Wisconsin State Motorcycle Laws

In Wisconsin, there is a panoply of laws and regulations regarding the use and operation of a motorcycle that apply to motorcycle operators and, sometimes, passengers across the state. Following each of these state directives is the responsibility of the motorcycle operator, and, when applicable, passengers to ensure a safe experience that is permitted under the law. Failure to follow the law can result in a ticket that can lead to fines or other sanctions which could impair your future ability to drive a motorcycle or any other motor vehicle. Even worse, this could lead to a motorcycle accident

What licensing and education must a motorcycle operator have? 

Every motorcycle operator must have a Class M license or must possess a motorcycle instruction permit. Without either one of these, it is illegal to operate a motorcycle in Wisconsin. Additionally, motorcycle education must be completed by all motorcycle operators who are under 18 years of age.

What safety equipment must be worn by motorcycle operators or passengers in Wisconsin?

All motorcycle operators or passengers, regardless of age, must have eye protection which includes glasses, goggles, or windscreen in order to protect their field of vision. Additionally, any motorcycle operator or passenger must wear a helmet that meets federal safety standards while riding on or operating a motorcycle. Additionally, those with a learner’s permit or a motorcycle instruction permit must also wear a helmet pursuant to Wisconsin law. 

What safety features must a motorcycle have or what must a motorcycle operator do?

Wisconsin state law proscribes certain safety precautions for the operation of motorcycles. One important measure is the use of a headlight even during daytime hours. Motorcycles must also be equipped with turn signals, a muffler, and a rear-view mirror. Design-wise, the motorcycle handlebars cannot be more than 30 inches above the seat. Finally, all motorcycles must have a passenger seat and footrest if they will be carrying a passenger or are designed to do so.

Do I need insurance to operate a motorcycle in Wisconsin?

Yes, each motorcycle operator must have accident liability insurance.

What else does Wisconsin motorcycle law allow for?

In Wisconsin, the law allows for a few privileges when operating a motorcycle. One privilege is that a motorcycle operator’s helmet may include speakers. Another is that a passenger of any age may ride on a motorcycle as long as it is being driven by a licensed motorcycle operator. Finally, two motorcycle operators may ride next to each other in the same lane of traffic provided space allows.

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