Bikers who are highly concerned with vehicle safety are generally called “car drivers.” Our willing-to-brave-it biker culture rarely uses – or even wants to use – the terms “motorcycle” and “vehicle safety” in the same sentence. Of course, that assumes we are not talking to a government!
Generally in the U.S., motorcycles are “motor vehicles” for the sake of any regulation, including vehicle safety inspections.
Inspections fall into two categories: The first is good ole fashioned mechanical soundness – do the tires have tread, do the headlights shine, do the blinkers blink… that sort of thing?
With the passage of the Clean Air Act of 1990, vehicle emissions are also regulated and yes, motorcycles are caught in the net.
This article will break down by state what you must do to keep your bike in the mechanical good graces of your local DMV. Bikers rarely have to worry about emissions standards because emissions are measured by the time-rate of exhaust-output at idle. Motorcycle engines are so much smaller than automobile engines, they almost always pass, unless they are smoking.
Keep in mind, regardless of whether your state requires inspections or whether your bike displays a current sticker, the police can pull you over if they observe that your bike is not safe.
Below is a chart which breaks down the Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Inspection requirements state by state. Included are the Emissions Inspections requirements for each state.
David C. Johnston, Esq., is a personal injury attorney with George Sink, PA Injury Lawyers. David has been riding since age 12 and currently enjoys his 1977 BMW R-100-S. Please feel free to call David with questions, 24/7.