Oregon Motorcycle Laws
If you are a motorcycle enthusiast in Oregon, you already know that the open road offers a thrilling experience like no other. But do you also know that it is essential to be aware of the laws and regulations that govern motorcycle riding in Oregon? Understanding and adhering to these laws can not only keep you safe but can also ensure you’re on the right side of the law at all times.
The Legal Requirements for Operating a Motorcycle in Oregon
First and foremost, there are certain fundamental legal requirements for operating a motorcycle in Oregon:
- Valid Motorcycle-Endorsed Driver License or Permit: To legally operate a motorcycle in Oregon, you must possess a valid motorcycle-endorsed driver’s license or a valid motorcycle instruction permit.
- DOT-Compliant Motorcycle Helmet: Safety is paramount when riding a motorcycle. Oregon law mandates that all riders wear a motorcycle helmet that meets DOT (Department of Transportation) standards.
- Registration and License Plate: Just like any other vehicle, your motorcycle needs to be registered, and you must display a valid license plate.
- Liability Insurance (25/50/20): Motorcyclists are required to have liability insurance with a minimum coverage of 25/50/20. This coverage ensures that you can cover potential costs in case of an accident.
- Carrying Necessary Documents: When riding your motorcycle, it’s essential to carry your endorsed driver’s license or motorcycle instruction permit, your driver’s license, vehicle registration card, and current proof of insurance.
For motorcyclists riding with a motorcycle instruction permit, additional rules apply:
- Supervision by an Endorsed Rider: You must be supervised by an endorsed rider who is 21 years or older and operating a separate motorcycle.
- Daylight Hours: Riding is permitted only during daylight hours.
- No Passengers: You are not allowed to carry passengers while riding with a motorcycle instruction permit.
It is also worth noting that the penalty for riding without a motorcycle endorsement can be significant, potentially reaching up to $720 plus court costs. Therefore, it is important to ensure you have the proper endorsements and documentation.
To keep the roads safe and ensure your motorcycle is street-legal, Oregon has specific equipment requirements, including:
- Headlights: Your motorcycle must have at least one white headlight that is illuminated at all times. Modulating headlights are allowed during daylight hours. Some motorcycles may have up to three white headlights.
- Tail Lights and Reflectors: Your motorcycle should have at least one red taillight with a red stop lamp, along with one red reflector on the rear. Additionally, it should have one white license plate light, one rear-view mirror, and a functional horn.
- Turn Signal Lights: While motorcycles built before 1973 are not required to have turn signal lights, it’s advisable to have them for safety. Vehicles without turn signal lights should not be operated after dark.
- Fenders on All Wheels: Fenders must be present on all wheels of your motorcycle.
- Brake Operated by Hand or Foot: Your motorcycle should have at least one brake that can be operated by either hand or foot.
- Exhaust System: The exhaust system must be in good working order and in constant operation. It must prevent the discharge of any visible emissions and keep noise levels within standards set by the Department of Environmental Quality.
- License Plate Visibility: Your motorcycle’s license plate should be easily readable and plainly visible from the rear.
These equipment requirements are in place to ensure both your safety and the safety of other road users.
Lane Sharing and Passenger Rules
Oregon law stipulates that a motorcycle may share a lane only with one other motorcycle. Lane sharing, also known as lane splitting or filtering, with any other vehicle is illegal.
Additionally, if you carry a passenger, your motorcycle must have a passenger seat and footrests. Passengers are only allowed to ride in a passenger seat behind the operator or in a sidecar. Passengers are required to wear DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets.
While Oregon does not have specific requirements regarding passenger age or size, it is essential to use good judgment. Passengers should be large enough to reach the footrests, strong enough to hold on securely and mature enough to follow directions and behave predictably.
Oregon’s Red Light Law
Oregon’s Red Light Law is particularly important for motorcyclists. If, after coming to a complete stop, a traffic light controlled by a vehicle sensor fails to detect your motorcycle after waiting one full cycle of the light, you may proceed with caution, yielding to other vehicles.
Dealing with Smaller Motorcycle Accident Claims
Sometimes, accidents involving motorcycles result in smaller claims, typically less than $10,000. In these cases, the liable insurance companies may present low or no settlement offers, making it challenging for the injured parties to secure representation due to the size of the claim.
However, Oregon has ORS 20.080, a law that provides a solution to this problem. This law allows injured parties with claims less than $10,000 to seek an equitable settlement for documented medical costs, property losses, and other expenses. If the at-fault party or their insurance company refuses to settle, you have the right to litigate or arbitrate a settlement.
This process has a significant advantage: you can retain an experienced Oregon motorcycle accident attorney to represent you, with applicable attorney fees and court costs paid by the other party in addition to any settlement paid to you. This approach can level the playing field and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Why Hire an Oregon Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Even a minor motorcycle accident can lead to major injuries that can be financially overwhelming. First-year medical expenses alone can range from $400,000 to over a million dollars, with ongoing costs of up to $175,000 per year. Additional costs may include personal care and assistance, income loss, modifications to accommodate physical limitations, and more.
In such cases, seeking legal representation is crucial. An experienced Oregon motorcycle accident attorney can help protect your rights, navigate complex insurance issues, and pursue the best financial settlement to cover your extensive costs.
Reach Out to Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC
If protecting your legal rights after a motorcycle accident in Oregon matters to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC. Your initial consultation is free, and we are ready to help you navigate the complexities of your Oregon motorcycle accident claim.