traffic laws for cars and motorcycles

5 Differences Between Traffic Laws For Cars and Motorcycles

Regarding traffic laws, there are significant differences in how they apply to cars and motorcycles. This is even more true in a city like St. Louis.

The most recent data for the city was recorded in 2017, when a total of 113 fatal accidents involving motorcycles were recorded. Furthermore, these fatalities comprised 4.5% of over 2,400 motorcycle accidents recorded in the same year–a disturbing series of statistics. A reputed St. Louis motorcycle accident law firm can help accident victims file a claim to get the compensation they deserve. If you ever find yourself in a similar accident situation, seeking legal counsel is the fastest way to navigate the claim process. 

Traffic laws for cars and motorcycles actually differ, and it pays to be prepared if you’re a motorcycle rider yourself. Read on to know more about how the rules differ, so you won’t be in trouble next time you ride out. 

1. Lane Splitting

One major difference between traffic laws for cars and motorcycles is lane splitting. Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle rider travels between two lanes of stopped or slowly moving vehicles heading in the same direction. While it is legal in some states like California, most states prohibit this practice. On the other hand, cars are not allowed to travel between lanes except in specific circumstances, such as merging onto a highway where lanes merge.

2. Helmet Laws

Another major difference is helmet requirements for motorcyclists. Most states require that motorcycle riders wear helmets while operating their vehicles on public roads. At the same time, car drivers have no such requirement unless they drive with children in car seats or booster seats under specific age limits.

3. Turn Signals

Motorcycle riders must use hand signals when turning or changing lanes instead of electronic turn signals used by automobiles unless their bike comes equipped with turn signal indicators that meet federal regulation standards for visibility from at least 500 feet away during daylight hours or 300 feet away during nighttime hours.

4. Passenger Restrictions

Many states restrict passengers riding with motorcyclists; most commonly, these requirements stipulate that only licensed motorcycle operators can carry passengers under certain conditions like having passenger pegs installed on their bikes (footrests), having an approved passenger seat, wearing appropriate protective gear, etc. Additionally, passengers must follow state law requirements which usually impose helmet-wearing regulations similar to those required for bikers; however, car drivers have no restrictions regarding carrying passengers beyond standard safety recommendations.

5. Carrying Loads

Lastly, laws regarding carrying loads differ significantly between cars and motorcycles since bikes need more carrying capacity. Moving items on a motorcycle that interfere with the rider’s control, impede other motorists’ visibility or movements, or damage the pavement is illegal. 

Some states have prescribed specific weight and size limits on cargo and load placement while operating motorcycles. Trucks and cars can only haul specific loads up to exact weights, but they must follow regulations such as securing loads properly. Remember this when you book these vehicles for a major move to a new city, because going overboard can cause devastating accidents.  

Consequences for Non-compliance

Non-compliance with traffic laws can result in fines, points deducted from driver’s licenses, imprisonment in serious cases, damaged reputation, and many more consequences depending on state-specific law violations. Furthermore, ignoring helmet-wearing requirements can also lead to serious brain injuries when accidents occur, often resulting in permanent disabilities.

Breaking traffic laws can also result in higher insurance premiums. Such companies consider traffic violations indicators of risky behavior and may raise premiums or even deny coverage altogether. This can have long-term financial implications for individuals, making it more expensive to maintain vehicle insurance.

Reckless driving, speeding, or failing to yield can cause collisions and damage vehicles, infrastructure, and other property. The guilty party is responsible for repairing or replacing damaged property, which can be expensive. Moreover, the responsible party may be legally liable for the resulting harm if the violation directly contributes to an accident and causes injuries or property damage. This can lead to costly lawsuits and potential financial compensation to the victims.


In conclusion, traffic laws for motorcycles differ from those for automobiles primarily due to their size differences and safety issues. Motorcycle riders must recognize these differences because compliance with these rules helps prevent unwanted legal actions against them while promoting safe driving practices amongst all road users- bikers or car drivers alike. It is important always to be aware of state-specific regulations regarding vehicles one drives or rides as this would best ensure compliance in keeping everyone safe on the roads.

Similar Posts