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  • Writer's pictureBrad Keating

A Comprehensive Guide to Ohio Motorcycle Laws

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

Few things in life give the feeling of freedom and excitement that a motorcycle can. Riding on a motorcycle is also a fantastic way to get around, and certainly makes your commute more thrilling than taking the bus! However, you must keep safety in mind when riding a motorcycle. Motorcycle safety is arguably even more important than other types of road safety, as you're more vulnerable to accidents and injury when riding a motorcycle.

Another thing to keep in mind is that motorcycle accidents are relatively common in Ohio. In 2015 alone, there were over 3000 motorcycle accidents just in the state of Ohio. This is why you must take as many safety precautions as possible if you ride a motorcycle. There are also a number of laws that you must follow when riding a motorcycle in Ohio, and many of these are related to safety on the road.

What Does a Motorcycle Need to be Street Legal in Ohio?

If you want to ride a motorcycle in Ohio, it must be street legal. This means it must have a brake light, a tail light, and a headlight. The motorcycle must have front and rear brakes. Finally, the motorcycle must have a horn, turn signals, and two mirrors, and these must all be functional.

What are the Motorcycle Laws in Ohio?

General Ohio Motorcycle Laws

In Ohio, there are laws related to all aspects of your motorcycle, including building specifications. There are also laws related to what kinds of maneuvers you are allowed to make on the road. By following these motorcycle laws, you can ensure that you keep yourself safe on the road, as well as any passengers you might have. The motorcycle laws in Ohio aren't very restrictive and are generally related to permits and the types of motorbike you can legally operate.

In Ohio, there are also laws related to the kind of protection you need to use while riding a motorbike. However, head protection isn't legally required for most motorcycle users. In Ohio, the main thing you need to ensure is that you use eye protection and that your bike's seat is properly attached to the bike. You also need to make sure your passengers follow the safety laws, too. For example, if you have a passenger who is under 18, they need to wear some type of head protection, even if you don't have to yourself.

How You Should be Seated

It is not legal to operate a motorcycle in Ohio unless you are sitting on a seat that is permanently attached to the bike. Also, if you want to transport a passenger, they have to be sitting on a seat that is regularly attached to the motorcycle. While riding the motorcycle, you cannot transport or carry anything that stops you from having at least one hand on the handlebars.

In Ohio, it is not legal for you to ride a motorcycle on the highway if the handlebars are higher than your shoulders. This law only applies for riding motorcycles on the highway, however.

Motorcycle Helmet Ohio

Do You Need to Wear a Helmet?

Only people under the age of 18 are required by law to wear a helmet in Ohio. The helmet must be approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Also, if you are required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle and you want to transport a passenger, they must also wear a helmet while riding with you.

It is also a requirement that you wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle if you are in the first year of holding your motorcycle licence in Ohio. You are also required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle if you only have a motorcycle permit (as opposed to a full license).

However, if you fail to wear a helmet despite being required to wear one by law and you are injured in an accident, you should still be able to file a personal injury claim.

Do You Need a Motorcycle Permit in Ohio?

If you want to operate a motorcycle in Ohio, you either need a permit or a license. Permits and licenses have different rights attached to them, and permits are only valid for one year at a time. If you have a permit and intend to keep riding a motorcycle after it expires, you need to renew the permit you have or apply for a motorbike license instead. You can also apply for an endorsement, which is what you use if you already have a traditional driver's license and want to ride a motorcycle as well.

Eye Protection

While you are not always legally required to use a helmet in Ohio while riding a motorcycle, you must wear some form of eye protection. Everyone who operates a motorcycle in Ohio must use eye protection. This can be in the form of a helmet with a visor.

You can also cover the eye protection requirement by using goggles or a windshield.

How Can I Get a Motorcycle Permit in Ohio?

If you are going to ride a motorcycle often, then it makes sense for you to obtain a motorcycle license. Ohio's motorcycle laws require that you undergo one of two tests in order to obtain an Ohio motorcycle license or permit. The Ohio Motorcycle Basic Operation Course is a course than anybody can take, even people under the age of 18. In fact, if you are under the age of 18, then it is a requirement that you take this course to be able to use a motorcycle. If you are no longer under the age of 18, then you can take a simple skills test on your motorcycle to obtain a license.

By taking a motorcycle test in Ohio, you have to demonstrate to the examiner that you have the skills and knowledge required to safely operate a motorcycle in the state. The Ohio motorcycle test can be taken at different centers around the state. If you fail the skills test, you can take it again later. The most important thing to remember when taking the skills test is that you stay calm, collected and that you demonstrate your skills and knowledge to the examiner. If you do this, then you should be able to pass with flying colors!

To qualify for a license, you first need to have obtained a permit to use the motorcycle on the road. You can obtain a motorcycle permit in Ohio via a written knowledge test. Passing this test grants you a permit, which you can use for one year. If you want to continue using a motorcycle after your permit expires, then you need to obtain an endorsement if you have a full driver's license. If not, then you need to obtain a motorcycle license in Ohio instead.

Ohio Motorcycle Laws

What Age Can a Child Ride on a Motorcycle in Ohio?

There is no age limit or rule for children to ride as passengers on motorcycles in Ohio. If you are transporting a child passenger, then it's extra important that you consider motorcycle safety at all times. You must ensure that the child is safe and secure at all times.

There are also no restrictions when it comes to children operating motorcycles in Ohio, but a child must have a valid permit in order to be legally allowed to operate a motorcycle. For a child to obtain a permit, they need to take an Ohio motorcycle skills course which gives them the basic knowledge and skills necessary to ride a motorcycle safely. Once they have done so and passed the relevant knowledge test, then they should be able to obtain a permit.

How Can I Obtain a Motorcycle Endorsement?

If you already have a full driver's license, then you should be able to get a motorcycle endorsement on your license. This is instead of obtaining a permit just for a motorbike. In order to obtain an endorsement, you need to pass the same test or tests as you would for obtaining a motorbike permit. Most people obtain a motorbike permit which they use for at least one year before getting an endorsement.

The test you need to pass for an endorsement covers a range of different areas. It includes a knowledge test, which is just one way to test your knowledge of motorcycle laws in Ohio. Motorcycle laws in the state are fairly simple and nonrestrictive, so it shouldn't be too difficult for you to memorize the key points of these laws.

Insurance is a Must

In Ohio, it's illegal to use a motorcycle without having some form of proof of insurance, or proof of financial responsibility. If you don't have insurance, you can still cover the financial responsibility requirement by obtaining proof from a relevant governing body that states that you have access to sufficient funds to cover the costs of accident or injury to yourself or others. These documents can be somewhat difficult to obtain and may require you to have substantial personal assets, so most motorcycle users in Ohio simply have insurance instead.

If you are also interested in how to prove you aren't at fault in a car accident, The Keating Firm LTD. can give you the information you need.

Disclaimer: The details included in this blog is offered for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as lawful guidance in any way. No recipients of material from this blog, clients or otherwise, should or should not act on the basis of any material consisted in the blog without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional guidance on the particular facts and situations at issue from an attorney accredited in the recipient's state.


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