Tennessee’s Laws for Motorcycle Operators and Riders

motorcycles traveling on a highwayMany motorcycle accidents are caused by a driver’s failure to notice or look for a motorcyclist sharing the road.

To address this issue, Tennessee has passed several laws that protect the victims of motorcycle accidents caused by driver negligence.

An Overview of Tennessee Motorcycle Laws

Motorcycle operators in Tennessee have an obligation to follow the laws enacted by the state, which are designed to offer them protection and ensure roadway safety.

Some of these laws were specifically created for motorcycle operators. This includes requirements to wear safety gear, such as:

  • A Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant helmet
  • Face or eye protection
  • Protective clothing

Tennessee's Helmet Law

Tennessee has a universal helmet law, which means all operators and riders are required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle.

A motorcycle helmet should meet DOT standards by covering at least three-fourths of the operator or rider’s head and containing a DOT or Snell Memorial Foundation label.

Obtaining a Class M Motorcycle Operator License

Motorists attempting to earn their motorcycle license and register a vehicle with the state must also meet specific requirements created for each form of a motorized vehicle.

To address these issues, Tennessee created a motorcycle operators manual that details the state’s requirements and expectations for owning and operating a motorcycle.

Motorcycle owners can review this manual to learn the obligations Tennessee places on those who operate and ride a motorcycle.

Laws that Apply to Drivers Also Apply to Motorcycle Operators

It is important for all motorcycle operators to understand that Tennessee considers a motorcycle to be the same as a standard four-wheel vehicle.

This means all rules and traffic laws that apply to cars, trucks and vans also apply to motorcycle operators when interacting in traffic with other vehicles.

Negligence Laws

This also includes Tennessee’s at-fault policy concerning negligence in motor vehicle accidents.

Fault in an auto accident is determined by which party displayed the greatest amount of negligence in the accident. The party found to have assumed the most responsibility is at fault and must pay the other party for the damages he or she caused.

Insurance Requirements

Motorcycle operators are also required to carry minimum levels of insurance in order to maintain a license and operate a vehicle.

Tennessee requires a $30,000 minimum in bodily injury coverage. Motorists are also expected to carry a $60,000 policy for bodily injury to all persons involved in an accident, and $25,000 for damage liability.

Time Limits for Filing a Claim

The statute of limitations in Tennessee for a motorcycle accident is also the same as a car crash. Victims have one year from the date in which the accident occurred to file a claim in a court of law.

If you lost someone you love in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver, the state’s statute of limitations allows you three years to file a wrongful death claim.

If you miss these deadlines, you forfeit your right to pursue damages and legal action against the at-fault party.

Experienced Knoxville Lawyers

Although motorcycles allow you to experience more freedom on the road, this openness leaves operators and riders exposed and vulnerable to many dangerous hazards.

Those who were injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident caused by another’s negligence may have legal options available.

At Greg Coleman Law, our Knoxville injury attorneys are committed to helping victims of negligence fight for the compensation and justice they deserve.

We always provide potential clients with a free consultation to review the terms of their claim and determine if damages can be sought against the at-fault party.

All of our experienced Knoxville motorcycle accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, and will never charge a client upfront legal fees. We only charge you for our services if we recover damages for your claim.

Call (865) 247-0080 to speak with a Knoxville motorcycle accident lawyer.