Navigating the Texas roads by motorcycle can be thrilling, but unfortunately, it can also be quite risky. It becomes significantly safer when you are armed with knowledge of the road laws applicable to motorcycles. These laws not only ensure your safety on the roads but also put you in a better position to settle legal disputes in the event of an accident. Some of the most important motorcycle laws in Texas include the following:
Motorcycle License Requirements
In Texas, before you can freely ride your motorcycle, there are a few legal obligations that need to be fulfilled. The first requirement is securing a Class M motorcycle license or adding a motorcycle endorsement to your existing driver’s license.
Getting a Class M license involves passing a written exam, a vision test, and a motorcycle skills test to determine if you’re proficient in operating the vehicle.
If you already have a driver’s license and want to be able to ride a motorcycle, you can have a motorcycle endorsement added to your driver’s license. To do this, you still need to pass the written exam and a motorcycle skills test.
Texas Motorcycle Helmet Laws
In Texas, all riders under 21 are required to wear a helmet whenever operating a motorcycle; there are no exceptions.
However, if you’re over the age of 21 and have either finished an approved motorcycle safety course or have health insurance that specifically covers any injuries from motorbike accidents, it’s your choice whether to wear a helmet while riding or not.
“It is an exception to the application of Subsection (a) or (b) that at the time the offense was committed, the person required to wear protective headgear was at least 21 years old and had completed a motorcycle operator training and safety course under Chapter 662 or was covered by a health insurance plan providing the person with medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a collision while operating or riding on a motorcycle.”
Regardless of your age, insurance, and safety courses completed, it’s strongly recommended to always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, as accidents can lead to severe injuries and fatalities when helmets are not worn.
Texas Motorcycle Eye Protection Laws
According to Texas law, all motorcycle riders are required to wear eye protection while riding. This can be from safety glasses, goggles, or a face shield.
The primary reason this requirement exists is for your safety while on the road. Eye protection helps guard your eyes against wind and flying debris that might result in impaired vision, which can cause injury on its own as well as increase the risk of accidents on the road.
Lane Splitting and Lane Filtering Laws in Texas
In Texas, the act of lane splitting – which refers to a motorcyclist riding between two lanes of moving traffic – is not legal.
A person “…may not..operate the motorcycle between lanes of traffic moving in the same direction…”
Lane filtering, on the other hand, where a motorcycle travels to the front of traffic when cars are stopped at signals or due to congestion, isn’t explicitly addressed by Texas law.
Texas Motorcycle Headlight Laws
If you’re operating a motorcycle in Texas, it’s important to know that state law requires your vehicle’s headlights to be switched on at all times during operation – not just when conditions are unfavorable due to weather or lack of sunlight.
This constant use of headlights enhances your visibility and allows other road users to be more aware of your existence on the road. This significantly reduces the risk of collisions and accidents caused by poor visibility situations.
This list is not exhaustive but provides an overview of some of the most important motorcycle laws in Texas. Whether you need help understanding these rules better or unfortunately find yourself involved in a motorcycle accident, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a free consultation.