The motorcycle laws in Utah aren’t merely a legal obligation, they are a safeguard for every motorist on the road. These laws are put in place by Utah legislators and enforced by local law enforcement to achieve several critical objectives. Compliance with state laws can significantly influence the outcome of any subsequent legal proceedings or insurance claims. This is particularly relevant when seeking the counsel or representation of an injury lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT.

Traffic Laws for motorcycles in Utah aim to promote safety by establishing guidelines that govern how motorcycles should operate in various conditions — whether that’s how to handle a motorcycle in a school zone or the appropriate distance to maintain from other vehicles. These guidelines are not arbitrary; they are based on scientific research and statistics that pinpoint common causes of accidents, thereby providing practical measures to mitigate those risks.

This article aims to educate everyone, especially motorcyclists, on the essential traffic laws in Utah to ensure a safer riding experience. Keep reading and explore everything from lane splitting and filtering to traffic violations and penalties, offering a detailed account to keep you informed and compliant.

UT Helmet Laws

Utah’s helmet law is particularly stringent for riders under the age of 21 to help mitigate the risks associated with motorcycle accidents for this demographic, often considered more vulnerable due to less experience on the road. Helmets that meet federal safety standards are engineered to provide optimum protection against skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries, which are common in motorcycle accidents.

Even for riders over the age of 21, who aren’t legally obliged to wear a helmet, doing so is a prudent safety measure. Ignoring the helmet law, particularly for younger riders, could not only result in traffic infractions but may also weaken your case if you need to make a personal injury claim. In other words, your compensation could be reduced due to “modified comparative negligence,” a factor that any seasoned injury attorney in Salt Lake City, UT, would advise you to avoid.

License and Motorcycle Insurance

Before one revs up that engine, ensure a legal permit to ride. The motorcycle license law in Utah mandates that riders must complete a written test and a skills evaluation or an approved rider education course. Registration must be renewed annually, and riders are required to display a license plate at the rear of the motorcycle at all times.

While the state mandates the bare minimum insurance coverage, many riders opt for more comprehensive policies that cover more than just liability. These can include collision, comprehensive, and underinsured motorist coverage. Not having sufficient insurance could cause one to be in a precarious financial situation if found at fault in an accident. The immediate ramifications include license suspension and fines, but the long-term consequences could be far more detrimental.

Lane Splitting and Filtering

Utah stands out for its distinct approach to lane usage for motorcycles. While “lane splitting in Utah” is quite different from other states’ laws —  the act of riding a motorcycle between lanes of slow-moving or stopped cars is illegal — Utah does permit “lane filtering” under specific conditions. This practice allows motorcyclists to move between lanes of traffic that are stopped at an intersection.

However, the permission to filter comes with its own set of conditions. For instance, lane filtering is only permissible on roads where the speed limit is 45 mph or less. Additionally, the traffic must be stopped, and the motorcyclist should not exceed a speed of 15 mph while filtering.

Other Traffic Rules for Motorcycles

While motorcyclists in Utah are subject to the same traffic laws as those governing cars and trucks, there are several rules uniquely tailored to the operation of motorcycles. Here are some of the noteworthy motorcycle-specific rules you should be aware of:

  1. Access to High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes – Motorcycles are permitted to use High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, even when carrying only the rider. This allows for more efficient travel and can be particularly beneficial during peak traffic hours.
  2. Mandatory Use of Turn Signals – In Utah, motorcyclists are obliged to use turn signals for at least two seconds prior to making a turn or lane change. This rule aims to give adequate warning to other road users, thereby minimizing the risk of collisions.
  3. Passenger Restrictions – Motorcycles must be explicitly designed to carry passengers to legally do so. This means that the bike must have a proper seat and footrests for the passenger. Failure to comply could result in penalties.
  4. Handling Requirements – Motorcyclists are prohibited from carrying any item that restricts their ability to keep both hands on the handlebars. This rule is implemented to ensure that the rider maintains full control over the motorcycle at all times.

These specialized rules for motorcyclists enhance their own safety and that of others on the road. Non-compliance could result in penalties and may adversely affect one’s legal standing if an accident occurs, warranting consultation with an injury lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT.

Traffic Laws for Motorcycles in Utah: Violations and Penalties

Violating motorcycle traffic laws in Utah carries varying degrees of consequences, depending on the severity of the infraction. Penalties can range from relatively minor fines for issues like not using a turn signal to more significant penalties, such as imprisonment for serious offenses like Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or reckless driving.

  1. Monetary Fines – Fines are the most common form of penalty for less severe violations. However, these fines can accumulate and lead to higher insurance premiums, making even minor infractions a costly affair over time.
  2. Points on Driving Record – Utah employs a point system to track driving behavior. Accumulating too many points within a specific time frame can lead to the suspension of your motorcycle license.
  3. License Suspension or Revocation – More serious offenses, like DUI or driving recklessly, can result in the suspension or even revocation of your motorcycle license. A suspended license would require a reinstatement process that can be both lengthy and expensive.

Abiding by the state’s traffic laws not only keeps you out of legal trouble but also significantly enhances road safety for everyone. If you have questions or need legal guidance regarding motorcycle laws, traffic violations, or personal injury claims, contact us today for a consultation. Our Salt Lake City motorcycle accident lawyer at Craig Swapp and Associates is committed to assisting you in any way possible to recover.

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp