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What You Need to Know About New York Motorcycle Laws

Riding a motorcycle in New York comes with its own set of rules and regulations. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a newcomer, it’s important to follow licensing and safety laws.


To legally operate a motorcycle in New York State, you must possess a motorcycle operator’s license (Class M) or a motorcycle junior operator’s license (Class MJ). If you’re a resident of another state or country with a valid motorcycle license, you can drive a motorcycle in New York. However, if you’re under 18, you must adhere to the restrictions of both your home jurisdiction and New York State.

Special rules and required equipment

New York state has some specific rules and equipment requirements for motorcycles:

  • Helmets: All motorcycle operators and passengers must wear approved motorcycle helmets that meet federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS 218). Helmets should ideally have reflective material for improved visibility.
  • Eye protection: Approved eye protection is mandatory for all motorcycle operators, even if the motorcycle has a windshield. Windshields must be of an approved type, and prescription or custom-made safety glasses can be used if they meet DMV standards.
  • Lights: The motorcycle’s headlight and rear light must be on at all times while in operation.
  • Lane sharing: Motorcyclists can use a full lane and ride two abreast in a single lane. However, riding abreast of another vehicle in the same lane or between lanes is not allowed.
  • Passengers: You may bring passengers, provided they wear a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet. They must occupy a permanent seat on the motorcycle that can carry more than one person, with both feet on foot pegs unless seated in a properly attached sidecar.

Following these rules will help ensure your safety in case of an accident. If you were harmed in a motorcycle crash, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP for a consultation.