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The Basics of Ohio Motorcycle Law

By June 5, 2021June 7th, 2021No Comments

Whether you’re an avid rider or a pedestrian on a busy street, it’s important to have a basic understanding of state law as it pertains to these fast, two-wheeled machines. Chapter 4511 of the Ohio Revised Code is the main place where these laws are described and maintained. Many of these laws extend to mopeds, motor scooters, and motorized/electric bicycles as well.

In Ohio, motorcyclists cannot ride in rows of more than two in a single lane. Obviously, helmets and safety eyewear are a must. Legally, your horn has to be audible from at least 200 feet in any direction (which is a good idea considering the short braking and acceleration distance of most motorcycles). Lastly, your handlebars are considered illegal if they ride higher than your shoulders when sitting on the bike.

Ohio Motorcycle License and Insurance Requirements

You must have a motorcycle license or license endorsement to operate a motorcycle. Along with that, you’re required to carry the following minimums, which are the same as motor vehicle minimums:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death of another person in an accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more individuals in an accident
  • $25,000 for someone else’s property damage suffered in an accident

Ohio Scooter Insurance Requirements

The state has separate guidelines for scooter operators:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident
  • Property Damage Liability: $25,000 per accident

What Are Potential Punishments for Breaking Motorcycle Law in Ohio?

You could be arrested and charged in Ohio if you’re suspected of DUI, lane splitting, speeding, reckless driving, or more in a range of offenses. Potential punishments can include a ticket issued, a larger fine, license suspension, or even jail time, depending on the severity of the offense. The state takes these crimes very seriously and will aggressively prosecute more severe offenses.

Ohio Scooter and Moped Law

In Ohio, motor scooters are described as the following:

  • Designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground
  • A seat for the driver and floorboard for the driver’s feet
  • A motor with a piston displacement between 50-100cc that produces no more than 5 HP
  • Is capable of speeds faster than 20 mph on flat ground

These rules apply regardless of the scooter’s power mode – gas or electric.

Additionally, the Ohio BMV does not distinguish between mopeds, motorized bikes, and electric bikes. They have separate designations, and moped and motorized bikes do not need an additional driver’s license endorsement.

Modified Comparative Fault in Ohio Personal Injury Cases

Ohio also follows the modified comparative fault theory, meaning if you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident and it’s less than half your fault, you could be entitled to damage compensation. If you feel this is your situation, it’s crucial to speak with a qualified Ohio personal injury attorney to see if your case can move forward.


The team at Garretson & Holcomb is ready to help sift through the details of your specific incident and advise on potential options for further action. Call us today at (513) 863-6600 to learn more.

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