There’s maybe nothing more American than the idea of the zipping down the highway in a motorcycle. The motorcycle is the essence of independence and has added a “cool” factor to all who ride since the days of James Dean.
Yet, the open road can also be a dangerous one, even if you’re safe. When it comes to fatal motorcycle crashes, the majority involve a situation where the other, non-motorcycle vehicle is at fault. To limit damage and protect yourself, it is essential to grasp motorcycle laws in Kansas fully.
What are the Essential Motorcycle Laws?
To legally drive a motorcycle in Kansas, you need a driver’s license with a class “M” endorsement. To receive this endorsement, you need to have met specific criteria:
- Be at least 17 years old
- Successfully pass a written and driving skills test
- Provide proof of identity and Kansas residence
All motorcycles must have some form of eye protection. This includes protective glasses, goggles, or a windshield that rises to at least 10 inches tall from the center of the handlebars. You must be insured to drive a motorcycle, with coverage of at least $25,000 liability and $10,000 property damage. Personal injury protection is not required but generally encouraged.
Kansas enacted a series of motorcycle safety laws in the 1970s. For instance, all motorcycles manufactured after January 1, 1973, must have electric turn signals. Further, all motorcycles constructed after January 1, 1975, must have a side-view mirror mounted on the left side of the bike, and all motorcycles made after January 1, 1978, must have always-on headlights.
What are the Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Kansas?
Motorcycle helmets are a foundational source of safety when riding. However, Kansas is one of the few states that does not require adult riders to wear a helmet while on their motorcycle. “Adult” is the keyword here, as only those under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet in Kansas. The helmet must comply with the “minimum performance requirements established by the national highway traffic safety administration.”
Per Kansas state helmet laws, if you’re under 18 and caught not wearing a helmet, you can be subject to a fine of $52. While this is not a particularly hefty fine, the consequences of not wearing a helmet could include significant physical harm should you be involved in an accident.
How can I Avoid Having a Motorcycle Crash?
While wearing a motorcycle helmet is one of the best ways to protect yourself as a motorcyclist, there are additional ways to help prevent physical harm or damage. For instance, the protective clothing can also help prevent road rash or other damaging elements of rapidly meeting pavement during a crash. Thick clothing can also protect you when driving through hazardous weather.
If you’re driving with a passenger, it is Kansas law that the passenger has a seat and footpegs. It should be noted, also, that having a passenger on your bike takes more skill than riding alone. If you’re unsure of your ability to drive with a passenger, you can take motorcycle safety courses that will allow you to practice in a safe environment.
Some of the most significant benefits of motorcycles are their slim profile and maneuverability. However, motorcyclists should take advantage of these benefits and split lanes, pass vehicles in the same lane, or ride next to a motorcycle in the same lane. These are all against the law in Kansas.
How Palmer Law Can Help?
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, Palmer Law Group can help. We’ve practiced law in Kansas since 1979 and know the ins and outs of motorcycle and motorist law. With the fact that the majority of fatal motorcycle crashes involve the other motorist being at fault, we can have your back and protect your rights. Contact us today at 785-233-1836.
Image Credit: Shutterstock By Alexander Kirch