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Motorcyclists in Kentucky: What Are the Dangers?

June 7, 2022

There are many motorcyclists throughout Kentucky, and these individual riders and passengers enjoy the overall process of experiencing the roadway without the confines of vehicle walls. However, motorcyclists do face increased risks, risks that other drivers do not regularly run into. Here, we want to discuss some of the main dangers that motorcyclists face in Kentucky, and we hope this list helps every motorcyclist remain a little bit safer.

Motorcycle Laws in Kentucky

There are various laws specific to motorcycling that you should be aware of in Kentucky:

  • Motorcycle licenses. If a person wishes to apply for a motorcycle permit, they must be at least 18 years of age or older or hold a valid driver’s license. Any person under the age of 18 years old must have a parent or legal guardian that will assume responsibility for them before they can obtain a permit.  [KRS 186.450]    All first-time motorcycle riders in Kentucky who  take and pass the Motorcycle Safety Education Program (MSEP) are exempt from the licensing skills test required in order to obtain a Class M motorcycle license.  [KRS 176.5062]
  • Motorcycle helmets. In Kentucky, any person under the age of 21 is required to wear a helmet when driving or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle.   Those over 21 who are operating a motorcycle on an instruction permit or who have had a motorcycle license for less than one year must also wear a helmet.   For those who are required to wear a helmet, it must be approved by the US DOT. [KRS 189.285]
  • Motorcycle insurance requirements. Motorcyclists in Kentucky are required to carry the same types and amounts of insurance as drivers of regular passenger vehicles. Currently, this is as follows in Kentucky:
    • Bodily injury liability of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
    • Property Damage liability of $25,000 per accident [KRS 304.39-110]

Dangers for Motorcyclists in Kentucky

Motorcyclists are more exposed to outside forces than those inside traditional passenger vehicles. This matters because any type of collision with another vehicle or a stationary object (or the ground) is much more likely to lead to significant injuries.

Data from the Kentucky Department of Transportation indicates that there were 1,411 total motorcycles involved in accidents during the latest reporting year in the state. Out of those motorcycle accidents, there were 85 fatal incidents. The DOT shows that many of these crashes involved driver error (either the driver of another vehicle or the motorcycle operator). This includes:

  • Operating a vehicle impaired by alcohol
  • Operating while impaired by illegal or prescription medications
  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Losing control of a vehicle
  • Operating too fast for conditions
  • Failing to yield the right of way

Can Motorcyclists Split Lanes in Kentucky?

Currently, the practice of lane splitting is only allowed in a few states around the country, and Kentucky is not one of them. Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist travels down the center line of traffic in between two lanes going in the same direction. There are studies that indicate that lane splitting increases the safety of motorcyclists, particularly when traffic is congested.

Kentucky riders can, however, operate two abreast (or side by side). Riders can operate two abreast so long as they do not impede traffic on the roadway.

Work With an Attorney

If you or somebody you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligent acts of another driver, a skilled Kentucky motorcycle accident attorney can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to. This can include compensation for medical bills, lost income, property damage expenses, and more.