tips
Even when riders are careful and follow all state laws, motorcycle accidents can happen. Trantolo & Trantolo does more than represent motorcycle accident cases – many of our staff members ride too. We understand the motorcycle experience and apply this knowledge to every claim we take on. If you or a loved one is hurt in a motorcycle accident, contact us today.