Are Motorcycle Wheelies Illegal? State-By-State Guide to Wheelie Laws

Are Motorcycle Wheelies Illegal State By State Guide to Wheelie Laws

The first danger associated with performing a wheelie should be immediately apparent. The front wheel that lets a rider steer a motorcycle is off the road surface. While it is true that a motorcycle will generally track forward in a straight line, the risk of crashing increases when you remove the steering component.

Another consideration about wheelies is the dreaded point of no return. Yes, motorcycles tend to be well balanced, which allows a rider to lean into a turn or a long curve and recover to an upright position without crashing to the ground. There is, however, a point when you lean a motorcycle too far and cannot recover. This is the point of no return.

As you lean a motorcycle back to perform a wheelie, your position on the bike or applying too much power through the throttle may cause it to keep going backward until you crash. Other risks associated with wheelies include:

  • If the motorcycle is not balanced and tracking in a straight line when you pull up on the handlebars to begin a wheelie, you cannot make corrections once the front wheel is off the ground.
  • Exerting uneven pressure to the handlebars as you pull up into the wheelie position can cause the motorcycle to become unbalanced.
  • The only way to control the direction of the motorcycle once the front wheel has been raised is by subtle shifts in your weight. Do not attempt a wheelie unless you have confidence in your ability to control your motorcycle through transferring weight and body position.
  • When you lift the front end of a motorcycle, the headlight moves into an upward-facing position, which means your motorcycle may not be as visible to oncoming vehicles and you may not be able to see the road and obstacles that are ahead of you.

Lowering the front end to the ground after a wheelie is not without its own risks for a crash. For example, unless the front wheel is aligned to hit the ground aligned with the direction the motorcycle is traveling, the result can be a violent wobble and crash. Letting the front wheel come down too hard may cause a rider to lose control over the motorcycle and crash.

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