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Motorcycle Laws in Tennessee

Posted on June 4, 2022 in

As a motorcyclist in Tennessee, safety and preventing accidents are primary concerns. Here are the important laws to know before hitting the road.

Minimum Required Insurance

All riders are required to carry proof of financial responsibility at all times. For most riders, that means auto insurance coverage. The state requires liability insurance in the minimum amount of:

  • $30,000 for death or bodily injury to one person
  • $60,000 for death or bodily injury to two or more persons
  • $15,000 for damage or destruction of property

This type of policy will only pay for the harm you cause in an accident. Additional types of optional coverage will have to be purchased to cover you and your motorcycle in the event of a crash.

License and Age Requirements

To legally operate a motorcycle in Tennessee, riders must be at least 16 years of age and carry a Class M license. In some instances, a 15-year-old can also get a specific permit to begin learning how to ride. To receive a Class M license, you must complete a vision screening, a written knowledge test, and a road skills test. Alternatively, if you have a valid driver’s license (Class D license), you can complete a Tennessee Certified Motorcycle Rider Education Program (MREP) to bypass the written and road skills tests. Possible penalties for riding without a motorcycle license include a fine, points added to your driving record, and your motorcycle being impounded.

Helmet Laws

Tennessee has a universal helmet law, which means all riders and passengers must wear a helmet regardless of their age or experience. In addition, the helmet must be Department of Transportation (DOT) approved. Approved helmets will have a DOT sticker or label on them. Failure to wear a helmet can result in a ticket and fine of $50, up to 30 days in jail, and liability for your injuries in an accident.

Equipment Requirements

Tennessee law requires motorcycles to have headlights, tail lights, brake lights, front and rear brakes, turn signals, two mirrors, and a horn. If a bike does not have a windshield, riders must wear a face shield, goggles, or safety glasses with impact-resistant lenses. Motorcycles must have a separate passenger seat installed and securely attached footrests to carry a passenger.

The Law on Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is when motorcyclists drive between two lanes of traffic, which is illegal in Tennessee. Although it can be tempting to ride in between lanes, especially in heavy traffic, a rider risks getting a ticket but also liability if an accident were to occur. Motorcyclists are typically found entirely or at least partially responsible for lane splitting accidents in Tennessee.

Contact Us if You Need Help

Knowing these laws can help you avoid an expensive traffic ticket, as well as keep you safe. However, if you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, speak to our Mount Juliet Motorcycle Accident Lawyer. We can help you make sure the at-fault party is held accountable, and you recover the compensation you deserve.