Understanding motorcycle safety laws in New Mexico

The Land of Enchantment is an attractive state for bikers. If you like long roads and beautiful vistas, you and your hog have probably found your way through the Southwest before.

Motorcycle laws vary dramatically by state, so whether you live in New Mexico or are just passing through, it's important to understand the expectations that law enforcement has of motorcyclists. In this article, we outline a few core requirements of bikers in New Mexico:

Helmet

Many states have passed legislation requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets, but in New Mexico, this requirement only applies to children under the age of 18. However, in the event of a crash, a helmet can greatly reduce your chances of a serious injury--so it's best to wear a helmet at any age.

Eye protection

If your motorcycle doesn't have a fixed windshield, you must have auxiliary eye protection--in the form of a helmet with a built-in face shield, goggles or safety glasses.

Seats

New Mexico law requires all drivers and passengers to sit on secured, fixed seats whenever riding a motorcycle--and to keep their feet on built-in foot rests. In addition, a passenger may not ride on the same seat as a driver unless the seat is designed to carry two people.

Lights

All motorcycles must be equipped with a functioning:

  • Right and left turn signal
  • A red- or amber-colored taillight
  • At least one--and no more than two--headlights, which must be positioned 20-54 inches off of the ground.

When driving at night--or in other conditions where visibility is limited to less than 500 feet--a motorcyclist must turn on their head- and taillights. The headlight must illuminate at least 150 feet in front of the motorcycle, and the taillight must illuminate at least 200 feet behind the motorcycle.

Following the above regulations can help keep you safe on the road--and limit your liability in the event of an accident.

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