Motorcyclist putting on a helmet

Like most other states, Alabama has specific motorcycle safety laws to help protect motorcyclists and their passengers. All motorcyclists need to know these laws and o keep up with the frequently changing legislation. The motorcycle accident lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C, have outlined some important motorcycle safety laws in Alabama to help keep you safe while riding.

Alabama Motorcycle License Requirements

Individuals age 16 and above in Alabama are eligible to apply for a standard motorcycle license with a special class M endorsement.

Individuals age 14 and above are also eligible to apply for a special restricted license that legally permits them to operate two-wheeled vehicles that are motor-driven, such as mopeds and minibikes. These types of vehicles are usually not appropriate for use on highways.

Basic Safety Laws

Alabama’s Motorcycle Manual outlines all of the state’s safety laws as they apply to motorcyclists. Some of the most basic state safety laws include:

  • Following the speed limit
  • Yielding the right-of-way to other vehicles
  • Refraining from lane-splitting
  • Sharing lanes with only one other motorcycle at a time
  • Stopping at stop signs and traffic signals
  • Wearing a DPS-approved helmet

Motorcycle Passenger Laws

Motorcyclists in Alabama are permitted to carry passengers with them as long as the motorcycle has a dedicated back seat that is separate from the drivers and dedicated footrests. Passengers are not permitted on single-person bikes.

Motorcycle passengers must also wear a DPS-approved helmet and shoes.

Alabama Motorcycle Helmet and Footwear Laws

Motorcyclists in Alabama are required to wear helmets. In some states, such as nearby Florida, riders are not legally required to wear helmets if they are over a certain age. All motorcyclists and passengers in Alabama must wear a helmet with a solid exterior and a fitted chin strap.

Class M Endorsement Driver’s License Laws

Until 2015, Alabama did not require motorcyclists to possess a special endorsement to operate a motorcycle.

Now, Alabama, like most other states in the country, requires any individual who operates a motorcycle to either pass a Department of Public Safety motorcycle safety quiz or takes an approved motorcycle safety course to obtain a special “M” endorsement on their license. This permits riders to operate a motorcycle in the state.

Lane-Sharing Laws

Motorcyclists are legally allowed to share a lane with one other motorcycle at a time, riding side-by-side. No more than two motorcyclists can ride side-by-side in one single lane of traffic. Motorcyclists are not allowed to share a lane with an automobile.

Additional Motorcycle Safety Requirements

Alabama requires all motorcycles to have these safety features to be roadworthy:

  • Two mirrors
  • Functioning headlight
  • Functioning taillight
  • Functioning brake light
  • Functioning turn signals
  • Working front and rear brakes
  • A working horn

Legally Required Motorcycle Accessories

Alabama requires motorcyclists to utilize certain accessories when riding. These accessories include:

  • Seat and footrests for passengers 
  • Daytime headlights
  • Side mirrors
  • Handlebars that are no higher than 15 inches above the seat

Motorcycle Insurance in Alabama

Anyone who operates a motorcycle in Alabama must have liability insurance, which is designed to cover other motorists’ personal injuries and property damage in the event of a collision. While many motorcyclists choose to get full coverage, including collision insurance and comprehensive insurance, Alabama allows minimum liability insurance of:

  • $25,000 for one person’s injuries
  • $50,000 for two or more people’s injuries
  • $25,000 for property damage

Penalties for Violating Alabama Motorcycle Laws

The penalties for violating Alabama’s motorcycle laws can be severe. Depending on the offense, penalties could include:

  • License suspension
  • Traffic citations
  • Fines
  • Jail time

Alabama’s contributory negligence laws dictate that if you partially at fault for a motorcycle accident because you violated motorcycle safety laws, you may not be entitled to collect any compensation for injuries and property damage from another at-fault party.

FAQ’s – Alabama Motorcycle Laws

Can you register a motorcycle without a license in Alabama? 

You can register a motorcycle with the following documents in Alabama:

  • Proof of insurance
  • Original title or signed registration documents
  • Fees for title and registration

While Alabama did not require a specific license or endorsement for riding a motorcycle until 2015, all riders must now have a Class M endorsement to operate their vehicle.

Is lane-splitting legal in Alabama? 

Lane-splitting, which occurs when motorcycles ride between two lanes of traffic, is not legal in Alabama. Lane splitting is generally considered unsafe because drivers of cars may not notice motorcycles in their blind spots, which can lead to accidents if the driver attempts to change lanes. However, motorcyclists may share a lane with one other motorcycle side-by-side.

Do you need a motorcycle license to drive a scooter or moped in Alabama? 

Yes. Mopeds are classified as motorcycles, and you’ll need to have a special “M” endorsement on your driver’s license to legally operate one in Alabama.

How old do you need to be to get a motorcycle license in Alabama? 

The minimum age for applying for a motorcycle license is 16. However, individuals as young as 14 can apply for a special restricted license that permits them to operate scooters and street bikes such as mopeds.

Need Help Understanding Your Rights Under the Law? Contact Our Lawyers Now

Since 1966, the Huntsville motorcycle lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. have fought for the rights of motorcyclists who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact us right away. We’ll be ready to discuss the details of your accident, free of charge when you call us or reach out to us online.