Request a Free Consultation

Motorcycle Laws Every Rider Needs to Know in Illinois

Request a Free Consultation
Posted on May 31, 2023

If you are a motorcycle rider in the state of Illinois, perhaps moving here from a new area or maybe a new motorcycle rider altogether, then there are some important laws that you need to be aware of. Here, we want to discuss motorcycle licensing requirements, Illinois motorcycle helmet requirements, equipment requirements, and insurance requirements.

Obtaining a Motorcycle License

Motorcyclists must obtain a Class M license. The “M” designates that a person is qualified to operate a motorcycle in the state of Illinois. Riding a motorcycle without the proper license classification is a serious traffic law violation.

Individuals should be 18 years of age or older and have a current regular driver’s license before applying for a Class M license. The applicant will need to complete a written and road test in order to obtain the license, and they will also have to pass a vision test and pay a permit fee. If an individual is over the age of 18 and has passed an approved motorcycle training course, they will not have to take the road course portion of the license exam.

If individuals are 16 or 17 years old, they will have to complete a rider education program along with a motorcycle training course to learn the basics of safe motorcycle operations. For those under the age of 18, a motorcycle riding instructional permit is valid for 24 months. For those 18 years of age or older, the motorcycle permit is valid for 12 months.

Wearing a Helmet in Illinois

Unlike other states, Illinois does not mandate the use of motorcycle helmets for riders. Not even laws put in place by local municipalities or counties can require individuals to wear a motorcycle helmet if they do not wish to wear one. However, motorcycle helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle operators. The use of a helmet is strongly encouraged.

Motorcycle Equipment Requirements

Motorcycles must have certain basic equipment in order to remain legal on the roadway. This includes the following:

  • Front and rear brakes
  • A headlight, tail light, signal flashers, and a license plate light
  • Handlebars below shoulder height
  • An unmodified muffler
  • Left or right side view mirror
  • A horn
  • Footrests for a passenger if there is a passenger seat

Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Every motorcyclist in the state of Illinois must carry insurance, just like they do with a traditional vehicle. The state of Illinois mandates a 25/50/20 requirement. This means that individuals should have:

  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for personal injury claims
  • $20,000 in property damage coverage

These are incredibly low minimum requirements, and most accidents involving a motorcycle and another vehicle will quickly reach these limits when it comes to injuries and property damage expenses. We strongly encourage motorcyclists to obtain higher limits for bodily injury and property damage coverage, as well as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

Rules of the Road

Motorcyclists must follow all of the same traffic laws that drivers of traditional vehicles must follow. This includes speed limit, not driving while impaired, not driving while distracted, etc. Additionally, every rider must have their headlights on at all times, and they must keep one hand on the handlebars at all times. Lane splitting, the practice of riding between two lanes of vehicles going in the same direction, is prohibited in Illinois.

Questions about motorcycle laws in Illinois? Consult with our lawyers at Holley, Rosen & Beard, LLC, for a free initial consultation. Serving motorcyclists across the state. Call us today at (217) 544-3368 or (877) 671-5884. Your safety is our priority.