New York Motorcycle Law

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Statistics show that motorcycle accidents are on the rise – and New York is no exception. In fact, the NHTSA reported that there were over 190 motorcycle fatalities in New York in 2006. If you are involved in a New York motorcycle accident, know your rights and responsibilities under New York law. It can save you time, money and a lot of hassle.

New York: A No-Fault State

While fault is a critical question in any motorcycle accident, New York is a no-fault state, meaning that neither party takes the blame for a New York motorcycle accident. Instead, each driver goes through his or her insurance company. The no-fault law is easily misinterpreted and may not interfere with your right to collect a settlement or compensation for your injuries. Due to the complexities of the no-fault system, it is recommended that you consult an attorney on fault-related issues in addition to speaking to your insurance company about the matter.

Motorcycle Insurance, Licensing and Registration Requirements 

New York State law is clear – every motorcycle on the road needs to carry liability insurance. New York’s minimum requirements are 25/50/10, which is $25,000 for bodily injury per person per accident, $50,000 for total bodily injury per accident and $10,000 for property damage per accident. In addition, motorcycles must be properly registered and inspected every 12 months. Motorcycle registration occurs annually and all New York motorcycle registrations expire on April 30 each year. In order to legally operate a motorcycle in New York state, you must possess a Class M or Class MJ (junior operator) license and pass both a written and road test to obtain a New York state motorcycle license.

Helmet Laws in New York

Head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle accidents, so wearing a helmet is a must for any motorcycle operator. In New York state, it’s also the law – anyone operating a motorcycle in New York must wear a US DOT-approved motorcycle helmet with eye protection.

If You Are in an Accident in New York

If you are involved in a New York motorcycle accident, don’t just attend to your injuries – get in touch with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can help evaluate your claim and obtain compensation for your injuries and related expenses (go to for attorney resources in New York). It’s important to have someone on your side as you navigate the sometimes confusing waters of New York state motorcycle accident law – and a New York motorcycle accident lawyer can help you understand and protect your rights.

For more information about motorcycle accidents, see our Free Advice Motorcycle Accident FAQ.

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