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Info 101: Iowa State motorcycle laws

Iowa motorcycle laws

  • AMA


  • Iowa DOT

The Motorcycle Examiners are hard at work compiling a list of motorcycle laws by state.

Several states have been referenced and published and talented folks all over the country are just keyboard banging their little fingers to the bone to get you ready for the upcoming riding season.

Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky and Texas are just a few of the lawful examples of possible published prose.

So grab your pen and paper and pop open a cold one and take some notes, so the next time Officer Friendly wants to hassle you about those pipes, you'll have the 411 to at least carry on a knowledgeable conversation.


  • Safety Helmet  - Not Required
  • State Funded Rider Ed - Available for all eligible applicants-required under age 18
  • Eye Protection - Not required
  • Daytime use of headlight - Required by law-modulating headlight permitted, required for vehicles manufactured after 4/1/77
  • Passenger seat - Required if carrying a passenger
  • Passenger footrest - Required if carrying a passenger
  • Passenger age restriction - None
  • Helmet speakers - No restriction
  • Periodic Safety Inspection - Not required
  • Mirror Left(L) Right(R) - One required by law
  • Radar detector - No restriction
  • Turn signals - Not required
  • Muffler - No acoustical criteria
  • Maximum Sound Level - No acoustical criteria
  • State Insurance Requirement - Compulsory Liability (Minimum Limits)(25/40/15)
  • Handlebar Height - No Restrictions. Effective April 13, 1998 - Chapter 1075 & Chapter 1178 §3.
  • Rider Education Waiver - Skills test
  • Acceptable motorcycle endorsements from other states - Yes
  • Accept Riders Ed completion card from other states - No
  • Motorcycles operating abreast in the same lane - Yes. 321.275 - Operation of motorcycles and motorized bicycles. Use of traffic lanes. Persons shall not operate motorcycles or motorized bicycles more than two abreast in a single lane. Except for persons operating such vehicles two abreast, a motor vehicle shall not be operated in a manner depriving a motorcycle or motorized bicycle operator of the full use of a lane.
  • Lane Splitting - 321.275 Operation of motorcycles and motorized bicycles 4. Use of traffic lanes. A motorcycle or motorized bicycle shall not be operated between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles. The operator of a motorcycle or motorized bicycle shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken unless the vehicle being overtaken is a motorcycle or motorized bicycle.
  • Lemon Law Coverage - No
  • Blood Alcohol - Over 21 .08 - Under 21 .02

Off Road

  • Safety Helmet  - Required on funded OHV parks
  • Eye Protection - Not required
  • Minimum Operator Age - It's the Law—Iowa's Off-Road Vehicle Laws Age Restrictions for ATV Operation There are no age restrictions for operating an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on private land. However, the following age restrictions apply to operation of ATVs on designated public lands and ATV Parks. Under 12 years of age: A person under the age of 12 shall not operate an all-terrain vehicle, including an off-road motorcycle, on a designated riding area or designated riding trail or on ice unless one of the following applies: The person is taking a prescribed safety training course and operation is under the direct supervision of a certified all-terrain vehicle safety instructor. ATV and off-road motorcycle riders under the age of 12 must be under the direct supervision of an adult possessing a valid drivers license. Direct supervision means maintaining visual and verbal contact at all times. 12 to 17 years of age: Persons between the ages of 12 and 17, inclusive, may operate on designated public lands or ice or ATV parks if they have a valid ATV safety certificate. Persons 18 or older: Persons age 18 and up may operate on designated public lands or ice or ATV parks without a valid ATV safety certificate
  • Rider Education Certification - Required if under 16 years of age - Required for ATV riders under age 18
  • Operator License - Not required
  • Headlight - Required after sunset
  • Taillight - Required after sunset
  • Muffler - Required by law
  • Maximum Sound Level - 86dba measured at 50 feet
  • Spark Arrestor - Not Required
  • Registration - Required by law
  • Vehicle Title - Required by law
  • Trails Program - Not available
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Info 101: Motorcycle Laws for other states

  • Arkansas: Shreveport Motorcycle Travel Examiner, Mary Baker
  • Kentucky: Motorcycle Travel Examiner, Patty Davis
  • Louisiana:  Shreveport Motorcycle Travel Examiner, Mary Baker
  • Oklahoma:  Shreveport Motorcycle Travel Examiner, Mary Baker
  • Missouri:  Kansas City Motorcycle Examiner, ES Rossiter


  • Patty Davis 5 years ago

    I think we are going to see the most differences in the laws when it is regards to helmets.

  • Tex 5 years ago

    I am confused on this article. I will stick to looking up the Department of Transportation of each respective state, in order to know the exact stance on each motorcycle law.

  • ES Rossiter KC MC Examiner 5 years ago

    What has you confused Tex? In what areas of research may I be more diligent, in order to allay your fears?

  • Mary Baker 5 years ago

    Thanks for the 411 on Iowa.

  • Randy 5 years ago

    Thanks for listing the basic safety and equipment requirements. You have given us the basic regulations that most of us will need as we travel from state to state. I appreciate these articles for it’s a reminder that each state has their own little twist to what we thought was the law…

  • 20031200 5 years ago

    With the liberal Iowa Motorcycle laws it's no wonder there are so many serious motorcycle accidents.I just can't get over how many riders elect not too wear helmets.I'm glad i'm a ATGATT rider.

  • Anonymous 4 years ago

    •Muffler - No acoustical criteria

    i am really curious on the actual meaning of this phrase ... that is where i am confussed on the whole deal ... i was informed that all motorcycles are required by law to have a muffler ... but i can not find any law stating such claim ... i recieved a defective muffler ticket last night ( which i think is very funny ), but i recieved the ticket because my '76 sportster has drag pipes vs. a stock muffler ...

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