Many motorcycle accidents can be prevented simply by knowing basic road rules and driver etiquette. Each state has different laws for motorcycle riders, so we pulled together Arkansas’s motorcycle driver laws and some tips to keep everyone safe on the road.
Motorcyclists in Arkansas must abide by all of the basic rules that other vehicles do in addition to a few specific rules:
Motorcycles must have working headlights turned on at all times, even in the daylight.
Eye protection is required for all drivers.
At least one set of left and right mirrors are required.
All passengers must be at least eight years old.
Safety helmets are required for all drivers and passengers under the age of 21.
Drivers must have a motorcycle license and correct registration.
Motorcycles are allowed to turn left at a red light with caution after a complete stop.
While most of those rules are well-known (and common sense), a couple of them can be dangerous if not followed. Headlights improve the visibility as you ride, and failing to comply with that rule can hinder other vehicles from seeing you. Proper eye protection and a secured helmet can keep debris from the road out of your eyes (which can easily cause a wreck), and prevent a wreck from becoming fatal. Last, but not least, many people don’t know that last rule. Vehicles are not allowed to make left turns at a red light, and not being prepared can cause a wreck.
These aren’t enforced by the law, but they are good practices to adhere to in order to prevent accidents.
Hand Signals-- for riders without turn signals or on days where visibility is low, using hand signals will alert other riders and drivers to what you’re about to do. When turning, simply extend your arm straight out in the direction you’re turning. When stopping, raise your left arm up bent at a 90 degree angle.
Keeping Your Distance-- this goes for both riders and drivers. Motorcycles can merge lanes and change directions much faster than larger vehicles. When changing lanes and turning onto busy streets, give other vehicles a little extra room. Vehicle drivers should do the same for motorcycles.
Exercise Caution-- motorcycles can squeeze into tighter spaces. While this is great when you’re stuck in traffic and have to weave to get through to work, it’s highly dangerous to get so close to other motorcycles, vehicles, and lane barriers. Being a few minutes late is not worth risking your life by driving dangerously.
Listen To Your Bike-- If something happens to your motorcycle engine, you are a lot more likely to get into an accident than if something happens while you’re in a car. There is no protection from the road, other drivers, or any barriers or obstacles when you’re on a motorcycle. Regularly check to make sure your bike is fueled up and that the engine and tires are good to go.
Overall, paying attention and knowing the laws that apply to motorcycles will go a long way in preventing accidents and fatalities. Always double check your surroundings and practice good road etiquette. Educating drivers and riders of the rules of the road is the first step in lowering the number of fatalities from motorcycle accidents each year.
Have you recently been in a motorcycle accident? Give us a call, or schedule a consultation! Want to know more about the rules of the road? Check out http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/State-Laws-Database/state/AR for specifics on Arkansas roadway laws.
ALL THROUGHOUT AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT MOTORCYCLE SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PREVENTION TIPS FOR RIDERS AND DRIVERS ALIKE. STAY TUNED FOR NEXT WEEK'S POST ABOUT PROPER SAFETY GEAR FOR MOTORCYCLE RIDERS.