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Lane splitting and other Wisconsin motorcycle laws



For your safety and the safety of others, if you operate a motorcycle, it is imperative that you know Wisconsin’s motorcycle laws. Keep in mind that if you drive your motorcycle in other states, the laws may differ and it is your responsibility to know what those laws are.


Wisconsin motorcycle laws

There are several laws pertaining to the proper operation of motorcycles in Wisconsin. They include the following.

  • Lane splitting or traffic filtering: Lane splitting, also known as traffic filtering, white-lining, lane sharing and stipe-riding is illegal in Wisconsin. It refers to riding a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic, close to the white lines on roadways. To date, only California has legalized the practice. It is considered a practice that can be very dangerous to cyclists because motor vehicle drivers frequently don’t check their mirrors to see if there is a motorcyclist riding next to them. That means that at any moment, a car could move out of its lane and hit the rider and/or passenger. For safer cycling, experts recommend not driving faster than other traffic, staying alert and anticipating the movements of other drivers, avoiding driving in the blind spots of other vehicles, considering the width of the lanes and the size of surrounding vehicles, and staying aware of weather and road conditions.

  • Motorcycle passengers:It is legal to carry a single passenger on your motorcycle if you have a Class M license. In addition, your motorcycle must be equipped with a passenger seat and foot pegs for two people.

  • Licensing: All motorcyclists must have a class M motorcycle license or motorcycle instruction permit. Those with a learner’s permit or instructional motorcycle permit must wear a helmet.

  • Eye protection: All motorcycle riders must have eye protection, consisting of a windscreen, a helmet shield, glasses or goggles.

  • Headlights:Motorcyclists in Wisconsin must drive with their headlights on, even during daylight hours.

  • Minor passengers: Children under the age of 18 must complete a rider education course and must wear a motorcycle helmet.

  • Turn signals:All motorcycles must be equipped with turn signals, a rear-view mirror and a muffler.

  • Handlebars: Handlebars may not be more than 30 inches above the seat level.

  • Side by side operation: Two motorcyclists are permitted to operate in a single lane of traffic.

  • Parking: Motorcyclists can park at an angle in parallel parking areas. Up to three motorcycles may park in a metered stall unless signs indicate otherwise. All motorcycles in the metered stall will be considered in violation, if the meter expires.

  • Insurance: All motorcyclists must carry accident liability insurance.

Make sure you are familiar with the motorcycle laws and if you have any questions about Wisconsin laws and safety programs, check out the Wisconsin Department of Transportationwebsite.


If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, do give us a call to discuss your case. All consultations are free.


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