The New York state laws regarding motorcycle regulations are found in the Vehicle and Traffic Laws under Section 501.
Motorcycle riders and their passengers are all required to wear helmets meeting the safety standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
A Class M license, a learner's permit or an MJ operator's license is required to drive a motorcycle in the state. In order to obtain a learner's permit, residents must first pass a written test at the Department of Motor Vehicles testing location.
Learners honing their skills must be supervised by someone in possession of a valid motorcycle license. Supervising drivers must remain in sight, no more than a quarter mile away from the novice at all times. The state recommends novice riders practice for at least 30 supervised hours, although this is not a requirement.
Those who are ready to take the road test must being along a licensed motorcycle driver who is 18 or older to drive the cycle. A vehicle must also be available in which the license examiner will ride.
Those who already possess a permit to operate a motorcycle, as well as a valid driver's license, can get the road test waived if they successfully complete an educational training course that is taught by a certified instructor with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
In addition to helmets, eye protection is also required for riders. The minimum standards for eye protection is established by the American National Standard Institute.
Riders must also use daytime headlights. Headlight modulators are allowed. Footrests and passenger seats are required for passengers. Any helmet speakers can only have a single earphone.
These and other regulations are designed to protect motorcyclists and their passengers. Despite all precautions, accidents happen, and many bikers are killed or seriously injured due to at-fault drivers. Those who are injured, and the survivors of those who are killed, have the right to seek damages through the civil court system.
Source: New York Department of Health, "New York State Motorcycle Laws and Licensing," accessed Oct. 23, 2015