Posted on Sep 19, 2019

How Riders Can Be Prepared For A Traffic Stop

No one wants to consider the possibility that they’ll be stopped by police while riding. Most riders might assume that simply obeying posted speed limits and staying in their lane is enough to avoid police attention. However, something as simple as a faulty taillight or your license plate not appearing in another state’s database might be enough to get you pulled over. Regardless of why a rider may be pulled over, it’s absolutely essential that they are prepared in the event of a traffic stop, so that they can get cleared and be on their way as quickly and easily as possible.

The first and most important thing any rider needs to hurry along an encounter with police is their motorcycle license, registration and proof of insurance. While certain bikes may be limited in their storage capabilities (specifically sport bikes), it is imperative for riders to keep these documents on them at all times as it proves they are legally authorized to operate their bike. Laminating these documents or keeping them in a sealed bag in a pocket of your riding jacket is a good idea, as exposure to the elements can often render them useless.

In that vein, it’s also important for riders to stay up to date on renewing their forms when necessary, so that they never get caught riding on an expired license, which can lead to much greater headaches. Ensure that all required safety inspections are current with the DMV, so that any officer can quickly and easily clear you in case of a traffic stop.

While it may seem like a hassle to keep these forms and documents on you whenever you ride, they are necessary to prove that you are riding legally should you need to. In short – it’s much better to have them on you and not need them, than find yourself in a situation where they are needed and be without them.

We also encourage riders to stay aware of any visible issues with their bikes and correct them as needed. As stated before, a faulty lightbulb may be all the reason an officer needs to pull you over. Regularly changing your bulbs, tightening loose bolts and upgrading tires when needed will keep you safe behind the handlebars and ensure that you don’t attract unwanted attention from the police.

Finally, it is important that riders understand their rights and behave appropriately while speaking with police officers. Be polite, stay calm and stay on topic. Don’t divulge unnecessary information, never touch the officer and always ask for an attorney if they try to search your property or detain you without a warrant.

To better understand how to deal with officers at a traffic stop, request one of our free 10 Rules For Dealing With Police cards. For more useful tips and articles for motorcycle riders, check out the Current News for Riders page on

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.