The Rollin Rebels Motorcycle Club in Marietta, Ohio are looking into getting a petition started to repel law 4511.53 that
states your handlebar height can only be 15 inches from the seat to the handgrips. The motorcycle club is looking for that very outdated law to change
to allow handlebars to be a maximum of shoulder height.
Other States that have the same handlebar height requirement as OHIO (please note that some of these States may have since changed their laws)
are Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri,
North Dakota, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.
States with handlebar height is based on handgrips must be below shoulder height Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire,
New Jersey, New York, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Nebraska is a stand alone state with it’s law stating that you are allowed a MAXIMUM OF 15 INCHES ABOVE HANDLEBAR FASTENING POINT.
Washington and Wisconsin allow for a MAXIMUM OF 30 INCHES ABOVE SEAT.
In Oklahoma,HANDLEBARS MAY NOT BE HIGHER THAN OPERATOR’S EYE LEVEL.
California, HANDLEBARS MUST BE POSITIONED SO THAT OPERATOR’S HANDS ON GRIPS ARE NOT MORE THAN 6 INCHES ABOVE SHOULDER HEIGHT WHEN SEATED. Thanks
to the Governator for changing California’s outdated law.
And the States with no restrictions on handlebar height are Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi,
Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia.
Remember some of these may have changed so always verify with your DMV office the proper handlebar height for your State!
What is the reason behind these laws? Well, that is what I find so interesting. No one seems to know exactly. It seems it was common for states
to enact a 15 inch requirement during the late 50’s and 60’s. It may have been an attempt to be an attempt to thwart outlaw motorcycle gangs who
would frequently customize their motorcycles with high handlebars.
Concerns have arisen about high handlebars on motorcycles. These fall into the safety category. The thinking is that high handlebars would be harder
to steer, the height and therefore the riders hand position on high handlebars could lead to fatigue and they create an additional obstacle to handle
There is no proof to back these "concerns" up.
The web site link below is a great source for stock motorcycle handlebar heights.
This info can change and as such the rider is responsible for obeying all traffic laws.
So to the motorcycle riders in Ohio that want to customize their bikes with ape hanger handlebars, keep your eyes out for
this petition from the Rollin Rebels Motorcycle Club.