Is Kawasaki Ninja 400 Expressway Legal? (All States Solved!)

The Kawasaki Ninja 400 is a popular “everyday epic” sport motorcycle.

It features a 400cc twin-cylinder engine, as its name suggests, as well as heavy integration of modern design and technology that make it a very accessible bike for all levels of rider.

This article answers: Is Kawasaki Ninja 400 Expressway Legal? (In All States?)…

Yes, the Kawasaki Ninja 400 is expressway-legal in all states in the US. The 400cc engine is more than enough to keep up safely with the expressway traffic, and that’s the main criteria for safe freeway driving.

In the United States, access to expressways or freeways is enabled for all motorcycles more than 49cc in engine displacement. There’re a small handful of states, of which California is one, where motor-driven cycles under 125cc and low-horsepower motorcycles (less than 5hp) are not permitted.

No such exceptions apply to the Kawasaki Ninja 400, however.

In other countries and regions like Taiwan, for example, only motorcycles of more than 550cc are allowed on the expressways.

Other countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and China have an outright ban with the only exceptions being police or emergency cycles.

Put simply, yes it meets the rules to be expressway legal.

In legal terms, the only need that it has to satisfy is sufficient engine displacement being available to maintain safe speeds and keep up with the flow of traffic.

The Kawasaki Ninja has a top speed of about 100mph and can cruise comfortably without burning out or damaging the engine at speeds of 65-75mph, which is absolutely sufficient for use on the expressway/freeway.

A Few Tips To Stay Safe On The Freeway:

There are several areas to which Ninja 400 riders could pay extra attention in order to stay safe on the freeway.

Having enough engine power to keep up with traffic is only the beginning.

First, riders should build up speed as they head along the on-ramp to join the expressway.

By the time they merge with the expressway traffic, they should be traveling at their target cruising speed.

The Ninja 400 should manage this easily.

Second, Ninja 400 and other motorcycle riders need to pay additional attention to their rearview mirrors and blind spot when cruising on the motorway.

With typical traffic all moving at high speeds, it’s a more dangerous environment for the exposed motorcycle rider.

Third, riders should increase their following distances from the traffic in front of them.

To follow other cars too closely would be to invite potential disaster.

This is true at all times, but especially important on the high-speed expressway.

Next, if the rider knows they are going to be riding on the freeway or expressway, then they should wear high-visibility clothing or at least something with reflective strips on the back.

To further aid with visibility, it’s a good idea for the rider to turn on their front headlight so cars in front will better see them in their rearview mirror.

Finally, a good habit of safety to follow when riding your Kawasaki Ninja 400 or another motorcycle on the freeway or expressway is to stay in the slow lane unless you’re overtaking a slower-moving bus, truck, or trailer.

What Other Rules Exist For Motorcycles On The Expressway?

Whether you’re riding a Kawasaki Ninja 400 or another brand of bigger- or smaller-engine motorcycle, you will have to face up to strict laws across the country.

While states do differ, just about every state has some level of the requirement set for motorcycle riders on the freeway/expressway, as well as all other public roads.

Below are some of the rules required:

Motorcycle Helmets

The following states require by law that all riders be wearing a helmet when riding their motorcycle on any public road:

North CarolinaVirginiaDistrict of ColumbiaMaryland
DelawareNew YorkMassachusetts 

The following states require helmets to be worn on all riders up to 20 years old.

WyomingColoradoNew MexicoNorth Dakota
South DakotaKansasOklahomaTexas
South CarolinaFloridaConnecticutRhode Island
MaineHawaiiNew Hampshire 

In West Virginia, New Jersey, and Vermont, you are required to wear a helmet that is also reflectorized. This means that it has to have high-visibility reflective strips, decals, or another tape to make it more visible.

The only states where there are no helmet laws are Iowa and Illinois.

Eye Protection

Further to helmet laws, there are states that additionally require eye protection for all motorcycle riders.

Most motorcycle manufacturers and rider enthusiast groups recommend eye protection regardless of what the law states.

Such eye protection includes a helmet visor, motorcycle glasses, goggles, or something similar.

Sunglasses are typically insufficient because they lack shatter resistance.

The following states require eye protection:

Utah, Colorado, Minnesota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, and Rhode Island.

Other states require it unless your motorcycle already has a windscreen: Washington, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Hawaii.

Alaska, Wisconsin, Michigan, South Carolina, and Massachusetts require it under certain circumstances.

In Massachusetts, for instance, you have to wear eye protection if you only hold an instructional permit.

In South Carolina, all riders under 21 must wear eye protection.

The remaining 14 states not mentioned above have no eye protection rules.

Passenger Laws

Another law that clearly impacts riding on freeways/expressways is passenger restrictions.

There are five states in total that have restrictions on carrying passengers on a motorcycle: Hawaii, Washington, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

These 4 states prohibit the carrying of any passenger under the age range of 5-8 years old.

Headlight Laws

Finally, if you are going to take your Kawasaki Ninja or another express-way legal motorcycle on the freeway in any of the below states, then you have to have your headlight active at all times that you are on the road.

Those states marked with (M) indicate that they allow a modulating light (one that automatically cycles through different light strengths) to be used, but does require the headlight all the same.

WashingtonOregonAlaskaIdaho (M)
MontanaWyomingNevada (M)Utah (M)
Arizona (M)Colorado (M)New Mexico (M)North Dakota (M)
South Dakota (M)Nebraska (M)OklahomaMinnesota
WisconsinIllinoisMissouri (M)Arkansas
Louisiana (M)Mississippi (M)Alabama (M)Florida
GeorgiaTennesseeSouth CarolinaNorth Carolina
Virginia (M)Michigan (M)Ohio (M)Kentucky (M)
West VirginiaNew YorkMassachusetts (M)New Hampshire (M)
Vermont (M)MaineMaryland (M)D.C. (M)
New Jersey (M)   

Can I Use My Motorcycle To Lane-Split In Every State?

Many people might buy a motorcycle such as a Kawasaki Ninja 400 because they hope to avoid getting stuck in traffic.

With a motorcycle, they could slip between congested traffic and find their way to the front faster.

This is known as lane splitting, and the only state where it is explicitly legal; is California.

Most other states expressly forbid this practice.

The following states make no mention of it in their laws but may frown upon it: Montana, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, and Delaware.

In any other state we haven’t mentioned, it’s banned.