Rhode Island and Massachusetts Motorcycle Law FAQ

If you ride a motorcycle in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, it’s important to how the law applies to safety gear, traffic rules, and accident-related injuries where you live and ride. At Bottaro Law, our attorneys know Rhode Island and Massachusetts motorcycle laws, and we’re here to provide you with the information you need to ride smart. We’ve created this FAQ to help provide basic information on motorcycle-related topics we are asked about the most.

Our lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of motorcyclists in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. We’ve served injury victims for more than 10 years, and we’re happy to help answer the questions and concerns you might have after an accident. When you’re ready to contact an attorney, we’re ready to speak with you—just dial (401) 777-7777 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or contact us online for a free case review.

Are motorcycle riders required to wear helmets in Massachusetts and Rhode Island?

Massachusetts and Rhode Island have different laws regarding motorcycle helmets.

  • Massachusetts requires all motorcyclists, including passengers, to wear helmets while riding.
  • Rhode Island requires all motorcyclists to wear helmets within the first year of getting their license, regardless of age. After the one-year period is up, only motorcyclists under the age of 21 are required to wear helmets.

You can view a map of motorcycle helmet laws across the nation here.

Is lane splitting legal in Massachusetts and Rhode Island?

No. Lane splitting—the practice of riding between lanes of traffic flowing in the same direction—is not legal in Massachusetts or Rhode Island. In fact, many riders are surprised to learn that lane splitting is not officially legal anywhere in the country. California’s Highway Patrol has issued guidelines that outline specific circumstances in which riders may be stopped for lane splitting, effectively authorizing safe lane splitting in certain conditions, but the nationwide debate on whether lane splitting is safe enough to be legal is ongoing.

Can I sue for my motorcycle accident injuries?

In most cases, you must be able to prove that another negligent driver was at fault for your motorcycle accident to be able to sue for your injuries. However, if your accident was the result of a motorcycle defect or mechanical failure with your bike, you may have a claim against the motorcycle’s manufacturer and distributor. Other factors that contributed to the accident, including unreasonably dangerous road conditions, may also be grounds for filing a claim.

In short, if you were involved in a motorcycle accident and someone else is to blame, you may have a case. Our motorcycle accident lawyers know Rhode Island and Massachusetts law, and we’re here to provide a free case review to help determine your rights to compensation.

Can I still recover damages if I was partially at fault for a motorcycle accident?

It depends. Rhode Island is a “pure comparative negligence” state, which means that, even though an accident may be partially your fault, you can still recover damages from another at-fault party. However, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

Massachusetts is a “modified” comparative fault state, which can have a significant effect on your compensable damages if you are found to be partially at fault for a car accident. Under “modified” comparative fault rules, you can only recover damages in a crash if you are found to be less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. Like Rhode Island, the amount of damages you receive will be reduced by an amount equal to the percentage of fault you share in causing the crash.

Before you dismiss the possibility of recovering damages for your motorcycle injuries, contact Bottaro Law to discuss the specific facts of your case.

What is ATGATT?

ATGATT is an acronym that stands for “All the gear, all the time.” Many riders follow ATGATT and encourage their fellow riders to do the same. While you may not be able to walk away from a motorcycle accident completely unscathed, wearing full protective riding gear—including a DOT certified helmet, gloves, boots, jacket, and padded pants—can help reduce your risk of suffering severe injuries and shorten your road to recovery.

If I’m unable to work because of my injuries, how can I afford to hire an attorney?

At Bottaro Law, we don’t think you should have to worry about how you’ll pay for an experienced attorney after a motorcycle accident. That’s why we offer the No Fee Guarantee®, a promise to you that you won’t pay us anything unless you win your case. If you or a loved one suffered injuries because of a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, call us today at (401) 777-7777. Let us put our knowledge and resources to work for you.

We’re Available 24/7!

Case Results

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    Auto products liability case involving airbag deployment resulting in loss of vision in one eye and facial fractures.

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    A 61-year-old man underwent emergency surgery and a knee replacement procedure due to injuries sustained in a serious motorcycle accident.

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    Our client suffered multi-level disc injury when steel I-beams fell from a commercial truck on Route 10 resulting in multiple cervical surgeries.

  • $500,000.00

    Personal Injury Attorney Mike Bottaro helps client who suffered amputations from complications after a nursing home injury.

  • $500,000.00

    This case involved an elderly couple and their granddaughter who were injured after a car turned left in front of their vehicle. The injuries for the woman involved a fractured neck, broken ribs, and an eventual stroke. The man suffered from various injuries from which he never recovered, resulting in his untimely death.

  • $325,000.00

    This case involved deviations in the standard of care involving pressure ulcers resulting in death.

  • $325,000.00

    Our North Kingstown, RI, client was injured in a bike accident, fracturing his patella and requiring emergency surgery. We worked with experts, including a life care planner to ensure our client received fair compensation.

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