Oklahoma Motorcycle Laws 2020: Complete Guide

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Trying to learn more about Oklahoma motorcycle laws in 2020? Keep reading.

If you own a motorcycle, it is important that you are aware of the Oklahoma motorcycle laws so you can be sure that you are riding legally. There are a lot of different laws around licensing, equipment, and safety and some riders find it hard to keep track of all of the different laws. If you break the law, you risk fines or even losing your license, but this guide will tell you everything that you need to know about Oklahoma motorcycle laws so that does not happen.

Licensing and Endorsements

If you want to legally ride a motorbike in Oklahoma, you need either a motorcycle license or a permit. If you already have a driving license for a car, you can add an endorsement by taking a number of vision tests and knowledge and skills tests.

Applying For A License

You can apply for your motorbike license at any Department of Public Safety exam office. If you want to get a motorbike license, you need to be at least 16 years old. However, if you are under the age of 16, you can still apply for a permit that allows you to legally ride a motorbike. This permit can then be upgraded to a license once you are old enough and you have passed some further tests. Before you are given your license, you must pass a driver’s education program, which you can take at centers around Oklahoma. If you contact the Department for Public Safety, they will be able to direct you towards the nearest test center to you.

The Tests

There are a number of different tests that you have to pass if you are applying for a license or a permit to ride a motorbike. The Oklahoma motorcycle laws specify that all riders must pass these tests before they can legally ride a motorcycle without supervision.

The first test will be a practical test where you demonstrate your ability to control the vehicle. You will also need to pass a vision test and prove that you have perfect vision. Finally, you will be given a test on your knowledge of road signs and the rules of the road. You can find practice tests on the DMV website to help you practice.

There is a $4 administration charge for putting the application in, and then a further $21.50 charge for the license itself.

Paperwork

When you apply for your license, you are required to provide some paperwork as proof of identity. You will be asked to provide some of the following:

  • Birth certificate.
  • Instruction permit.
  • Passport.
  • Military ID.
  • Marriage certificate.
  • Parental consent form (if applicable).
  • Social security number.

Further Educational Courses

Although it is not required under Oklahoma motorcycle laws, there are extra educational courses that you can take to learn more about safe riding techniques, choosing safety equipment for your motorcycle, and maintaining the vehicle. Although this is not a legal requirement, it is recommended as it will help you to stay safe.

Riding Without A License

If you are from another state and you have a motorcycle license or endorsement there, you are legally allowed to ride your motorcycle in Oklahoma and the authorities will accept your license. But if you are caught riding your motorcycle without a valid license, there are strict penalties in place.

In most cases, you will be subject to a fine of no less than $50 and no more than $300. However, the authorities do reserve the right to put you in prison for up to 30 days if the fine is not paid or if you have been charged with the offense before.

If you are handed a driving ban and you continue to ride your motorcycle, there are very steep penalties in place. For a first conviction, you can be fined anywhere between $100 and $500. That fine increases to between $200 and $750 for a second offense and $300 to $1000 for a third offense. Riders that have been caught driving under a ban for the third time can also be put in prison for up to one year.

Oklahoma Helmet Laws

One of the most common questions that people have about Oklahoma motorcycle laws is, do you need to wear a helmet? The laws around wearing helmets are relatively relaxed in Oklahoma and any adult over the age of 18 can decide whether they want to wear a helmet or not.

However, anybody under the age of 18 is required by law to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. The helmet must meet safety standards set out by the Department of Transportation.

Although helmets are optional, there are some clear laws about other protective equipment that you are obliged to wear. If you do not have a motorcycle helmet, you must wear some kind of eye protection, such as goggles or glasses, and the motorbike must have a windscreen.

These laws about helmets are only applicable when driving on roads. If you are riding your motorcycle off-road, you are not required to follow helmet laws, even if you are younger than 18.

The helmet laws have changed a lot in recent years. Initially, Oklahoma was one of many states that required all riders to wear helmets, but this law was changed to only include anybody under the age of 21. It was then reversed so all riders were required to wear helmets again, before being amended a final time so only riders under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet. In the United States, there are no federal laws about motorcycle helmets and the laws vary by state. It is common for states to have laws similar to those in Oklahoma, but there are also a lot of states that require all riders to wear helmets. In Iowa and Illinois, there are no laws at all and nobody is required to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle.

See Oklahoma helmet laws for more info.

Equipment Laws

In order to make sure that motorcycles are safe, Oklahoma motorcycle laws set out guidelines for certain equipment that all motorcyclists must have.

All motorcycles must have two rear-view mirrors installed (with a reflective surface of at least 3 inches), a fender over each wheel, a horn, a muffler, and a functioning speedometer. All motorcycles must also have a functioning headlight that gives off white light and at least one red tail light. This light must be visible from 500 feet in daylight. You also need a reflector that is visible from a distance of between 100 and 600 feet.

Motorcycles are also required to have a windscreen, and if there is no windscreen, you are required by law to wear eye protection. This must meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard Z87.1.

If you are missing any of these things from your motorcycle, it is not considered roadworthy by the authorities and it is illegal to ride it in its current state.

Motorcycle Exhaust Laws

A lot of states have laws about the noise levels produced by motorbikes. The Oklahoma motorcycle laws do not set out a statewide limit on the noise that is produced by motorcycles. For example, in Montana, no motorcycle is allowed to exceed 96 decibels, measured from a distance of 20 inches. However, the equipment guidelines do specify that all motorcycles must be fitted with a functioning muffler that suppresses the noise. It is also against the law to make any modifications to your motorcycle exhaust that increase the noise levels.

Passenger Laws

If you want to take a passenger on your motorcycle, there are some strict requirements that you must meet. Even though you are able to get a permit to ride a motorcycle before you are 16, you are not legally allowed to take passengers on your motorbike.

If you are over the age of 16 and you want to take passengers, Oklahoma motorcycle laws require your motorbike to have wheels that are at least 12-inches in diameter. Your motorcycle also needs a double seating device with double footrests. Alternatively, the motorbike needs to have a sidecar with a dedicated seating area.

In the majority of states around the US, the laws are similar to Oklahoma and have no restrictions on the age of the passenger, as long as all of the other safety guidelines have been met. However, in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Washington, there are restrictions and passengers under a certain age (between 5 and 8 depending on the state) are not allowed.

Insurance Laws

The Oklahoma motorcycle laws set out rules about the insurance coverage that you need. As a motorcycle rider, you are required to be able to demonstrate that you can be financially responsible in the event of an accident, which means that you need insurance.

Every motorcycle rider in Oklahoma must carry an insurance policy that offers the following coverage:

  • $25,000 for death or injury to a single person.
  • $50,000 for death or injury to multiple people.
  • $25,000 to cover property damage.

These minimum requirements may seem excessive, but when you consider the cost of medical care and property damage caused by an accident, they may actually fall short of the total cost.

Oklahoma is also an ‘at fault’ state, which means that if you are involved in an accident and it is considered to be your fault, you are liable for the cost. If you do not have insurance, you may be sued to pay for the property damage and the medical costs of anybody else involved in the accident.

Driving Laws

When driving a motorcycle in Oklahoma, it is important that you abide by certain driving laws. Aside from all of the standard laws about speed limits and road signs etc. it is important that you follow the rules about lane splitting.

Lane splitting is the technical term for cutting in between traffic, and it is prohibited in most states, including Oklahoma. California is currently the only US state that allows lane splitting, but it is legal in most places in Europe and Asia. It remains a contentious issue amongst legislators because there is actually some evidence to suggest that it can improve safety and reduce traffic congestion. However, the Oklahoma motorcycle laws currently state that lane splitting is not allowed and there may be penalties if you are caught lane splitting by the police.

In some states, it is illegal for two motorcycles to ride abreast in the same lane because it is considered unsafe. However, there is no mention of riding two abreast in the Oklahoma motorcycle laws, so it is not against the law.

The use of headphones is not specifically mentioned in the Oklahoma motorcycle laws, so the issue is a little more complex. It is not mentioned, which means that it is not strictly prohibited and not considered illegal. However, because Oklahoma is considered an ‘at fault’ state, wearing headphones will work against you if you have an accident you may be considered to be more responsible for the accident because your hearing is impaired.

The Oklahoma driving laws surrounding headlight use are surprising to some because they state that you must have your headlights on at all times, even during the day. This is to improve safety and visibility for you and other road users. A lot of states have this law in place, but in some states, there are no restrictions about headlight use at all.

This guide should give you all of the information that you need to ensure that you are always compliant with Oklahoma driving laws. Compared with a lot of other states, the motorcycle driving laws are relatively relaxed. Helmets are not required for anybody over the age of 18, and there are no restrictions on passengers. However, there are clear and precise laws in place about the equipment that all motorcycles must have and the level of insurance that you need.

If you have been in an accident and you want help from an attorney to make a compensation claim, it is important to remember that Oklahoma is an ‘at fault’ state and if you are in breach of any of the Oklahoma motorcycle laws, this can make it very difficult to claim compensation, and you may even be at risk of being sued.

Clayton Hasbrook practices in the area of general litigation, with an emphasis on personal injury law. In 2008 Clayton earned his Juris Doctorate degree at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Clayton is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, Oklahoma County Bar Association, American Association of Justice, Oklahoma Association of Justice, and the National Trial Lawyers “Top 40 under 40.”