Texas has several motorcycle laws to help bikers stay safe on the roads. But, unfortunately, other drivers often don’t look out for motorcycles. Frequently after an accident the other driver says they didn’t see the motorcycle. While it does take some of the fun out of riding, constantly watching for people who might not see the bike and wearing a helmet can save the lives of bikers and their passengers.
According to Texas law, if a motorcycle was manufactured after 1975, the driver must ride with the headlight on at all times. Newer bikes turn the headlight on with the ignition. If the headlight doesn’t come on when the bike is turned on, the rider must remember to turn it on.
Texas requires that motorcycle and moped drivers and passengers wear a helmet unless the driver is over 21 and has completed a motorcycle operator training course that is approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety, or is covered by insurance. If a biker is stopped without a helmet, they are required to produce proof of medical insurance by providing the insurance card or certificate. Any form of proof of insurance must include the name of the insurer, the policy active period dates, and the policy number.
All bikers must pass a training course that was approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety before they apply for their motorcycle license. Bikers who complete the course for a three-wheeled bike are restricted to riding only trikes. Applicants must also pass a written test and a road test for motorcycles. Anyone driving a motorcycle must have a Class M designation on their license. Mopeds and motor-driven cycles must also comply with this law. Applicants who do not hold a current driver’s license and are between the ages of 18 and 24 must also take an Adult Driver Education course.
To take a road test, applicants must have their own bike. They must also bring a licensed driver with them in a car to drive the examiner around during the road test. Both vehicles—the bike and the car—must pass an on-site vehicle assessment.
Waiver of Road Test
Applicants who are 18 years or older, have passed a motorcycle operator training course, and hold an unrestricted Class A, B or C license can present their completion certificate for a course that meets the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s curriculum standards, and the Texas Department of Public Safety will waive the road test. Applicants under 18 years of age are not eligible for test waivers. Drivers under 16 years of age are restricted to riding bikes with a 250cc or smaller engine.
Registration and Insurance
All motorcycles, trikes, and mopeds must be registered through the County Tax Assessor-Collector in the county where the owner lives. They must also have a current registration sticker and must be inspected every year at an Official Motor Vehicle Inspection Station. The approval certificate must be affixed to the rear license plate. Additionally, bikes, trikes, and mopeds must be insured.
Additional Laws and Rules
Motorcyclists must also follow the rules of the road. They are not exempt because they are smaller. These include, amongst other rules:
- A motorcyclist may not park in a handicapped spot unless the motorcycle displays a disabled license plate or removable windshield ID card.
- Motorcycles cannot block a curb ramp or access area for the handicapped. Motorcycles also cannot park in the striped areas near handicapped spots or in front of a building’s entrance.
- A motorcycle may have ground-effect lighting, but it must be white or amber and cannot flash.
- Motorcycle passengers must be at least 5 years old. All passengers under 21 years of age must wear a helmet.
- Motorcycles designed for more than one person must have footrests and handholds for each passenger.
- Texas does not have a law for handlebar height, but ape-hangers should be used with caution.
- There is no specific law against lane-splitting, but Texas has other laws that forbid driving outside of designated lanes. The law states that you must stay in your own lane and that you cannot move from that lane unless it’s safe to do so.
Preparing in Case of a Motorcycle Accident
All riders should designate an emergency contact and keep that information where it can be easily found by first responders. Bikers should ask their emergency contact to call a bike accident lawyer as soon as possible in the event that they are incapacitated after an accident, even if the police say the motorcyclist was at fault. Even if the motorcyclist was partially at fault, however, a motorcycle accident lawyer might find a way to recover damages for the injured parties.
Damages Motorcycle Accident Victims Might Recover
Depending on the circumstances, motorcycle accident victims might recover monetary damages and/or punitive damages. Courts only award punitive damages if the at-fault person caused the accident because of gross negligence, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or driving while texting. Other damages motorcycle accident victims could recover may include:
- Current and future medical bills for injuries related to the accident
- Current and future lost wages due to injuries from the accident
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
- In the case of a death, damages related to the wrongful death of a family member.
Never Rely on an Insurance Company
Even if a motorcycle accident victim’s insurance company tries to fight on their behalf, victims should always retain their own attorney as well. Insurance companies look out for their bottom line first and will try to pay out as little as possible because they are in business to make a profit.
Instead, if you were in a motorcycle accident, get in touch with a motorcycle crash lawyer as soon as you can. If you are not able to make that call on your own because of injuries from the accident, a loved one may contact an attorney on your behalf. Contact the legal team at The Law Offices of George Salinas online or call our office in San Antonio at (210) 944-8584 today.