To provide the proper safety and ensure the safety of both the rider and the dog traveling on a motorcycle, various countries have set up different rules and laws about this situation, and these laws change based on the state you are in and could either have more laws which you need to follow or less.
This means that if one state requires one thing, it does not necessarily mean that the other will require it as well.
For that reason, I will be listing the popular states & countries for dogs on motorcycle law. The countries I will be talking about will be:
- The United States
- Most European Countries
Make sure to read the entire article as you learn about the various laws and how they change according to the state or the country you are in.
Universal Dog Safety Laws On A Motorcycle
Before we talk about the perspective of different states and countries on riding on motorcycles with the popular dogs, I should first inform you of some universal safety measures you can take to ensure that your dog is safe and doesn’t distract you while you are driving your motorcycle.
While all of these may not be required in every country on this list, it does help to make sure that your beloved pet is safe and secure on the motorcycle and off it so that it does not cause any disturbances on the road.
You can achieve this safety by having the proper equipment, teaching your dog basic safety measures and training, and teaching them what not to do when on a motorcycle.
Having The Proper Supplies
Before embarking on your journey with your furry friend, you must first have the necessary equipment and supplies you could need. Many of these supplies are required by state and country law to be present when you take your dog on your motorcycle.
The first few things you want to have with you are a good amount of food and water you need to offer to your pet.
The second thing you need to have is a proper dog first aid kit in case something horrible happens, as even with the most careful planning, anything could go wrong.
Having The Right Equipment
Having the right equipment to go along with the supplies you pack for the journey is just as important. The biggest and most important piece of equipment has a dog carrier that holds your dog in place and prevents them from falling off and distracting you while you drive.
A dog backpack could be equipped, but if you cannot wear one for long journeys or your dog is not comfortable while in one, you could get a proper dog carrier that can be mounted on the back of your motorcycle. Other equipment includes leashes and harnesses, which certain states also require you to have.
Teach Your Dog Roadside Manners
Having your dog be well behaved is a huge positive when taking it out for a drive on your motorcycle. This is because a trained dog is less likely to cause any disturbances to your and to other drivers, which may end up causing an accident.
On the other hand, some dogs may just not be comfortable while on or even near a bike, so keeping them calm when around or on a motorcycle is a necessary step when thinking about taking them out for a ride and is sometimes a requirement in some countries and states.
How Can You Follow These Laws?
The first step to following the laws set by these various countries is to know which set of laws you need to follow as not all states and countries require the same thing. You should be well versed in the laws of your city & state and know what to do and how to follow the rules.
Even if they are not a part of your local rule set, it is probably best to follow them anyway as it makes for a good habit and these laws are set to protect you and your dog, so there is no harm in not following them.
These laws require you to have various equipment and supplies, so make sure to have them before thinking about taking your dog out for a ride.
The supplies could be from food and water to medical provisions, and equipment could be leashes, harnesses, and dog carriers, so make sure to have these so you can easily follow the laws.
The United States
Most states that have dog laws have made it clear that you must have a dog carrier when taking your dog for a ride, and the dog must be safe and comfortable inside, with the carrier being safely and securely attached or mounted to the motorcycle. Another law that many states of the US require is the dog being cross tethered to the motorcycle.
While certain states do not have a lot of laws on dogs on motorcycles, the states of Nevada, Oregon, and the state of Washington all agree that carrying an animal or pet on a vehicle in a cruel way will be against the law be punishable as a misdemeanor.
If the owner cannot afford or own a dog carrier, dog helmet or cannot properly secure the dog on the motorcycle, it must be cross tethered to the vehicle.
Other states such as California, New Hampshire & Massachusetts go further in-depth into this scenario and make it a requirement that the dog must be placed inside the carrier such that it prevents the dog from being thrown, falling from, or jumping off the motorcycle and require a cage or a container being used to transport the dog.
Whatever the case, the space must be enclosed and have side and tail racks tall as at least 46 inches and extend from the floor vertically.
The State of Rhode Island has fewer laws than the last few states but instead says that the dog must be under the control of a person other than the rider who cannot focus on the dog and must put all focus on the road. This state also requires the dog to be safely restrained on the vehicle by any means other than neck restraints.
Australia has quite a few states which have extensive and different rules on dogs on motorcycles. Australia’s state of New South Wales & South Australia requires the dog not to be under a lead or be tethered while the vehicle is moving, having the dog be in an appropriate position that is not the driver’s lap or between the handlebars.
The same is the case with the state of Victoria, which does not have rules on securing animals but requires no animal to be on the rider’s lap or be tied to the motorcycle.
The laws of Queensland state that the dog must be secured and restrained safely in a container, and it is an offense to drive with a dog otherwise. Western Australia and Tasmania allow animals to be between the rider, but only for a distance of 500 meters and for farming purposes.
Otherwise, it is still against the law. The northern Territory requires that animals should not be placed on the motorcycle’s fuel tank.
Overall the laws of dogs on motorcycles require that the dog be securely positioned on the bike such that it must not be able to distract the driver and must not be between the driver and absolutely cannot be on the fuel tank of the car.
This means that the only way to properly secure your dog on your motorcycle is by using a dog carrier that can be fixed on the back of your motorcycle.
The carrier can be strapped on the back or mounted on the sissy bars of the motorcycle. Other than this, the laws do not require you to have any extra equipment or supplies. The only thing you need to worry about is the positioning and security of your dog on the bike.
While Europe consists of 44 different countries, they all generally follow the same rules and regulations when it comes to dogs on motorcycles, most of them following the legislations set by the United Kingdom.
One of the main laws on this topic set by the UK is to have the dog secure and properly restrained on the bike so that it cannot distract the driver or injure itself in case of a quick break. Here they also recommend using a belt harness, pet carrier, or a dog cage to restrict your pet.
Other laws about the animal’s general condition and that it should be transported in such a way that it does not come into harm is comfortable and does not suffer. This means that the animal should be fit for traveling and the journey itself unless it is a case of emergency.
Even then, the transport must be designed and maintained to prevent the animal from being injured. This also applies to loading and unloading the animal from the motorcycle.
Most Europeans have it mandatory that the dog being transported must be trained and fully capable of going through the journey without resorting to any violence or bad behavior, which may result in others feeling fear and suffering from an injury. The owner must also be fully capable of controlling their dog.
They must make all the arrangements to meet the animals’ needs and requirements, such as food and water, and have the dog be fed and given rest after suitable intervals of time. The owners must also ensure that the dog is comfortable in its carrier and given the proper space it needs according to its size.
4 Tips On Following These Laws Better
Following these tips should make it easier for you to obey the law and avoid breaking the rules and endangering yourself and your precious pet:
1. Get A Secure Dog Carrier
According to the law, the dog must be perfectly secure in the carrier to not break out during the ride and risk falling and injuring itself.
To avoid situations like this, it is best to get a durable and quality dog carrier that is scratch-resistant and prevents your pet from clawing its way out and escaping. This carrier should also be secure structurally and be easy to mount on the motorcycle.
2. Get A Carrier According To The Size Of Your Dog
As per the regulations set by all countries above, the dog must be perfectly comfortable inside the cage or carrier it is being stored in.
This means that it should have ample space to store your dog inside. As a responsible owner, you should look at various dog carriers and see which is the best for your pet, according to its size and weight.
3. Mounting Your Carrier
Some states and countries do not allow the owner to place the dog or the dog carrier between the owner and the handles or on the fuel tank.
This means that you must place the carrier at the back of the motorcycle, so make sure that your carrier can be easily mounted on either the sissy bars of the motorcycle or comes with 4 D-straps which can be securely strapped on the back of the bike.
3. Storing Supplies
The law requires you to have an adequate amount of food, water, and supplies to supply to your dog throughout the journey, but the problem arises with where you can store this amount of supplies.
The best way to store the food has a dog carrier which comes with extra compartments which can easily hold the supplies you could struggle to store with.
4. Training Your Dog
European countries have a requirement to force dogs that ride on motorcycles and other vehicles to be well trained and comfortable when in traffic.
This then falls on the owner’s responsibility to make sure that their dog is well trained and ready to ride on their bike. Training can be done slowly by yourself, or you could hire an expert who can train them for you.
After reading this article, hopefully, you have a proper understanding of popular states and countries of dog on motorcycle law. You can use this newfound information to do your best in following the laws to the fullest, making sure that the dog is perfectly safe when riding the motorcycle and does not cause a scene.
Make sure to fully understand these laws and abide by them otherwise. You could end up facing charges and even risk losing your pet based on animal endangerment or, even worse, end up hurting them or leading to them getting an injury.