Legislation

Search OpenLegislation Statutes
This entry was published on 2019-01-11
The selection dates indicate all change milestones for the entire volume, not just the location being viewed. Specifying a milestone date will retrieve the most recent version of the location before that date.
SECTION 381
Motorcycle equipment
Vehicle & Traffic (VAT) CHAPTER 71, TITLE 3, ARTICLE 9
§ 381. Motorcycle equipment. 1. (a) Every motorcycle, driven upon the
public highways of this state, shall be provided with adequate brakes in
good working order and sufficient to control such motorcycle at all
times, when the same is in use, a suitable and adequate bell, horn or
other device for signaling, one red to amber stop lamp and shall,
whenever such motorcycle is being operated upon the public highways of
the state, display one lighted lamp in front and one on the rear, or,
when such motorcycle is operated with a passenger or other truck
attached to the side or front two such lamps on the front and one on the
rear; and in all cases the lamps on a motorcycle shall include a red
light visible from the rear. The rays of such rear lamp shall shine upon
the number plate carried on the rear of such motorcycle in such manner
as to render the numerals thereon visible for at least fifty feet in the
direction from which the motorcycle is proceeding. The light of the
front lamp or lamps shall be visible at least two hundred feet in the
direction in which the motorcycle is proceeding. Every such motorcycle
shall have a suitable muffler or device to prevent unnecessary noise
from exhaust gases, and the use of so-called "cut-outs" is prohibited.

(b) Driving a motorcycle without the display of one lighted lamp in
front and one on the rear, during a period other than from one-half hour
after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, shall not be deemed to
constitute negligence or contributory negligence in any action or
proceeding arising out of the operation of such motorcycle.

(c) The provisions of this subdivision relating to the display of one
lighted lamp in front and one on the rear during a period other than
from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise shall
not apply to a motorcycle, driven at a speed of less than twenty miles
per hour, owned by a municipality and used for the collection of parking
fees or the enforcement of parking regulations.

1-a. Every motorcycle registered in this state and manufactured or
assembled after January first, nineteen hundred seventy-one and
designated as a nineteen hundred seventy-one or subsequent year model
shall be equipped with brakes acting on the front as well as the rear
wheel.

2. No head lamp shall be used upon any motorcycle operated upon the
public highways of the state, unless such lamp is approved by the
commissioner or is equipped with a lens or other device approved by the
commissioner. Every such head lamp, lens or other device shall be
applied and adjusted in accordance with the requirements of the
certificate approving the use thereof. Every such head lamp shall be
firmly and substantially mounted on the motorcycle in such manner as to
allow the lamp to be properly and readily adjusted. Each reflector which
is used as a part of such head lamp shall have a polished silver or
glass reflecting surface, or a reflecting surface which gives candle
power intensity meeting the requirements of rules and regulations
established by the commissioner, and shall be substantially free from
dents, rust and other imperfections. The operator of every motorcycle
shall permit any police officer or other person exercising police powers
to inspect the equipment of such motorcycle and make such tests as may
be necessary to determine whether the provisions of this section are
being complied with. The commissioner may make reasonable rules and
regulations relative to lights on motorcycles and the approval of the
same which may be necessary to effectuate the foregoing provisions of
this section.

2-a. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate on the public
highways of the state any motorcycle manufactured or assembled after
October first, nineteen hundred sixty-eight and designated as a nineteen
hundred sixty-nine or subsequent year model unless such motorcycle is
equipped with the lamps required by this section, which lamps shall be
of a type, design and construction approved by the commissioner.

3. Except as hereinafter provided, only a white or yellow light shall
be displayed upon a motorcycle so as to be visible from a point directly
in front of the vehicle. Any color light, except blue, may be displayed,
so as to be visible from a point directly in front of the vehicle, on a
police vehicle or on a motorcycle operated by a sheriff or regular
deputy sheriff when engaged in the performance of duty as a police
officer. Any color light, including blue, may be displayed, so as to be
visible from a point directly in front of the vehicle, on a motorcycle
operated by a chief or assistant chief of a fire department, a county or
deputy county fire coordinator, or a county or assistant county fire
marshal. A blue light may be displayed upon a motorcycle, so as to be
visible from a point directly in front of the vehicle, when operated by
an active volunteer member of a fire department or company duly
authorized as hereinafter provided, and while such vehicle is in use for
fire or other emergency service. No volunteer firefighter shall be
permitted to display a blue light upon a motorcycle as hereinbefore
provided except while actually enroute to the scene of a fire or other
emergency requiring his or her services and unless he or she shall be an
active volunteer member of a fire department or company and shall have
been authorized in writing to so display a blue light by the chief of
the fire department or company of which he or she is a member, which
authorization shall be subject to revocation at any time by the chief
who issued the same, or his or her successor in office.

4. Every motorcycle shall have at least one adequate red reflector
securely attached to the rear. Such reflector may be a part of the rear
lamp. No reflector shall be deemed adequate within the meaning of this
subdivision unless it is of a size and type approved by the
commissioner, and unless it is so designed, located and maintained as to
be visible for at least two hundred feet when opposed by a motor vehicle
displaying lawful undimmed headlights at night on an unlighted highway.
The provisions of this subdivision with respect to reflectors shall be
applicable, both day and night, whenever the motorcycle is on a public
highway.

5. No person shall operate on a public highway a motorcycle on which
the handle bars or grips are more than the height of the operator's
shoulders.

6. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or ride upon a
motorcycle unless he wears a protective helmet of a type which meets the
requirements set forth in section 571.218 of the federal motor vehicle
safety standards as may from time to time be amended. The commissioner
is hereby authorized and directed to adopt regulations for helmets which
are consistent with the requirements as specified in section 571.218 of
the federal motor vehicle safety standards as may from time to time be
amended. The police authorities of a city, town or village may issue a
permit exempting members of organizations sponsoring or conducting
parades or other public exhibitions from the provisions of this
subdivision while such members are participating in such parades or
other public exhibitions.

7. It shall be unlawful, on and after January first, nineteen hundred
sixty-seven, for any person to operate a motorcycle unless he wears
goggles or a face shield of a type approved by the commissioner. The
commissioner is hereby authorized and empowered to adopt and amend
regulations covering types of goggles and face shields and the
specifications therefor and to establish and maintain a list of approved
goggles and face shields which meet the specifications as established
hereunder.

8. It shall be unlawful to operate on any public highway in this state
any motorcycle registered in this state which is equipped with a wind
screen, unless such wind screen meets the specifications established
therefor by the commissioner. The commissioner is hereby authorized to
adopt and amend regulations covering types of wind screens and
specifications therefor.

9. It shall be unlawful to sell, offer for sale or distribute any
goggles or face shields for use by the operators of motorcycles unless
they are of a type and specification approved by the commissioner and
appear on the list of approved devices maintained by the commissioner.

9-a. It shall be unlawful to sell, offer for sale or distribute any
protective helmets for use by the operators or passengers of motorcycles
unless they are consistent with the regulations of the commissioner as
provided in subdivision six of this section and within the requirements
specified in section 571.218 of the federal motor vehicle safety
standards as may from time to time be amended.

10. It shall be unlawful after July first, nineteen hundred
sixty-seven to operate on any public highway in this state any
motorcycle registered in this state, unless such motorcycle is equipped
with a rear view mirror which shall be adjusted so that the operator of
such motorcycle shall have a clear view of the road and condition of
traffic behind such motorcycle.

11. No person shall operate a motorcycle on any highway which is: (1)
not equipped with a muffler to prevent excessive or unusual noise; (2)
equipped with a muffler from which the baffle plates, screens or other
original internal parts have been removed or altered; (3) equipped with
an exhaust device without internal baffles, known as "straight pipes";
or (4) equipped with an exhaust system that has been modified in a
manner that will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the motor of
such vehicle above that emitted by the exhaust system originally
installed on the vehicle.

12. No person shall operate a motorcycle on any highway which is
equipped with an exhaust device that is intentionally designed to allow
for the internal baffling to be fully or partially removed or
interchangeable. This subdivision shall not apply to a motorcycle
manufactured or assembled prior to nineteen hundred seventy-nine or a
motorcycle registered as a limited use vehicle or an all terrain vehicle
pursuant to article forty-eight-A or forty-eight-B of this chapter.

13. A violation of any of the provisions of this section shall be
punishable by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars or by
imprisonment for not exceeding thirty days, or by both such fine and
imprisonment.