Texas motorcycle laws are known for the safety they provide, as long as they are followed. It is important for everyone, even those who don’t enjoy the freedom of motorcycles, to understand these regulations. Here are just some of the laws and regulations, as well as recommendations, for motorcyclists and drivers in Texas.
Texas laws require proper vehicle condition
For a motorcycle rider to be considered legal, their vehicle must be in good shape. This includes making sure the following items are working properly. If any of these are not in good condition or are broken, it is important to get them repaired or replaced. All of these (and more) will be checked during every yearly safety inspection.
- Headlight, taillight, and stop lamp
- Rear red reflector
- License plate light
- Exhaust assembly
Getting a Class M license
Before applying for a motorcycle license in Texas, every rider must take and pass a training course from the Texas Department of Public Safety. The course will cover basic safety information including avoiding obstacles, using safety gear, and other tips. An intermediate course is also offered that provides more information.
After this course has been taken, a rider must pass a written exam and possibly a road test. If a motorcyclist is experienced, they may not have to take the road test, but inexperienced riders and those between 15 and 17 years old must.
Texas helmet laws
Like other states, Texas does have its own helmet law for motorcyclists. If you are over 21, have $10,000+ in medical insurance, and have passed an approved motorcycle safety course, you don’t have to wear one. But, it is always recommended that riders wear a helmet to be safer.
In 2017, there were 504 fatal motorcycle accidents in Texas. By not wearing a helmet, riders put themselves in extreme danger of deadly accidents. Brain injuries are known for being a major factor in deaths in many types of accidents, including motorcycle wrecks.
Lane splitting laws
Lane splitting is when two motorcyclists ride in the same lane together. Texas does not allow this on the roads because it has been deemed dangerous. Some states don’t have laws against lane splitting and a study released out of California says that it actually decreases traffic jams.
Laws designed to keep everyone on the road safe
Most of the laws designed for car and truck drivers are also meant for motorcyclists. These include the following.
Distracted driving laws: These types of laws have been passed locally to help protect everyone on the roads. The biggest threats with handheld devices are when people text or make phone calls while driving. Some of these laws include not allowing handheld devices to be used in school zones or by drivers below the age of 18.
Intersection laws: Although it may not seem like it, intersections are dangerous, especially for motorcyclists. Many accidents happen while drivers and riders are making left or right turns. Left turns are more dangerous for motorcyclists.
DUI and DWI laws: Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is one of the biggest risks you can take on the road. To get a DWI, a driver or motorcyclist must have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher. The penalties for being caught include a hefty fine, jail time, loss of your license, and a major fee to keep your license.
Speeding laws: Vehicle accidents are more likely to occur if drivers or motorcyclists are speeding. This is because it is more difficult to control a vehicle and react to hazards or obstacles fast enough when speeding. Speed limits will vary depending upon your location within the state and within cities.
What to do if you are in a motorcycle accident
If you have been in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you must know your rights. After the accident, be sure to seek medical attention. You should also speak with the authorities as soon as you are able. Pictures of the accident scene should be taken and any witnesses that can provide a statement.
Be sure to contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the motorcycle accident. This is required. However, you DO NOT have to speak with the negligent driver’s insurance. In fact, it isn’t recommended to do this until you have an attorney working with you. They will be able to deal with the insurance adjuster and anything they may try to do to reduce to deny your claim. Attorneys are also experienced in gathering all necessary information if a lawsuit is needed.
Have you been in a Texas motorcycle accident?
Motorcycle accidents can be devastating and cause permanent health damage. If you were hurt in a wreck caused by someone’s negligence, Attorney Dean Boyd and his Team can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us at (806) 242-3333 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our Services.