Have you been hurt in a motorcycle accident? Riding a motorcycle is one of the most freeing experiences, yet it is one of the most dangerous. Beyond any doubt, you have the right to ride and enjoy that time without feeling as though you’re at risk for injury.
Yet, mistakes happen. Sometimes other drivers put you at risk with their negligence. You have the right to compensation if you follow Tennessee motorcycle laws and still suffer an injury due to someone else’s negligence in a motorcycle accident.
At Gatti, Keltner Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, we work with individuals struggling after loss due to that type of negligence. Contact us immediately for legal guidance and support if you’ve been hurt.
Understanding Motorcycle Laws in Tennessee
As a motorcycle owner and operator in the state, you need to know Tennessee motorcycle laws. Whether you plan to spend your time driving into Nashville for a concert or just navigating across the state, it’s always necessary to follow state laws.
Here are some of the most important things you should know. You can find more details documented in the Tennessee Motorcycle Operator Manual.
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Who Can Operate a Motorcycle in Tennessee?
Under state law, individuals must be at least 16 years of age to operate a motorcycle in Tennessee. Once at that age, individuals must pass a state-mandated driving test to obtain their Class M motorcycle license.
There is an initial knowledge test to obtain a permit. Then, a skill test is given, as well as a vision screening process. Those who drive without the appropriate license may face fines and other penalties.
Individuals who operate a motorcycle in the state must also have motorcycle insurance. To register the bike, you must show proof that you have that insurance.
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Do Motorcycle Riders Have to Wear a Helmet in Tennessee?
As noted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), all motorcycle riders in the state must wear a helmet. This includes both riders and passengers. This applies to all types of motorcycles and riders of all experience levels.
Not all helmets are the same. To meet the standards set by state and federal agencies, helmets have to provide enough protection. Federal regulations require that helmets meet the U.S. Department of Transportation requirements, which means they must be tested for impact, penetration, retention system, and configuration.
The goal is to ensure that helmets sold in the U.S. to motorcycle riders are safe enough to provide ample protection. If you need to purchase a motorcycle helmet, ensure they meet either the Snell Helmet Safety Standards (also a recognized quality testing system) or the Federal Department of Transportation Standard 218.
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What Other Laws Apply to Motorcycle Riders in Tennessee?
Owning a motorcycle means ensuring it is safe for the road. Not only does that mean you will be safe, but it also means other drivers sharing the road with you are safe. Like all other vehicles, motorcycles must:
- Have working daytime headlights
- A working muffler (you cannot have a customized pipe that will increase volume)
- Mirrors must be on the left and the right
In addition to this, operators must have proper eyewear in place, or the bike must have a windshield on it. Passengers on the bike also need to have an actual seat for them to sit on, and they need to have a place to position their feet (footrests or pegs are acceptable).
Motorcycle operators must follow the rules of the road as well. One exception to this is that when riding together, motorcycle operators can maneuver next to each other, also called lane sharing. This is an option for two bikes next to each other.
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Do Motorcycle Riders Have to Have Insurance?
Like any other vehicle, operators must have proper insurance in place. Under the state of Tennessee’s laws, there are minimum standard requirements for motorcycle insurance. That includes $25,000 in bodily injury coverage for each person and $50,000 in bodily injury coverage for each accident.
In addition to this, drivers have to have $15,000 in property damage coverage for each incident. These are state minimums that cover other drivers and property owners in situations where your actions cause injury or other losses. They do not cover you or your bike.
To do that, most motorcycle riders should consider the investment in comprehensive and collision insurance. It is also important to consider the value of adding higher liability protection since many accidents cost more than the state’s minimum requirements. It may also be beneficial to consider medical payments coverage and uninsured/uninsured motorcycle insurance coverage.
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Who Is Responsible After a Motorcycle Accident?
When a motorcycle accident occurs, the end results can be devastating. Even with proper helmets and gear, riders tend to suffer significant injury, and bikes are often lost or require repairs. The blame after an accident is dependent on the circumstances, of course, and ultimately the police that arrive on the scene are likely to make decisions about what happened and who is to blame.
However, when an accident occurs, there are several things you can do to protect yourself:
- Never admit guilt. State just the facts when questioned about what occurred.
- Gather all of the information and evidence available to you, including photos of the scene, videos from cameras in the area, and witness names and statements to provide if your case goes to trial.
- Document what occurred in your own video as soon after the incident as possible while it is fresh in your memory.
Work with a Trusted Motorcycle Attorney Throughout the Legal Process
If you’ve suffered an injury or other loss after a motorcycle accident, turn to the motorcycle accident attorneys at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, for immediate help. We are available 24 hours a day to help you, and we want to ensure your rights are protected throughout this process.
Your first step to better understanding the implications of Tennessee motorcycle laws is to contact our attorneys for a no-obligation, free consultation. Let’s talk about what your legal rights are after such a damaging situation so you can start to rebuild.