February 23, 2024

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Don’T Trip On What’S Behind You

Don’T Trip On What’S Behind You Occasionally, motorcyclists acquire a new bike only to discover that it lacks rearview mirrors. They ponder, “Do I really need mirrors on my motorcycle?” The concise response is yes – for both legal compliance and your personal safety.

In certain states like Georgia, you might easily come across motorcycles without mirrors, but these same vehicles would be deemed illegal in South Carolina and Tennessee. Even vintage bikes are often sold sans mirrors but are legally required to have them for operation. Whether you’re preparing for a road trip or simply striving to enhance your ride’s safety, it’s prudent to familiarize yourself with the rearview mirror regulations in the United States.

Do Motorcycles Require Mirrors?

Don'T Trip On What'S Behind You
Don’T Trip On What’S Behind You

In the United States, 22 out of 50 states mandate some form of mirrors on motorcycles, with five states necessitating two rearview mirrors (typically one on each handlebar). While the remaining 28 states do not impose a legal mirror requirement, it is generally advisable to install one that provides visibility of at least 200 feet behind you. This practice helps prevent accidents and enhances overall road safety.

States That Mandate Mirrors:

Don'T Trip On What'S Behind You
Don’T Trip On What’S Behind You
  • Alaska: Requires both left and right rearview mirrors.
  • Arizona: Requires a rearview mirror.
  • Arkansas: Requires one rearview mirror.
  • California: Requires a rearview mirror that displays at least 200 feet behind the vehicle.
  • Kentucky: Requires a rearview mirror.
  • Maine: Requires a rearview mirror that displays at least 200 feet behind the vehicle.
  • Maryland: Requires both left and right rearview mirrors.
  • Minnesota: Requires a rearview mirror that displays at least 200 feet behind the vehicle.
  • Missouri: Requires a rearview mirror.
  • Nevada: Requires both left and right rearview mirrors, both displaying at least 200 feet behind the vehicle.
  • New Hampshire: Requires a rearview mirror.
  • New York: Requires a rearview mirror.
  • North Carolina: Requires a rearview mirror that displays at least 200 feet behind the vehicle.
  • North Dakota: Requires a rearview mirror with a minimum reflective surface of 10 square inches.
  • Ohio: Requires a rearview mirror.
  • Oklahoma: Requires both left and right rearview mirrors with a reflection surface of at least three inches in diameter and displaying at least 200 feet behind the vehicle.
  • Rhode Island: Requires a rearview mirror.
  • South Carolina: Requires a rearview mirror.
  • Tennessee: Requires a rearview mirror on the left handlebar.
  • Utah: Requires a rearview mirror.
  • Washington: Requires both left and right rearview mirrors, both displaying at least 200 feet behind the vehicle.
  • West Virginia: Requires a rearview mirror that displays at least 200 feet behind the vehicle.

States That Don’t Mandate Mirrors:

Don'T Trip On What'S Behind You
Don’T Trip On What’S Behind You
  • Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming do not have mirror requirements for motorcycles. While there are no formal penalties for lacking a mirror on your bike in these states, it’s generally advisable to have a rearview mirror for accident avoidance and overall safety.

How Many Mirrors Are Required on a Motorcycle?

Don'T Trip On What'S Behind You
Don’T Trip On What’S Behind You

In general, at least one rearview mirror is necessary, but five out of the 50 states require two mirrors, with one on each handlebar. If you plan on traveling through such areas, consider either purchasing a motorcycle equipped with two mirrors or adding an extra mirror to your second handlebar. Each state may have its specific requirements, including visibility distance, mirror placement on the vehicle, and mirror reflection surface area.

Read More : What To Wear On A Road Trip

What About Other Countries?

If you’re contemplating an extensive road trip, you might wonder if motorcycles need rearview mirrors in other countries. Typically, the answer remains affirmative. In Canada, for instance, having at least one securely affixed mirror on your “motorbike” is required. For your own safety during extended journeys, it’s generally prudent to equip your motorcycle with a rearview mirror.

Read More : How To Switch From Trip Meter To Odometer

The Case for Rearview Mirrors on Motorcycles

Some seasoned motorcyclists may scoff at the notion of attaching an ostentatious mirror to their elegant bike, asserting that they can simply turn their head to check blind spots. However, riding is all about reaction time. Swiveling your head while wearing a helmet consumes valuable fractions of a second that are crucial for responding to accidents and averting injury. Opting for the safest route ensures peace of mind and the ability to traverse state borders without concern.