According to recent data released by the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 562 motorcyclists (operators and passengers) killed in 2022. Thirty-nine percent (39%) of motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets at the time of the accident. When it comes to riding a motorcycle in Texas, it is crucial to understand state laws on motorcycle accidents.
Riders must have a Class M license before operating a motorcycle on public roads in Texas. Part of obtaining this license is taking a safety course approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety, followed by passing a written and driving test.
The procedure for acquiring a motorcycle license in Texas mirrors the process of obtaining a driver’s license for cars or trucks, with a few notable distinctions. The ensuing steps delineate the procedure for obtaining a motorcycle driving license in Texas:
Completion of a Motorcycle Safety Course The initial phase entails enrolling in a motorcycle safety course prior to the skills examination. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic RiderCourse, endorsed by the Department of Public Safety, is accessible within Texas. Opting for the MSF Basic RiderCourse is an effective approach to hone the skills required for acing the DPS skills assessment and mastering fundamental motorcycle operations.
Successful Completion of Motorcycle Tests Subsequently, one must triumph in both the written and skills tests administered by the Department of Public Safety (DPS). The written test encompasses fundamental motorcycle operation and motorcycle-specific traffic regulations. Meanwhile, the skills test evaluates your practical ability to operate a motorcycle safely.
Attainment of a Permit Following triumph in the written and skills evaluations, a provisional motorcycle learner’s permit is conferred, granting legal motorcycle operation under the supervision of a licensed rider. Holding the permit for a minimum of six months and acing a road test are prerequisites for obtaining a full motorcycle license.
It is essential to note that possessing a valid driver’s license in Texas renders you exempt from undertaking the written and skills tests during the motorcycle license acquisition process. However, the passage of the motorcycle road test remains obligatory.
All motorcyclists under the age of 21 must wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle in Texas. Riders over the age of 21 are still required to wear a helmet unless they meet one of the following exceptions: 1) have completed a state-approved motorcycle safety course, or 2) can establish that they have at least $10,000 in medical insurance that would cover their healthcare costs if they are ever involved in an accident.
Lane splitting is the practice of driving in between lanes of traffic and is illegal in Texas. If a lane-splitting motorcycle accident occurs, it can be challenging for a motorcyclist to recover damages because they violated the law.
Children under the age of five cannot be transported as passengers on a motorcycle. However, they are permitted to ride in a sidecar. Passengers older than five and under 21 years of age must wear a helmet, and the motorcycle must have a permanent passenger seat.
Motorcyclists are required to carry proof of liability insurance that will pay for at least $30,000 per person injured in an accident and $60,000 for multiple people injured in an accident, along with $25,000 to cover property damage.
Motorcycles operated in Texas must be inspected on an annual basis at an Official Motor Vehicle Inspection Station. If the bike passes inspection, the certificate of completion must be visible near the rear license plate.
All riders must register their motorcycles through their respective County Tax-Assessor Collector, just as they would a car. Once registration is complete, the registration sticker must be attached to the license plate. In addition, all registered motorbikes and vehicles in Texas must undergo an annual inspection at an authorized motor vehicle inspection station.
Motorcyclists are responsible for parking their bikes in the same legal areas as passenger vehicles. Disabled parking spaces require a windshield placard or disabled license plate, and it is illegal to park in striped areas, near red curbs, or on sidewalks.
Motorcycles must be equipped with the following to be legally operated In Texas:
Safety does not stop with a helmet. There is other protective gear that riders are highly suggested to take advantage of to protect them if an accident occurs. That can include:
The knowledge of these laws can help you avoid an expensive traffic citation, as well as keep you safe. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Ramsey Law Group. Our Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer will review your case for free and help you pursue the compensation that you are entitled to.