Motorcycle Laws In Illinois

To operate a motorcycle safely, you must ride with skill and balance. Motorcycles lack a passenger compartment to protect you in a motorcycle accident. In a collision or even a near-miss, you could lay down your motorcycle and suffer severe injuries. As a result, Illinois has special laws that apply to motorcycles and their operators.

If you get into a motorcycle crash in Chicago, Illinois, you could be entitled to compensation. An injury lawyer from Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys can assess your claim by looking at what happened and determining whether you violated any motorcycle laws in Illinois. Contact our law office today at (312) 726-1616

How Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help After An Accident In Chicago, IL

Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys has been representing accident victims in Chicago, IL, since 2009. Over the past 14 years, our Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers recovered tens of millions of dollars in injury compensation for our clients.

After you suffer an injury in an accident, our lawyers provide:

  • A free case evaluation so you understand your rights under Illinois law
  • An investigation to gather evidence and identify liable parties
  • An assessment of your damages
  • Negotiation and communication with the other parties
  • Representation in court

A motorcycle crash can cause physical injuries and mental trauma. To learn about the compensation you can pursue for these and other effects of a motorcycle accident, contact Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consultation.

Why Do States Have Motorcycle Laws?

Why Do States Have Motorcycle Laws?

States pass motorcycle laws to protect motorcyclists from the hazards of riding. Statistics show that motorcycles are more dangerous than cars. If you get into a traffic accident on a motorcycle, you are 24 times more likely to die and four times more likely to get injured than if you were in a passenger vehicle.

Illinois motorcycle crash statistics bear this out. According to the Illinois Crash Facts report for 2021, the state had 3,274 total motorcycle crashes. These crashes included 168 fatal accidents and 2,380 non-fatal accidents. Roughly 78% of motorcycle accidents resulted in injury or death.

Conversely, the state had 325,335 total car accidents in 2021. This number includes 953 fatal car crashes and 69,520 non-fatal injury car crashes. Only about 22% of car accidents resulted in injury or death.

Illinois Motorcycle Laws

Illinois has several laws that apply only to motorcycles. It also has some laws that apply to all vehicles, including motorcycles. If you fail to comply with these laws, you potentially jeopardize your right to full compensation for any injuries you suffer in a crash. These laws fall into four broad categories:

Traffic Laws

Illinois law defines “motor vehicle” broadly enough to include motorcycles. As a result, all traffic laws apply to motorcycles. These include all laws about speed limits, yielding at intersections, and changing lanes.

Importantly, this means that Illinois prohibits two practices commonly used by motorcyclists. First, lane splitting, also called lane filtering, is not legal in Illinois. Lane splitting is when riders ride between traffic lanes on the lane lines when traffic is stopped. This maneuver allows motorcyclists to move to the front of the lane, thereby reducing the risk of a rear-end crash.

Second, Illinois prohibits lane sharing. In many states, motorcycles are allowed to ride side-by-side or staggered in a single lane. Illinois law does not specifically address lane sharing. But it prohibits vehicles from moving into an occupied lane. Motorcycles must ride in single-file to comply with this law.

Licensing Laws

Illinois, like all states, requires operators to get a motorcycle license or endorsement on their driver’s license. Riders under 18 must take a motorcycle safety course and pass a written exam and road test. Riders over 18 with a valid driver’s license can choose between taking the safety course or passing the written and road tests.

Insurance Laws

Motorcycle owners must buy liability insurance with the same policy limits as passenger vehicle owners. Specifically, you must have:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage for $25,000 per person up to $50,000 per accident 
  • Property damage liability coverage for $20,000

These coverages do not pay the motorcyclist after a crash. They pay third parties who suffer injuries or property damage in accidents caused by the motorcyclist.

Equipment Laws

Illinois is one of three states that do not have a motorcycle helmet law. Along with Iowa and New Hampshire, Illinois leaves the choice to wear a helmet to the operator or passenger.

Motorcycle laws also set certain requirements for the lights and signals required on motorcycles. Essentially, street-legal motorcycles must meet the state’s requirements for:

  • Headlight
  • Parking lights
  • Brakes
  • Tires

Street-legal motorcycles do not need turn signals. But if your motorcycle lacks turn signals, you must use hand signals to alert other drivers.

Finally, off-road motorcycles, also known as dirt bikes, are not permitted on Illinois roads. These types of motorcycles are not street-legal because they do not meet the state’s equipment laws.

Schedule A Free Consultation With Our Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

A motorcycle accident can happen even when you ride in full compliance with Illinois law. Contact Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys at (312) 726-1616 for a free consultation to discuss your motorcycle crash injuries and the financial compensation you can seek for them.