When riding a motorcycle, knowing the rules of the road reduces your risk for serious personal injury in an accident. Whether you just bought your first motorcycle or need a refresher, prepare yourself before you ride. 

Start with this guide to the motorcycle laws in Minnesota. 

License and insurance 

Before taking the road, you must obtain either a state instruction permit or license endorsement. You must have a valid license plate on your registered motorcycle and carry proof of liability insurance. 

Riders with a permit cannot ride with passengers. They may not ride after dark until they earn a full license. 

Helmets and gear 

Minnesota state law requires helmets approved by the Department of Transportation for motorcycle riders who have learner’s permits and all riders and passengers who are younger than 18. All riders must wear eye protection, including glasses, goggles or a face shield. You can wear headphones in one ear only while operating a motorcycle. 

Operation of a motorcycle 

Motorcycle riders must follow the same driving laws that apply to other motor vehicles. They have full use of their traffic lanes and can also take advantage of carpool lanes. You cannot ride between or split lanes of traffic. However, you can ride side-by-side in agreement with another biker in the same lane. 

Minnesota law prohibits motorcyclists from driving recklessly and/or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You can only carry a passenger when he or she has a designated seat with footrests. 

You cannot carry anything that prevents you from holding the bike’s handlebars. You must face forward and have one leg on each side of your vehicle. 

If you stop at a red light and no cars or pedestrians are approaching from either direction, you can proceed through the intersection when it is safe to do so. 

You may want to take a motorcycle safety course if you are new to your bike. Doing so can help prevent serious auto accident injury.