Given the vast amount of sunny days in the Tar Heel state, it’s obvious why so many riders are hitting highways like NC 74, 17 and 117. The warm weather and wind in your face make for a perfect combination for leisurely rides down Carolina’s coast. Unfortunately, this also means that there are a significant number of motorcycle-related injuries in the state.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 4,976 motorcyclists and passengers died in crashes, and with 88,000 nonfatal injuries. However, the NHTSA also estimated that helmets saved over 1,700 motorcyclists’ lives in 2018 alone.
In addition to the requirement to wear a helmet, there are a number of motorcycle laws that riders should be aware of in North Carolina.
Below is a list of some of the more significant laws on the books:
- All motorcyclists are required under state law to wear helmets at all times.
- There is no age restriction for passengers of a motorcycle. In order to operate a motorcycle, you need a North Carolina driver’s license to apply for a motorcycle endorsement.
- All motorcycles are entitled to the full use of their lane, and no other vehicle may be driven in a way that deprives the motorcycle of that full use. While motorcycles can be operated two abreast in a single lane, North Carolina law prohibits any more than two bikes in a single lane.
- There are no restrictions in helmet speakers or headphone use.
- Turn signals are not required, however, they are strongly encouraged and motorcyclists should use hand signals if turn signals are not present.
- There are no restrictions on handlebars in the state.
- All mufflers and exhaust system should be in good working order and remain in constant operation to prevent any unusual or excessive noise. Cutting out the muffler is not allowed, however, there are no noise restrictions for motorcycles.
- Liability insurance is required, and insurance companies can apply to the Insurance Bureau for a discount for graduates of rider education courses.
North Carolina offers some of the most ideal whether to stretch out the bike on the open road. However, according to recent studies, motorcyclists are 27 times as likely as automobile occupants to die in an accident, and six times more likely to be insured in a traffic crash.
Although these laws are meant to reduce any harm to motorcyclists, the fact remains that there are far too many accidents across the state. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle-related accident, it’s important to consult a qualified and experienced motorcycle attorney as soon as possible after your accident. An attorney can help you work with insurance companies and ensure that your rights are protected.