Motorcycle Riding in Construction Zones

May 18, 2012 View Comments by

It’s nearly summer, which means you’ve probably already ridden through plenty of construction zones. It may seem obvious that you should ride with more caution and watch for hazards in work areas, but did you know that nearly every state has special road construction traffic laws?

As a motorcyclist, you should know the work zone traffic laws where you ride. Here’s why:

It will save you money. Currently, 33 states and Washington, D.C., double the fine for speeding in a construction zone. Some even penalize motorists with points on their license. Your insurance company may raise your premium if you are cited for speeding or committing other traffic violations in a work zone.
You will avoid legal troubles. Several states’ penalties include jail time or community service. For example, you could spend up to six months in jail, or have to complete 120 hours of community service if you commit a traffic violation in a Nevada work zone.

It will help protect your legal rights. Committing a moving vehicle violation in a construction zone isn’t just illegal; it poses a serious safety risk to you, your passenger, and the vehicles near you. If you speed, pass in a no-passing zone, or ride aggressively in any way, you could cause an accident. Consequently, you may be found at fault, and motorists involved in the collision may file a legal claim against you for their injuries, missed work time, pain and suffering, and property damage.

Every State’s Work Zone Traffic Laws Are Different

Be sure to review the Work Zone Traffic Laws on the Governors Highway Safety Association website. Some states require workers or signs to be present for the laws to take effect, while others do not.

Finally, some states may have additional regulations. You may be required to have your headlights on while riding through a construction zone, even during the daytime.

Work Zones and Road Hazards

Work zones tend to be more dangerous for motorists. Bikers are especially at risk for the following hazards:

  • Rocks and debris on the road
  • Road drop-offs and uneven pavement
  • Shifting lanes
  • Pooling water
  • Suddenly stopped traffic
  • Workers near the road
  • Areas with no shoulders

If you’re in an accident in a work zone caused by an unmarked hazard, you may be able to recover compensation. If you believe a bad road condition caused the crash or made it worse, contact an attorney to learn your legal options.

Protect Yourself, Your Wallet, and Your Legal Rights

To have an enjoyable riding season year after year, know how to ride safely and avoid problems whenever possible. It’s especially important to follow work zone laws, whether you’re riding around town or on a cross-country tour. It will help you avoid fines, community service, and maybe even jail time. Plus, it will help you avoid legal claims and other insurance hassles.

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About the author

Attorney Michael H. Rosenzweig has over 20 years of experience helping bikers injured in motorcycle accidents. He is a partner and litigation manager at Edgar Snyder & Associates. The Edgar Snyder & Associates Harley-Davidson makes appearances at bike nights and rallies throughout the riding season.