Being a motorcycle owner can be a rewarding experience. Not only is riding this machine exciting, but it also draws a lot of attention from family and friends. However, along with that attention come requests for borrowing the motorcycle for a ride.
While a lot of vehicle owners wouldn’t think much about lending their car to their loved ones, it's different with motorcycle owners. Anyone who wants to ride a motorcycle must have experience and a special license.
What’s more, since these vehicles lack the safety features of cars, they’re much more dangerous to ride. So before lending the motorcycle to their friends, motorcycle owners should get acquainted with all the necessary facts.
First, they need to check if their friend has any experience in riding motorcycles. What's more, they need to make sure they own a license. Finally, they should take the necessary safety precautions like giving them proper protective gear, understanding how much force their helmet can take, and most importantly—checking to see if their insurance covers the expenses in case their friend crashes the motorcycle.
Who Can Legally Ride a Motorcycle
Motorcycles are one of the most unique vehicles one can own. Therefore, anyone who wants to ride a motorcycle needs to have a distinct set of qualifications. So before lending their motorcycle to a friend, motorcyclists need to first check if they are licensed.
The laws regarding motorcycle licenses vary from state to state. For example, in Iowa, before riding a motorcycle, riders need to own three types of licenses:
● Motorcycle Instruction Permit—This type of permit allows riders to operate a motorcycle, provided they’re accompanied by another person with a valid motorcycle license. This implies that the other person is within sight and hearing distance of the rider, either in a car or on their own motorcycle. To acquire this license, riders must first pass a motorcycle knowledge test, a written exam, and vision screening.
● Motorcycle Endorsement—This type of license is added to a motorcycle instruction permit. It allows riders to operate vehicles that are classified as motorcycles.
● Class M - Motorcycle License Only—Riders with this type of license can only operate motorcycles and no other type of vehicle.
What Happens if an Unlicensed Person Crashes a Motorcycle?
Operating a motorcycle while unlicensed is not only dangerous, but also illegal. If a motorcyclist lent their vehicle to an unlicensed friend, and they caused an accident, the owner would have to face serious consequences.
Firstly, their insurance may reduce their claim. Even if the friend wasn’t legally liable for the accident, the fact they were operating the vehicle without a license is a good enough reason for insurance companies to only partially cover the damages. In extreme cases, they may deny the claim altogether.
What’s more, the friend will likely be fined for illegally operating the motorcycle. This, in turn, could result in the vehicle getting impounded. Not only that, but if the accident caused bodily harm to the other parties involved, neither the friend’s nor the motorcycle owner’s insurance is likely to cover the cost of the damages. Therefore, the owner will be personally liable for covering the medical costs of the other party involved in the crash.
Safety Basics: How Much Force Can a Helmet Take?
Motorcyclists are 29% more likely to die when involved in traffic accidents. Hazards on the road like grass clippings can cause motorcycle accidents. Therefore, a motorcycle owner or anyone else riding the vehicle needs to take the necessary precautions to stay safe. One of the best ways to do this is by wearing adequate protective gear, such as safety helmets.
There are three types of safety helmets currently available for motorcyclists—the full helmet, the ¾ helmet, and the ½ helmet. Out of these options, the full helmet stands out since it provides the most coverage around the face and head.
Quality full helmets can withstand anywhere between 250-300 pounds of G force. This is roughly the amount of force a motorcyclist will be subjected to if they experience a 35 mile-per-hour impact. Therefore, motorcyclists looking to minimize their injuries should always wear adequate protective gear when going out for a ride.
Other, equally important safety measures motorcyclists can take include respecting traffic laws and understanding the basics of their insurance. Declaring an accident on motorcycle insurance is important. Following all these measures will not only keep them safer but also help them get adequate compensation if they get in a traffic accident.
To Sum Up
Riding a motorcycle is a risky endeavor. It’s much more dangerous than driving a car, and it requires a special license. Therefore, motorcycle owners that want to avoid future issues should refrain from lending their vehicles to their friends.
They should also take into account all the necessary safety measures, like understanding how much force a helmet can take, and how their motorcycle insurance works.
If a motorcycle owner or their friend was involved in an accident, both parties should seek assistance from the best motorcycle accident lawyer in Des Moines, like those at Tom Fowler Law. With a team of experienced professionals handling the case, the vehicle owner and anyone involved in the accident can secure the compensation they deserve.