Minnesota Neon Underglow Laws

Neon underglow lights have long been a popular choice for vehicle enthusiasts to enhance the aesthetic appeal of their cars, trucks, and motorcycles. However, the legality of using neon underglow lights on vehicles varies from state to state, including in Minnesota. As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, it’s essential to be aware of the specific laws and regulations governing neon underglow lights in Minnesota.

Is neon underglow legal in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, the law explicitly prohibits additional vehicle lighting, which may encompass neon underglow. Therefore, it can be concluded that neon underglow is generally considered illegal in the state.

Moreover, there are specific restrictions concerning vehicle lighting in Minnesota:

  1. The only colors visible from the front of a vehicle are white or amber, while the only permissible colors visible from the rear are red or amber.
  2. The use of blue and red lights is explicitly prohibited for civilian vehicles, and any type of flashing lights is not allowed. All colors other than those permitted for required vehicle lights (white, amber, red) are generally prohibited for use.

However, due to some ambiguity in the law, it could be argued that these restrictions only pertain to using colors other than white, amber, or red. In this interpretation, it might be technically feasible to install neon underglow in Minnesota if the colors are limited to white, amber, or red.

Nevertheless, it’s strongly recommended not to use car underglow in Minnesota while driving, as the law’s vagueness could lead to legal complications. If you decide to install neon underglow for use on private property, it should be done at your own risk, considering the potential legal implications.

Minnesota Underglow car lighting laws

The following are pertinent excerpts from the Minnesota Vehicle Code that define limitations, restrictions, or permissions concerning the installation of specific aftermarket lights on vehicles.

169.55 LIGHTS ON ALL VEHICLES.

Subdivision 1.Lights or reflectors required.

At the times when lighted lamps on vehicles are required each vehicle […] shall be equipped with one or more lighted lamps or lanterns projecting a white light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the front of the vehicle and with a lamp or lantern exhibiting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear, except that reflectors meeting the maximum requirements of this chapter may be used in lieu of the lights required in this subdivision. It shall be unlawful except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, to project a white light to the rear of any such vehicle while traveling on any street or highway, unless such vehicle is moving in reverse.

169.64 PROHIBITED LIGHTS; EXCEPTIONS.

Subdivision 1.Bright light.

Any lighted lamp or illuminating device upon a motor vehicle, other than a headlamp, a spot lamp, or an auxiliary driving lamp, which projects a beam of light of an intensity greater than 300-candle power, shall be so directed that no part of the beam will strike the level of the roadway on which the vehicle stands at a distance of more than 75 feet from the vehicle.

Subd. 2.Colored light.

(a) Unless otherwise authorized by the commissioner of public safety, no vehicle shall be equipped, nor shall any person drive or move any vehicle or equipment upon any highway with any lamp or device displaying a red light or any colored light other than those required or permitted in this chapter.

(b) A vehicle manufactured for use as an emergency vehicle may display and use colored lights that are not otherwise required or permitted in this chapter […]

Subd. 3.Flashing lights.

Flashing lights are prohibited, except on an authorized emergency vehicle, school bus, […]

Subd. 4.Blue light.

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) to (d), blue lights are prohibited on all vehicles except road maintenance equipment and snow removal equipment operated by or under contract to the state or a political subdivision thereof.

(b) Authorized emergency vehicles may display flashing blue lights to the rear of the vehicle as a warning signal in combination with other lights permitted or required by this chapter. In addition, authorized emergency vehicles may display, mounted on the passenger side only, flashing blue lights to the front of the vehicle as a warning signal in combination with other lights permitted or required by this chapter. […]

Subd. 6.Flashing amber light.

(a) Any service vehicle may be equipped with a flashing amber lamp of a type approved by the commissioner of public safety. […]

Subd. 8.Strobe lamp.

(a) Notwithstanding sections 169.55, subdivision 1; 169.57, subdivision 3, paragraph (b); or any other law to the contrary, a vehicle may be equipped with a 360-degree flashing strobe lamp that emits a white light with a flash rate of 60 to 120 flashes a minute, and the lamp may be used as provided in this subdivision, if the vehicle is: [school bus, road maintenance vehicle, etc.]

169.59 WARNING LIGHTS.

[…] Subd. 2.Running board light. Any vehicle may be equipped with not more than one running board courtesy lamp on each side thereof, which shall emit a white or yellow light without glare. […]

Penalties

Breach of the vehicle lighting regulations outlined in Minnesota statutes (169.47 UNSAFE EQUIPMENT) is classified as a misdemeanor.

169.47 UNSAFE EQUIPMENT

Subdivision 1.Misdemeanor; exceptions.

(a) It is unlawful and punishable as hereinafter provided for any person to drive or for the owner to cause or knowingly permit to be driven on any highway any vehicle or combination of vehicles which is in such unsafe condition as to endanger any person, or which does not contain those parts or is not at all times equipped with such lamps and other equipment in proper condition and adjustment as required in this chapter, or which is equipped in any manner in violation of this chapter, or for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required under this chapter.

Permissible Colors and Restrictions:

In Minnesota, as in many other states, the use of neon underglow lights is generally allowed on vehicles for decorative purposes. The primary consideration is the color of the lights. In most cases, you can use neon underglow lights that emit non-red or non-blue colors. Red and blue lights are typically reserved for law enforcement and emergency vehicles. Therefore, using underglow lights that emit colors like green, yellow, purple, or white is usually acceptable.

Prohibition While Driving:

One crucial point to understand is that neon underglow lights should not be used while the vehicle is in motion on public roads. The use of these lights while driving can be distracting to other drivers and may even be considered illegal. The main purpose of these lights is to enhance the visual appeal of your vehicle when it is stationary or parked.

Restrictions on Blinking and Flashing:

Neon underglow lights should not blink, flash, or oscillate. This restriction is in place to prevent drivers from attempting to mimic law enforcement or emergency vehicles, which use flashing lights for specific purposes. Steady and non-distracting use of underglow lights is generally considered acceptable.

Brightness and Placement:

It’s essential to ensure that the brightness of your neon underglow lights is not excessive. Overly bright lights can be distracting to other drivers and may impair their vision. The lights should be visible but not dazzling.

Additionally, the placement of underglow lights is critical. They should not be installed too close to the tires or in a manner that could obstruct the driver’s view of the road surface. Proper installation and ensuring the lights do not pose a safety hazard are essential considerations.

Local Regulations:

While Minnesota state law provides a general framework for neon underglow lights, it’s crucial to be aware that some cities and municipalities within the state may have their own specific regulations regarding these lights. Local ordinances can vary, so it’s important to check with your local authorities for any additional restrictions or requirements.

Keep Up with Current Laws:

Laws and regulations can change over time, so it’s advisable to check with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety or consult local authorities for the most up-to-date information regarding neon underglow lights on vehicles. Staying informed and adhering to the laws is not only essential for your own safety but also to avoid any potential legal issues that may arise from non-compliance.

In conclusion, while neon underglow lights can be a fun and creative way to customize your vehicle’s appearance, it’s crucial to understand and abide by Minnesota’s laws and regulations governing their use. By adhering to these guidelines, you can enjoy the aesthetic enhancements of neon underglow lights without compromising safety or risking legal consequences. Always prioritize safety and compliance when it comes to modifying your vehicle’s lighting.

Are Underglow Lights Legal in Minnesota?

Neon underglow lights are generally legal in Minnesota when used for decorative purposes on vehicles. However, there are specific regulations that must be followed.

When Is It Legal to Use Underglow Lights in Minnesota State?

It is legal to use underglow lights on your vehicle in Minnesota for aesthetic purposes when the vehicle is parked or stationary. These lights can enhance the visual appeal of your vehicle in a non-distracting manner.

When Is It Illegal to Use Underglow Lights in Minnesota?

It is typically illegal to use underglow lights on your vehicle while it is in motion on public roads. The use of underglow lights while driving can be distracting to other drivers and may be considered a violation of traffic laws.

Is It Illegal to Install Underglow Lights In Minnesota?

It is not usually illegal to install underglow lights on your vehicle in Minnesota. However, the key is to use them in compliance with the regulations mentioned above, especially concerning color, brightness, and use while driving.

What Minnesota Vehicle & Traffic Law Restricts Use of Lights On Motorcycles?

Minnesota’s traffic laws may include regulations regarding lighting on motorcycles, such as headlight requirements and restrictions on additional lighting. Specific laws related to motorcycles can be found in the Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 169, which covers motor vehicles and traffic regulations.

Are Multicolored Underglow Lights Illegal in Minnesota?

As of my last update, it was generally legal to use multicolored neon underglow lights in Minnesota as long as they are not red or blue. However, it is crucial to ensure that the lights are used in compliance with the state’s regulations.

Minnesota Traffic Ticket/Summons for Under Glow Lights on a Motorcycle:

If you are found in violation of Minnesota’s underglow light regulations while operating a motorcycle, you may receive a traffic ticket or summons. The exact penalties and fines can vary depending on the circumstances and local ordinances.

Are Underglow Lights Legal While Parked in Minnesota?

Yes, underglow lights are typically legal to use while your vehicle is parked in Minnesota. They can be used for aesthetic purposes when the vehicle is stationary, as long as they are not overly bright or distracting.

Are Motorcycle Wheel Lights Legal in Minnesota?

As of my last update, the legality of motorcycle wheel lights in Minnesota may be subject to similar regulations as underglow lights. It’s essential to check the specific regulations regarding additional lighting on motorcycles in the state.

Is the Law for Underglow Lights the Same for Cars and Motorcycles in Minnesota?

In general, the regulations governing underglow lights are similar for both cars and motorcycles in Minnesota. The key considerations include color, brightness, and use while driving, and these regulations typically apply to all vehicles.

Minnesota Underglow law references:

Minnesota Statutes section 169.64: Prohibited Lights

Minnesota Statutes, Motor Vehicle Lights Topics Index

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