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Texas Motorcycle Helmet Laws – Do You Have To Wear a Helmet?

Do you own a motorcycle and live in Texas? If you answered yes, it’s imperative you understand the state’s complex motorcycle laws. Making the decision to own and operate a motorcycle is a big one and one that comes with a great deal of responsibility. It’s always a good idea to brush up on your state’s motorcycle laws and licensing requirements for good measure and for safety reasons. Riding a motorcycle comes with inherent dangers and the best way to avoid injury to yourself or others is by following these laws.

Texas’ motorcycle laws can be found in the Texas Department of Safety Motorcycle Operator’s Manual [1], a publication put out by the Motorcycle Safety Unit.

What Equipment Am I Required to Have?

All states – including Texas – have equipment requirements for motorcycle riders. While each state may slightly differ, Texas requires anyone who rides a motorcycle to have the following equipment:

  • Wheel assembly
  • Exhaust system
  • Tail lamp (1)
  • Stop lamp (1)
  • License plate light
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Horn
  • Side mirrors
  • Steering capabilities
  • Braking capabilities
  • Tires

Furthermore, Texas state law requires all motorcyclists and their passengers to wear helmets. Helmet requirements must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218. Approved helmets must undergo testing before being put on the market. In the event a motorcyclist in Texas is found to be wearing a helmet that does not comply with these requirements, they may be subject to a fine. Helmets approved by TxDOT usually have the following features:

  • One-inch thick inner liner
  • Supportive chin strap
  • The weight of at least three pounds

There is one exception to the state’s motorcycle helmet law that you should be aware of. Riders who are 21 years of age, have completed an approved motorcycle operator training and safety course, or have health insurance that will cover any injuries related to a motorcycle, are not required to wear a helmet.

Other Considerations for Motorcyclists in Texas

There are a few other considerations for motorcyclists in Texas that you should be aware of, including:

  • You are not permitted to have a passenger on your bike unless it is designed to carry more than one person and has footrests and handholds for the passenger
  • You cannot transport a child that is under the age of eight and less than four feet nine inches tall
  • Texas prohibits lane splitting (which occurs when two motorcyclists ride side-by-side in one traffic lane)
  • You must complete a motorcycle operator training class that has been approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
    • This course will teach riders how to:
      • Safely operate a motorcycle
      • Wear protective clothing when riding
      • Avoid road hazards
      • Act in the event of an accident
  • Individuals who are 18 years or older may take an intermediate course
  • Once the training course has been completed, motorcyclists will need to complete a written test before they are given their license

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in Texas, please contact the motorcycle accident lawyers at Shamieh Law today and schedule a free consultation.

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