Motorcycle Sidecar Laws

Written by roger thorne
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Motorcycle Sidecar Laws
Motorcycle sidecar laws differ among states. (course de sidecars image by thierry planche from

While motorcycle sidecars are not very common today, they have been around since the early 1900s. All states have laws governing their use, but specific sidecar laws may not exist in all states. Motorcycle sidecar laws vary by state, so be aware of your own state's laws before using these vehicles.

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Some states require specific motorcycle licensing. For example, the state of Washington requires that drivers receive a motorcycle endorsement to their driver's license before being legally allowed to operate a motorcycle, according to the Washington Department of Licensing. When a sidecar is attached, the motorcycle operator also must have a sidecar/trike endorsement, which is separate from a motorcycle endorsement, even though the sidecar is attached to a motorcycle.


In some states, such as New York, motorcycle sidecars have no more restrictions than motorcycles, meaning that sidecars, like motorcycles, do not need to have seat belts but must comply with laws governing passenger footrests, eye protection and helmets.


In states that restrict the age of motorcycle passengers, sidecar passengers must generally follow the same rules. In states that have no age limit for motorcycle passengers, such as Missouri, passengers of any age can ride on the motorcycle or in the sidecar.

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