Motorcyclists’ Rights


In its current, restrictive laws, New York state requires all motorcyclists and passengers to wear ANSI approved helmets unless specifically waived by local police for parades or other special events. Operators in New York are also prevented from equipping their motorcycles with red, white or blue accent lights to increase visibility. Additionally, there are no statutes outlining specifics regarding the use of any other colors.

Larry believes that licensed riders understand the risks of riding and are able to operate them safely without helmets. While helmets do increase the likelihood of surviving an accident, some studies show helmets can carry their own risk by limiting the rider’s peripheral vision. Peripheral vision can provide critical information in the short seconds before an accident occurs.

As Governor, Larry Sharpe will support legislation that supports motorcyclists’ rights to be responsible for themselves and their own equipment. This includes assembly bill A 218, which removes the helmet requirement for riders 21 years of age and older. He will also support legislation that allows motorcyclists to add accent lights of their choosing regardless of the color. The headlamp currently required by DOT would remain unchanged.

Many motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers inability to see motorcycles on the highway. Any additional accent lighting will only serve to aid other drivers with greater visibility for the cyclists. Responsibility must be returned to motorcycle operators and owners will likely have enough common sense to refrain from using lights could cause them to be clearly mistaken for an officer of the law. If this mistake is made they could be prosecuted for impersonating an officer.