Iowa has traffic laws that apply specifically to motorcycle riders.

Iowa motorcyclists, like all motorists, must abide by the rules of the road. Some of those rules apply to all drivers. Obeying the speed limit, abiding by road signs, and having the appropriate vehicle insurance, for example, are things that all drivers, including motorcycle riders, must do.

Iowa Motorcycle License Laws

Before we get to the laws for riding motorcycles in Iowa, it is important to know what you have to do to get an Iowa motorcycle license. You may begin riding on public roads once you 14 years old and you pass a written knowledge test to get your motorcycle instruction permit. Once you have your permit, you may ride with a member of your immediate family who is at least 21 years old and has a motorcycle endorsement or another rider who is at least 25 years old and has a motorcycle endorsement. If you are under the age of 18 and riding with someone who is not an immediate family member, then you need your parent or guardian’s written permission.

To get your full motorcycle license or a motorcycle endorsement on your existing license, you will need to pass a written knowledge test, a driving test, and a vision screening. However, the driving test may be waived if you complete an Iowa approved motorcycle education class.

Iowa State Laws Specific to Riders on the Road

On public roads, Iowa laws require:

  • The use of headlights during the day.
  • Passenger seats and passenger footrests for bikes that carry passengers.
  • Rider education for motorcyclists under the age of 18. Motorcycle education is available for riders of all ages but is not always required for older riders.

Additionally, the law allows:

  • Two riders to ride side by side in the same lane.
  • Passengers of any age to ride with a licensed motorcyclist.
  • Riders to carry packages if they can do so without obscuring their views.

Other laws may also apply in specific situations. However, Iowa currently has no restrictions on handlebar height or helmet speakers. The law does not require bikes to have turn signals. Additionally, state law does not require riders to wear eye protection or safety helmets.

You Need to Know About These Laws for Two Reasons

All riders should know about the laws for operating a motorcycle in Iowa. These laws may help you avoid a serious accident and keep you safe from injury in some circumstances. Additionally, if you are involved in a crash, then the laws could be relevant to any potential finding of liability or contributory negligence. In other words, whether you followed the laws could be relevant to whether you were at fault for the accident and relevant to your potential recovery.

You Can Do Everything Right and Still Be Hurt in an Iowa Motorcycle Crash

You may have followed all of Iowa’s motorcycle laws, and even some of the state’s recommendations for safe riding. Yet, another driver’s distracted or negligent behavior still caused you to be seriously hurt in a crash. You are now the one who is suffering from a head injury, spinal cord injury, road rash, broken bone, eye injury, or another type of injury, and you are the one who deserves to make a fair and full recovery for all of the injuries that you’ve suffered.

Motorcycle accidents—particularly serious crashes that result in significant injuries—are not always straightforward. If you have been hurt, then we encourage you to read our FREE book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims, and to browse the free resources available on our website for more information and tips about your rights and potential recovery.

The attorneys of Hupy and Abraham have more than 200 years of combined legal experience. We provide tough, compassionate, and aggressive representation to all of our clients. We have collected tens of millions of dollars for our motorcycle accidents clients, and as riders ourselves, we are committed to helping you get the fair recovery that you deserve.

Jason F. Abraham
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Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham