Texas Motorcycle Laws You Need to Know
Without a doubt, riding a motorcycle comes with certain freedoms as well as some unavoidable dangers. You have no structural protection around you when you ride, your body is exposed to the elements, and you have no control over what other drivers on the road may do.
Given their serious disadvantage in a crash, motorcyclists need to keep themselves aware of the law when riding, and always wear the right gear.
At Ketterman Rowland & Westlund, we have decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured motorcycle riders and their passengers. Contact us today if you need help after a Texas motorcycle crash. We can provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation to ensure that you understand your legal rights.
Understanding Texas Motorcycle Laws
Texas is a great place to ride. Given the great climate, you’ll find people out riding in just about all seasons. But before you go, make sure you know:
Motorcycle Equipment Rules
All motorcycles in Texas must be equipped with the following, at a minimum:
- A complete and functional wheel assembly
- A functional exhaust system (although Texas does not regulate mufflers/decibel levels of motorcycles)
- At least one working headlamp (modulating headlamps are fine)
- At least one working taillamp
- A light for the license plate
- A red reflector for the rear of the motorcycle
- At least one mirror
- A horn
- Working brakes and tires
- A full VIN number
There are also requirements for passengers. They must have at minimum a seat and foot rests or pegs. Also, motorcycle passengers must be at least 5 years old.
Texas Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Texas does not have a strict “all or nothing” helmet law. Instead, the law is a bit more complicated:
- The law requires a helmet for anyone under 21 who is riding a motorcycle.
- Riders who are 21 and older do not have to wear a helmet if they have a health plan that meets a set of Texas state guidelines or have completed a training and safety course.
Riders who are 21 or older and are not wearing a helmet are required to carry proof of their health coverage or training. However, police cannot stop you solely to determine whether you are carrying your proof of health coverage or appropriate training through a safety course.
Passengers also must follow the law. They must obey the same rules for helmet use as an operator.
Is Lane Splitting Legal in Texas?
Lane splitting is a fairly common move where a motorcyclist rides between lanes of stopped or slow-moving vehicles. Some states have moved to make the practice legal, while others remain set on making the practice illegal. For now, Texas does not permit it, and you can face steep fines for doing it.
However, the AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) maintains the position that it should be legalized in specific situations.
Compensation for Motorcycle Accident Injuries
When a motorcycle is involved in a collision, the injuries are typically quite serious. From crushed bones to torn ligaments, the pain can be terrible.
What makes it worse is that a lot of people just don’t realize how these accidents really happen. For instance, a car may pull right out in front of a motorcycle. For other vehicles, there may be time to stop. For a motorcyclist, it may be dangerous to try to “slam on brakes,” making it a better choice to lay down the bike – a horrible option for any rider.
Therefore, in some serious or even fatal accidents, the motorcyclist may not have made direct contact, or the other vehicle may show no damage. Whatever the situation, if the motor vehicle operator is at fault, the motorcyclist has a right to seek compensation. This can include:
- Medical expenses, including payment for past, current, and future costs related to the crash
- Money to compensate for pain and suffering
- Payment for emotional distress
- Damages to account for disfigurement
- Loss of income due to injuries, along with diminished earning capacity in the future
- Payment to repair or replace the damaged motorcycle
Unfortunately, many drivers and their insurance companies will try to blame innocent motorcyclists for accidents, claiming they broke the law and were driving reckless. At Ketterman Rowland & Westlund, we watch out for injured motorcyclists and will not allow you to be taken advantage of. Our dedicated Texas motorcycle accident attorneys will fight for every bit of compensation you deserve after a serious crash.
Contact Our Texas Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Now
At Ketterman Rowland & Westlund, we understand motorcycle crashes, and our law firm has spent decades defending the rights of injured bikers and their families. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident and believe someone else caused the crash, then you need to call our trusted personal injury law firm today.
Our seasoned attorneys will speak to you free of charge and give you advice on how to proceed in a way that protects your best interests. We do not charge any attorney fees upfront to start work on your case, and our law firm does not get paid unless we can successfully recover monetary compensation for your injuries.
Because time is limited for taking actions to protect your rights, it is very important that you contact a knowledgeable Texas motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after a wreck. With law offices throughout the state of Texas, our legal team is available to take your call 24/7. We can also meet with you at any location that is convenient, including in your home or at the hospital. Our goal is to make the process as easy as possible for you, so you can focus on your recovery.