Your Quick Guide to Motorcycle Laws in Utah

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Motorcycle accident injuries in Utah

A land of mountains, valleys, canyons, and unique red rock, The Beehive State is one of the most picturesque areas in the country. Regardless of where you go, you’re sure to find some stunning views. But before you decide to hit the open road on your motorcycle, there are a few things you should know.

Like most states, Utah has several laws governing motorcycle travel. You must have a basic understanding of these regulations to use your vehicle worry-free. After all, the last thing you want on your ride is to deal with a stern policeman.

That’s not all. Utah’s motorcycle laws are designed to protect you on the road. With the state witnessing multiple motorcycle-related fatalities each month, following these guidelines can help you ride safer.

Everything You Need to Know about Motorcycle Laws in Utah

Ready to dive into the motorcycle laws in Utah? We’ve compiled a quick guide detailing everything you need to know.  

Here we go!

1. Motorcycle Insurance  

You probably know that motorcycle insurance covers damage to you or your vehicle in the event of an accident/theft. What many people aren’t aware of, however, is that you legally require motorcycle insurance to operate your vehicle in Utah. Otherwise, you may have to face hefty penalties, including fines and license suspensions.

That’s not all. Uninsured motorcyclists who get in an accident must shell out for their medical and associated bills out-of-pocket. Since these costs can add up quickly, it’s best to acquire motorcycle insurance as soon as you get your wheels.  

Based on your requirements, you can choose the following types of motorcycle insurance.

  • Bodily injury liability: Covers medical expenses and lost wages for another driver when you’re at fault. Note that this type of coverage does not pay for your medical bills.
  • Property damage liability: Covers other people’s property damage when you are at fault.
  • Medical payments: Covers reasonable and necessary medical expenses.
  • Personal injury protection: Helps reimburse you for medical bills, lost income, funeral bills, and childcare, among other things.
  • Collision coverage: Covers damage caused by crashes with other vehicles.
  • Comprehensive damage: Covers damage caused by things other than crashes.

A word of caution here. Unless you add a motorcycle to your existing policy, your auto insurance will likely not cover it. You may need to purchase it separately.

2. Lane Filtering

By definition, lane filtering is using the road space between vehicles. It occurs when a rider moves between two lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic to arrive at an intersection.

In 2019, Utah passed a new law that legalizes lane filtering but only under certain circumstances.

  • The posted speed limit is less than 45 mph. You can’t filter lanes on the freeway.
  • You cannot exceed 15 mph in speed.
  • The road must have two or more lanes going in the same direction.
  • The vehicles on either side must be stationary.

Lane filtering has several perks, provided it is done right. For starters, it can reduce congestion at busy traffic lights and minimize crashes. However, you should try your hand at filtering only when you’re experienced enough.

3. Licensing Requirements

Are you curious whether you’ll need a license to take your shiny new motorcycle for a spin?

In short, absolutely. According to motorcycle laws in Utah, it is illegal for anyone to operate a motorcycle without a special license. A license proves you have the minimal skills and competency to ride the vehicle safely.  

To be eligible for a motorcycle license in Utah, you must:

  • Be 16 years or older in age
  • Have a state driving license
  • Prove that you’re a Utah resident
  • Complete a medical form
  • Pass a written and vision text
  • Earn your learner’s permit
  • Pass the motorcycles skill exam
  • Pay the licensing fees

But do you get free reign after securing your license? No, you don’t. You’ll still have to follow a few regulations during the initial phase. For example, for the first two months, you cannot:

  • Take any passengers
  • Ride between 10 PM and 6 AM
  • Ride on roads with speed limits of 60 mph or more

However, these restrictions cease after the third month, so you won’t have to wait for long!

4. Helmet and Eye Protection

Surprisingly enough, Utah does not require adult riders (18 and above) to wear helmets while riding motorcycles. But if you are under 18, you must wear protective headgear.  

Either way, it’s always a good idea to wear a helmet when riding a bike. Bike helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by at least 45%, face injury by 27%, and fatal injury by 27%. If you don’t want your precious joyride to end at the hospital, we suggest you invest in a helmet, stat.

Ready to buy a helmet but not sure how to pick one? Make sure it:

  • Fits snugly around your head and does not wobble around
  • Sits level and low, but not too much. Otherwise, it might compromise your vision. Ideally, the helmet should sit right at the top of your neck.
  • Is comfortable and does not suffocate you

If you’re seeking medical damages for a motorcycle accident, bear in mind that failing to wear a helmet does not constitute comparative or contributory negligence on your part. It cannot be introduced as evidence in any civil litigation.

Motorcycle laws in Utah do not require eye protection, but it is recommended for safety. An impact-resistant face shield can protect your face in a crash. Besides, it can also keep dirt, rain, and bugs from hitting your face/eyes. Goggles are the next best thing, as they’ll prevent your eyes from watering and stay in place.  

5. Traffic Laws in Utah

In Utah, motorcycles are subject to the same laws as cars and trucks for the most part. However, some laws apply specifically to motorcycles. Here’s what they are.

  • Motorcycles can only pass vehicles in front of them by changing lanes
  • Only two or fewer motorcycles can run side by side in a single lane
  • Motorcyclists must keep both hands on their handlebars at all times. You cannot carry anything that prevents this
  • Motorcyclists are entitled to a full lane
  • Motorcyclists are permitted to use the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes
  • The rider must signal at least two seconds before making a turn.
  • Motorcyclists cannot have a pillion rider unless the vehicle is intended for two people

What Makes a Motorcycle Street Legal in Utah?

If you’re like us, you may have drooled over exotic sports bikes at some point. However, not all motorcycles you see on a magazine cover are street legal.

What does this mean?

Simply put, a street-legal vehicle is fit for use on ordinary roads. It has all the features the law requires for it to be driven on public lanes.

For example, for a motorcycle to be street-legal in Utah, it must have:

  • A title
  • A registration number
  • A rearview mirror on the left side
  • Handlebars that are lower than the shoulders
  • A passenger footrest and handholds if intended for passengers
  • Turn signals (if originally installed)
  • Horn
  • Odometer
  • One headlamp, tail lamp, and stop lamp
  • A braking system
  • A Utah-state compliant muffler and emission control feature  

The Bottom Line  

Few things compare to the thrill and freedom of riding a motorcycle. Hopefully, this post has given you some insight into Utah’s motorcycle laws. Complying with these regulations will keep you out of trouble and ensure your safety on the road!

Were you involved in a motorcycle accident? You need an experienced motorcycle attorney to back you up. At Carlson Injury, our motorcycle accident attorney will pull all the stops to get you the justice you deserve. For more information, feel free to contact us today!