Summer is the perfect time to go for a motorcycle ride. However, before you hit the road, it is important to know state motorcycle laws and to stay safe while you ride. The following article is intended to inform you about the different motorcycle laws in Tennessee, and to provide some general safety tips.
What are the Laws Regarding Motorcycles in Tennessee?
- Equipment Requirements:
- Helmets are required by all passengers and riders on a motorcycle.
- All riders and passengers on a motorcycle are required to have eye protection, unless the motorcycle is fitted with a windshield.
- Motorcycle Requirements:
- Your motorcycle needs at least one side mirror.
- Your motorcycle is required to have a headlamp that is to be illuminated, even during the day.
- There are no restrictions on handlebars or turn signals.
- License Requirements and Laws:
- You must be 16 years old or older to obtain a Class M license.
- A Class M license will allow a rider to have full use of their motorcycle.
- Obtaining a Class M license requires a full exam, including a knowledge and skills test.
- A document of completion from a Tennessee Certified Motorcycle Rider Education Program (MREP) can be used to waive the knowledge and skills portion of a Class M license test.
- Anyone who has a valid Tennessee driver’s license can ride a motorcycle with a piston displacement size of 50cc or less.
- Riders who are 15 may obtain a motorcycle permit which will place certain restrictions on the rider, including:
- The rider’s motorcycle must have a piston displacement of 650 or smaller.
- The rider may not carry passengers on the motorcycle.
- The rider may not use international highways.
- The rider may only ride during daylight hours.
- The rider may only ride within a 20 mile radius of his home.
- The rider may exchange his permit for a Class M license after a year without an exam.
- Riders who are younger than 18 must provide a Minor/Teenage Affidavit and Cancellation Form to obtain a Class M license.
- Insurance Requirements:
- $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person involved in a crash.
- $50,000 for total bodily injury coverage if multiple people are injured in a crash.
- $15,000 of property damage coverage.
Tips on How to Be Safe on a Motorcycle:
- Take a motorcycle safety course.
Motorcycle safety courses are a good idea for any rider. It is important to become comfortable with your motorcycle before you start using it regularly because many crashes are caused by inexperienced riders who haven’t gotten the “feel” of riding yet. Some seasoned riders even use motorcycle safety courses as a means of sharpening their skills, so there’s no reason not to attend to one.
- Prepare for the elements.
You will be exposed to all the road has to offer when you ride a motorcycle. So, you should wear thick, durable clothes that will keep you warm when you ride. Some motorcycle companies make their own clothes with built-in armor to protect you in case of a crash, but jeans and a leather jacket will work just fine too. Wear heavy boots that come up above your ankle, this will help prevent your feet from going numb and may help you to shift gears. Also consider wearing gloves, this is more for comfort but riding with frostbitten hands is not a pleasant experience. Always remember to wear a helmet that fits securely onto your head and has been approved by the US Department of Transportation (DOT).
- Have more than just basic coverage on your insurance policy.
Only having the minimum amount of insurance can put you in a bad spot in certain cases. It is always better to be prepared, especially when it comes to insurance. Consider adding the following coverages to your policy:
- Liability coverage. This will cover damages if you are found liable for a crash, and it should be considered a necessity.
- Uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage will compensate you for damages if you crash into a motorist that does not have insurance, or whose insurance policy will not pay for all of your damages.
- Comprehensive coverage. This will compensate you for damage or losses that were not a result of crashing into another car. For example, if your motorcycle was stolen or if you crashed into a tree, this coverage might compensate you.
- Roadside assistance. This coverage is more for riders who are planning on going for a long road trip. If you are broken down on the side of the road, roadside assistance will send you a tow truck and repair your motorcycle.