Front view of a person on a motorbike speeding

Cars and trucks pose a serious threat to motorcycles because bikes are significantly lighter and are not manufactured with the same safety features as passenger vehicles. For this reason, bikers are much more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries in a motorcycle accident.


Although motorcycle accidents are on the rise, the State of Tennessee is taking active measures to ensure that bikers stay safe. Tennessee has instituted motorcycle safety equipment requirements to help prevent or limit injuries to motorcyclists involved in serious crashes.


According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, motorcycles must have the following essential safety features:

  • Headlights, taillights, and brake lights
  • Turn signals
  • Front and rear brakes
  • Muffler
  • Left and right mirrors
  • Windshields
  • Safety goggles (if there is no windshield)
  • Footrests
  • Headlamp that maintains visibility 300 feet ahead
  • Horn

You are not allowed to carry a passenger on your motorcycle without a proper seat that has been installed for passengers. There should be securely attached footrests not only for the rider, but also for the passenger.

It is also important to inspect your motorcycle before you ride to ensure that all safety equipment is working properly. You should check tires and wheels, oils and fluids, lights, chassis, and stands.


Both riders and passengers are required to wear a motorcycle helmet when riding. Some exceptions include bikers 21 and older who are operating a motorcycle during a funeral procession, parade, or memorial ride. Any bikers with motorcycles that have an enclosed cab, three wheels that are in contact with the ground, or a bike that weighs less than 1,500 pounds are also exempt from wearing a helmet.

A helmet should meet the federal safety standards and the State of Tennessee requirements. The helmet should:

  • Have proper ventilation airways that exceed 1½ inches in diameter
  • Be free of cracks, loose padding, and frayed straps
  • Fit securely around your head
  • Have a label on it that says it complies with the requirements of the Southern Impact Research Center, the American Society for Testing Materials, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or the Snell Foundation

Not wearing a motorcycle helmet is against the law and is considered a Class C misdemeanor. Violation of this law is punishable by a $50 fine and up to 30 days in jail.

If you do not wear a helmet and you are in an accident, you will be found to have contributed to your injuries by disregarding the safety requirements. A violation of the helmet law may reduce or eliminate your ability to collect damages after an accident because the State of Tennessee doesn’t allow riders who are found to be more than 50 percent at fault to collect compensation in a personal injury claim.


If you are not wearing proper safety gear and are involved in a motorcycle crash, you could suffer serious injuries. Fractured or broken bones, road rash, deep cuts, loss of limbs, scarring, and disfigurement are common injuries in motorcycle crashes. The following is a list of protective clothing you should wear to keep safe on the road.

  • Riding Gloves: If you are knocked off your bike in a crash, you will probably extend your hands to protect yourself. Riding gloves can help protect your hands from skin damage, broken bones, or worse.
  • Motorcycle Jacket: Not only will a jacket protect you against the weather, but it will protect you from injuries. If you slide along the pavement in an accident and you are not wearing a jacket, your skin could be scraped off, causing damage to muscles, bone, and nerves.
  • Motorcycle Boots: It is a good idea to wear boots that are sturdy and have ankle protection. If you are wearing the wrong shoes, they could come off in an accident, leaving your feet and toes vulnerable.
  • Motorcycle Pants: Motorcycle pants constructed out of good material will provide more protection than a pair of jeans. If you slide on the pavement during an accident, jeans may get shredded easily.
  • Safety Goggles/Glasses: Dirt and road debris can get into your eyes and cause damage when riding. It is also wise to use special visors or glasses to block out the sun.

It is also imperative that you wear clothing that makes you visible and stand out, with bright colors or reflective strips. You want to be visible at all times so other drivers can see you.


If you are seriously hurt in a motorcycle crash, a negligent driver may be held liable for your injuries. You will not only be facing expensive medical bills for treatment, but you may lose income if you are forced to miss work due to your injuries. Because of the substantial losses and damages motorcycle accident victims face, you need to understand your rights and get legal help as soon as possible.

The Tennessee motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Office of David E. Gordon can help you pursue compensation for injuries that you have suffered due to another driver’s carelessness or negligence. We will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your accident, analyze your case, and handle negotiations with the insurance companies for you. We will do whatever is necessary to demand a full and fair settlement for you.

Contact us today for a free consultation at (901) 244-4837 or by filling out a contact form online.

The Law Offices of David E. Gordon

The Law Offices of David E. Gordon