Texas Motorcycle Laws
All motorcyclists in Texas must have a basic understanding of the state’s motorcycle laws and safety regulations. From helmet laws to training requirements, Texas motorcycle regulations help to ensure safety on our roads and highways.
Motorcyclists deserve protection. When motorcycle accidents occur, the consequences can be downright catastrophic. Indeed, bikers are as much as 10 times more likely to suffer severe injuries in a crash than are the occupants of standard-sized vehicles.
At The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC, our Houston motorcycle accident lawyer fights tirelessly to protect the rights and interests of injured victims. The Texas Board of Legal Specialization has board-certified Andrew Seerden in personal injury trial law. Only 2 percent of Texas lawyers hold such a title.
Mr. Seerden began his career defending large corporations and insurers. He knows exactly how these companies operate and he uses his unique skills and experience to advocate for the rights of injured people.
If you were hurt in a motorcycle crash in Texas, please contact our law firm now for a free consultation.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Texas
In Texas, all riders under the age of 21 are legally required to wear a helmet when on a motorcycle. Notably, this includes motorcycle passengers who are younger than 21 years of age.
For riders who are 21 or older, they have the right to obtain an exemption from the state’s motorcycle helmet laws. To do so, a person must:
- Complete a required motorcycle operator safety course.
- Obtain supplemental health insurance coverage.
In Texas, violating the motorcycle helmet laws is considered to be a secondary offense. While you can be ticketed for doing so, a police officer cannot pull you over simply because they suspect that you are violating the motorcycle helmet laws.
Even though a helmet is not always legally required, it is highly recommended that all motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers wear a helmet at all times. Motorcycle helmets can save lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that motorcycle helmets reduce head injuries by 69 percent and that they reduce the risk of death by 37 percent.
Failure to wear a helmet – even if required by law – should not prevent a motorcycle accident victim from recovering compensation from the party at fault for the crash. After all, not wearing a helmet has nothing to do with the cause of the crash. However, insurance companies often use this issue in an effort to bias juries and drive down settlement amounts. Don’t let them get away with it. Get an attorney who will fight for your rights.
Motorcycle Safety Laws in Texas
Beyond helmet laws, Texas also has a number of other relevant motorcycle safety requirements on the books. First and foremost, there are a number of regulations related to the motorcycle itself.
Essentially, a bike has to include several different important safety features in order to be deemed roadworthy. Among other things, this includes:
- Tail lamps
- Brake lights
- A headlight
- A rear red reflector
It is important that all riders ensure that their bike is in compliance with the state’s motorcycle regulations. If it does not, you could be cited for a violation. Getting a ticket is obviously frustrating enough. Even worse than getting fined, if you are involved in an accident, an opposing insurance company may try to use a minor equipment violation against you. If you find yourself in this situation, our law firm can help.
In addition to ensuring your motorcycle is reasonably safe, Texas also requires motorcyclists to meet certain basic education and safety training requirements. In Texas, all motorcyclists must have a valid motorcycle license. This is known as a Class M license. To obtain a license, a motorcyclist must pass a written exam and pass a motorcycle skills course. For riders over the age of 18, they may be eligible to waive the skills course requirement in certain circumstances.
Is Lane Splitting Legal in Texas?
At the current time, motorcycle lane splitting is not legal in Texas. While certain other states — most notably, California — have enacted laws that explicitly give motorcyclists the right to split lanes, Texas has no such laws.
This may change in the future. Bills have been introduced to permit lane-splitting. Though these bills have gained significant traction, they have not yet made it through the state legislature.
If you are lane splitting on a motorcycle in Texas, a law enforcement officer may stop you and write you a ticket for illegal passing. In the event that an accident occurs while you are lane splitting, it is possible that you will be found at least partially at fault for the crash. In this situation, you should contact an experienced Houston motorcycle accident attorney right away. Even if you are lane splitting, that does not mean an accident is always entirely your fault.
Understanding Motorcycle Accident Fault Laws in Texas
Texas is a fault-based traffic accident jurisdiction. To hold another party legally responsible for an accident, a plaintiff must be able to prove negligence caused to the wreck.
Texas fault laws apply to the full range of motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle crashes. Fault laws are no different in an accident between a motorcycle and a car than they would be in a collision between two cars or a car and a truck.
In reality, motorcycle accident cases are somewhat unique. Motorcycle accidents often involve a different set of facts. In many multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents, the crash occurs because a driver failed to recognize the presence of the bike. Whether it is a driver making an unsafe lane change, carelessly taking an unprotected left turn, or failing to “see” a motorcycle because of distracted driving, negligent drivers must be held accountable.
Unfortunately, motorcyclists face some unjust stereotypes from insurance companies. In far too many cases, the big insurers try to unfairly shift blame to the motorcyclist. For this reason, it is imperative that injured bikers get help from an aggressive Houston motorcycle accident lawyer.
Get Help From Our Texas Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
At The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC, we are committed to fighting for the legal rights and financial interests of motorcycle accident victims. Our board-certified personal injury lawyer will handle every stage of your case.
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash in Texas, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team for a free, fully private case evaluation. From our office in Houston, we serve communities throughout the region.