5 Maine Motorcycle Laws You Should Know

5 Maine Motorcycle Laws You Should Know

In addition to general traffic laws that apply regardless of what type of vehicle you drive, every state has laws particularly concerning motorcycles. Maine is no different.

Whether you are contemplating purchasing a bike or are already an owner looking to freshen up on Maine’s rules and regulations, you have come to the right place. This article will discuss 5 Maine motorcycle laws that all riders should know. 

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

You might wonder why different rules apply specifically to motorcycles. While there may be specific reasons for particular laws, the overarching reasoning is public safety: to keep riders and other drivers safe on the road.

Motorcycles, by design, do not offer the same safety protections as a car or truck. In 2021, 5,932 motorcyclists were killed in crashes representing 14% of all traffic fatalities, the highest since 1975. Because of the destructive nature of many motorcycle accidents, many states, including Maine, have implemented laws to promote safety. 

Let’s take a look at five specific Maine laws.

Motorcycle Licensing

Even if you have a Maine driver’s license, you must obtain a motorcycle license if you intend to ride a motorcycle. In order to do so, you must successfully complete a rider education program.

The Maine Basic Riders Course (MBRC) consists of hands-on and classroom instruction on motorcycle safety and operation. You must successfully complete this course to receive your permit and go on to pursue your motorcycle license.

Please note that if you are between 16 and 18, you must also complete a basic driver education course before enrolling in the motorcycle safety course. 

Age Requirements

You must be at least 16 years old in Maine to obtain a motorcycle permit and license. You must also have a basic driver’s license to qualify for the introductory riders course.

This rule applies to out-of-state drivers as well. Even though you may be licensed to ride a motorcycle at a younger age (e.g., 15) in another state, you must be at least 16 in Maine. 

Insurance Requirements

A motorcyclist must carry liability insurance covering medical and uninsured motorist insurance. You must obtain minimum policies as follows:

  • Injury/Death to one individual: $50,000 coverage;
  • Injury/Death to multiple parties: $100,000 coverage; and
  • Property damage: $25,000 coverage.

You must provide proof of insurance to register your motorcycle with the state legally. Failure to maintain adequate coverage can result in license suspension, fines, fees, and possibly criminal repercussions.

Importance of Uninsured Motorist Coverage

If the party responsible for causing the accident does not have insurance, and you carry uninsured motorist coverage, your uninsured motorist coverage should cover your losses.

Your uninsured motorist coverage can go beyond protecting you from uninsured drivers, as it may also provide coverage in cases of a hit-and-run or when you’re involved in a crash with an unidentified driver. 

Helmet Laws

In Maine, as in other states, helmet laws have changed over the years. Currently, motorcycle riders under the age of 18 that hold a learner’s permit or completed their driving test within the last 12 months are required to wear a helmet. Helmets are also mandatory for motorcycle passengers under the age of 15. 

In addition, while it is not mandatory, other protective gear, such as face, eye, and skin protection, are strongly recommended by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Inspection Sticker Law

Motorcycles registered to operate in Maine must pass a safety inspection and make the sticker visible from the bike’s rear. The stickers must be placed on the rear license plate’s upper left-hand corner. It is not enough to have it with you; it must be displayed on your license plate.

Other Important Rules of the Road

In addition to the five laws we spotlighted above, other laws are important to remember. You should be aware of these different essential rules of the road. 

  • It is unlawful for a motorcyclist to operate between lanes of traffic;
  • There must be a designated permanent seat for both the operator and any passengers, and no more than one person can occupy each seat;
  • The handlebar grips cannot be higher than the driver’s shoulder height (i.e., ape hangers);
  • Headlights must be on at all times;
  • Motorcyclists cannot pass or overtake a vehicle operating within the same lane; and
  • Wheelies—i.e., intentionally raising or lifting the bike’s front wheel off the ground while on a public road—is illegal.

Most of these laws have been on the books for quite some time. However, in 2019, Maine made it unlawful to ride more than two motorcycles parallel and next to each other in the same lane. 

With any motorcycle or motor vehicle laws, the operator must stay current on rules and keep track of changes. Generally, claiming that you didn’t know something was illegal is not a valid defense against any traffic violations.

Motorcycle Injury – Who’s at Fault?

Maine follows a modified comparative fault rule for most accidents, including motorcycle collisions. A motorcyclist who is less than 50% at fault for the accident will be entitled to seek compensation for their injuries, but their recovery may be reduced by the percentage of fault they carry. Conversely, a motorcyclist 50% or more at fault will be barred from seeking compensation from the other party. 

What Types of Compensation Can I Seek?

A motorcyclist injured by someone else in an accident can seek compensation for their losses. Compensation can include economic damages such as medical expenses and lost wages. You can also seek non-economic damages, which can include the following:

  • Pain and suffering,
  • Mental anguish,
  • Loss of consortium, and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life. 

An attorney can help you more accurately determine the potential value of your case. Remember, each motorcycle accident case is unique, and your possible damages will depend on the extent and severity of your injuries.

Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

Sometimes, accidents are unavoidable. But being prepared and educated on the applicable motorcycle laws can lessen your chance of an accident and help you remain calm if a crash does occur. Even if you have familiarized yourself with the state law and completed all required safety courses, contact us if you find yourself the victim of an accident. 

At Mann Law, we approach each case with compassion and understanding, and we will guide you through this challenging time. Call us to schedule a free consultation.

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Christiana E. Mann Christiana “Chrissy” Mann has specialized in civil litigation for 21+ years as a savvy and creative litigator, and she’s regarded as a fair, compassionate, and zealous advocate on behalf of her clients.