Mississippi Motorcycle Laws

2 helmets on top of a motorcycle

Mississippi motorcycle laws grant bikers the same privileges as all other motorists. Despite these rules, motorcyclists frequently encounter drivers who do not exercise the caution and care that they should. Violating traffic laws increases the chances of a dangerous motorcycle accident ― and unfortunately, riders and their passengers tend to suffer the worst injuries.

At Derek L. Hall, PC, we are committed to holding negligent drivers accountable when their careless actions harm others, especially motorcyclists. Negative stereotypes paint bikers as reckless daredevils on the roads. They’re not true, but these biases can make it tough for motorcyclists to recover compensation after an injury.

Hurt in Jackson, MS? You need outstanding legal support from a top motorcycle accident lawyer. Call or contact Derek L. Hall, PC for a free consultation today.

Mississippi Helmet Law

All motorcycle operators and passengers are required to wear a helmet in Mississippi. Riding without a helmet is a misdemeanor under §63-9-11 of the Mississippi Code, with a fine of no more than $100 and up to 10 days in jail. Penalties increase for subsequent violations.

Beyond the penalties, the Mississippi helmet law keeps people alive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that motorcycle helmets saved 25,000 lives nationwide over a 17-year period. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adds that helmets reduce the risk of death in a motorcycle accident by 37 percent and the risk of a head injury by 69 percent.

NHTSA provides guidance on how to choose the right motorcycle helmet and how to identify unsafe ones. Protect yourself by purchasing a DOT-compliant helmet and wearing it.

Motorcycle License Requirements

All bikers must have a Mississippi motorcycle license. More specifically, they must have a motorcycle endorsement on their regular Class R driver’s license. Operators obtain the endorsement by passing written and riding tests. Your bike also must be inspected before hitting the roads.

Getting the proper license endorsement complies with the law, but it also strengthens your legal case if a motorcycle accident happens. If you were driving a motorcycle without a license when the crash occurred, you might have a harder time getting the compensation you need. You’d be well-advised to speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer if you were unlicensed at the time of your wreck.

Driving Under the Influence

Operating a motorcycle while intoxicated is illegal in Mississippi. The danger of riding a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics is extreme. If a rider is suspected of DUI, they will be administered a chemical test of their breath, blood, or urine. Any driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above 0.08 is considered legally intoxicated.

Adult first-time offenders may pay a fine between $250 and $1,000 and spend up to 48 hours in jail.  Attendance at a victim impact panel could replace jail time. Furthermore, a motorcyclist convicted of drunk driving will have their license suspended for between 30 and 90 days, and they must attend the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program.

Motorcycle Lane Splitting

Motorcycle riders often split lanes—that is, travel between the designated traffic lanes— to navigate through traffic or pass larger vehicles. Riders tend to agree that lane splitting can reduce the risk of a motorcycle accident by lane splitting.

Mississippi law does not designate lane splitting specifically as legal or illegal. That said, riders should engage in lane splitting with extreme caution since it could result in serious injury.

Another reason to avoid lane splitting is its potential impact on a personal injury claim. Mississippi awards compensation based on the percentage of fault a person is assigned for an accident. The greater your portion of fault, the less money you receive.

Motorcycle Accident Injuries

 A motorcycle accident can be devastating to both riders and their passengers. The most current NTHSA data shows 5,014 motorcycle riders died in motorcycle accidents in a recent year and were almost 29 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a crash per vehicle miles traveled.

Common motorcycle accident injuries include:

  • Road rash: Severe abrasions can occur when skin meets the road. Proper protective clothing can help to prevent severe injury and scarring. Sturdy leather apparel such as gloves, pants, jackets, and boots can guard against road rash.
  • Head injuries: A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause devastating harm. Follow the Mississippi helmet law to prevent life-changing head injuries. A full-face helmet offers even more protection in a crash.
  • Neck injuries: Even a low-speed motorcycle crash can cause painful injuries to the delicate tissues of the neck. Whiplash is a common neck injury.
  • Leg and foot injuries: Motorcycle boots that rise above the ankle can reduce the risk of fractures, lacerations, and sprains.

Penalties for Violating Mississippi Motorcycle Laws

In addition to the criminal penalties of violating motorcycle laws, there may be civil penalties if that violation led to another individual’s injury. Operating a motorcycle without a license and failing to follow the road rules can be used against the motorcyclist if a victim seeks financial compensation for the damage they caused.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Ridgeland, MS

You shouldn’t have to pay for your injuries if someone else’s carelessness caused a motorcycle accident. Get the attorneys at Derek L. Hall, P.C. on your side. Our Mississippi motorcycle accident lawyers will fight fiercely for the financial compensation you need to move on with your life.

We’re known as “The Heavy Hitter” for good reason. Our attorneys don’t pull punches when dealing with negligent motorists and their insurers. You can count on us to stand up for your rights and pursue the results you deserve.

If you want it all, you oughta call Hall. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.