3 Texas Motorcycle Laws You Should Know

December 21, 2017

For most motorcyclists in the state of Texas, their motorcycle is much more than a mode of transportation—it represents an important hobby, passion, and pastime in their lives. If you fall into this group of people, or are yourself new to the world of motorcycles, then it is imperative that you understand several Texas laws that apply specifically to motorcycles.

Being aware of the following three Texas motorcycle laws will keep you compliant in the eyes of law enforcement throughout the state and will help you avoid any unnecessary fines or legal problems.

Motorcycle Helmet Law

In the state of Texas, any rider under the age of 21 is required to wear a helmet while using a motorcycle. However, riders over the age of 21 may opt not to wear a helmet if they have completed a special motorcycle safety course or maintain additional insurance coverage.

This means that a rider must complete an approved Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) motorcycle operator training course or they must obtain medical insurance coverage that offers at least $10,000 in coverage.

Riders who opt to forgo the use of a helmet by maintaining insurance coverage must also maintain a copy of their medical insurance card while using their motorcycle, so be sure to keep it in your wallet or stowed on your bike at all times.

The law also forbids Texas police from stopping or detaining a motorcyclist solely to determine whether or not the rider has completed the safety course or has the necessary medical coverage.

While the decision to wear a helmet is up to the discretion of each rider over 21, helmets have been proven to save lives in motorcycle accidents.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is the practice of driving a motorcycle between lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic. It is a practice that is considered dangerous by many, and is therefore either explicitly or implicitly illegal in virtually every state, except for California.

In Texas, lane-splitting is implicitly illegal since current law requires drivers of any vehicle to use a separate lane to pass, therefore a motorcyclist could be cited for an illegal pass. If you are lane splitting and driving too fast, you may also be cited for speeding and reckless driving.

There have been some legislative efforts in Texas to permit lane splitting, but those have not proven successful to date. Studies have shown that lane splitting is safe under certain conditions and helps save time among all motorists, which is why California ultimately legalized lane splitting.

Passengers

In Texas, it is illegal to have a child under the age of five ride as a passenger on your motorcycle. Any passenger under the age of 21 must wear a helmet. Like the driver, passengers over the age of 21 may choose not to wear a helmet, but only if the driver has the proper requirements mentioned above. A motorcycle must also include a passenger seat, including foot pegs and hand holds, as per Malorie’s Law, which is intended to keep passengers safe if the driver attempts to avoid an accident.

Motorcycles can be a great way to enjoy the freedom of the road in a way that can only be found on two wheels, but it’s important that you bear in mind these Texas motorcycle laws which will keep you safe on the road and keep you in the good graces of law enforcement.

If, however, you’ve found yourself on the wrong side of these motorcycle laws or have been involved in a motorcycle accident, then it is important to contact a qualified and knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney like Fears Nachawati.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation by calling (866) 705-7584 or visiting one of our offices located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin.

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