Every state, including Texas, has special laws to cover motorcycles and their operators. These laws acknowledge that motorcycles behave differently from four-wheeled vehicles and require a different skill set to operate safely.
Fort Worth, Texas, motorcycle laws cover everything from motorcycle driver’s licenses to the equipment motorcycles can and cannot have. They also contain unique traffic laws that apply to motorcycles but not to other vehicles. These laws were designed to safeguard motorcyclists and reduce the risk of motorcycle accidents.
How Anderson Injury Lawyers Can Help After an Accident in Fort Worth
Anderson Injury Lawyers was established to recover fair injury compensation for injured Texans. Our Fort Worth motorcycle accident attorneys have decades of experience fighting at-fault drivers and their insurers on behalf of injured clients.
Anderson Injury Lawyers has earned some of the legal profession’s highest honors, including:
- Board certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
- 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo, its highest rating
- Rated as a Super Lawyers – Texas Super Lawyer
- Rated in the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers
A motorcycle accident can leave you with mountains of medical bills and no way to pay them. If you hire our personal injury law firm to help, we can:
- Thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your accident and demand fair compensation
- Work with experts in the field to bolster the validity of your claim
- File a lawsuit and bring your claim to a local court if necessary
Motorcycle Law Facts and Accident Statistics
Motorcycle laws are universal. Every U.S. state has at least a few laws that cover motorcycles and their operators. Topics include:
- Helmet use
- Traffic laws
- Operator licenses
- Insurance requirements
In some situations, these laws cover motorcycles the same way they cover passenger vehicles. For example, motorcycle owners usually need the same liability insurance as car owners. But occasionally, state laws single out motorcycles and motorcycle operators for different treatment.
Sometimes these laws place additional restrictions on motorcycle operators, like requiring them to wear a helmet. In other instances, the laws free motorcyclists from restrictions that apply to passenger vehicles, like being allowed to use the HOV or carpool lanes.
The most common motorcycle laws apply to licensing. Every state requires motorcycle operators to carry a special motorcycle driver’s license. The next-most common laws apply to helmets. Texas is among the 47 states that require at least some motorcyclists to wear a helmet while riding.
Motorcycle laws are common because motorcycle accidents are common. A query on Texas’s Crash Records Information System (CRIS) lists 248 motorcycle crashes in Fort Worth in 2022. These accidents killed 17 and injured 200. In other words, 87.5% of motorcycle crashes in Fort Worth in 2022 caused a fatal or non-fatal injury.
Overview of Motorcycle Laws in Texas
Motorcycle laws were not created to harass motorcyclists. They were passed by the Texas Legislature to ensure that motorcyclists can operate safely on roads.
Motorcyclists are four times more likely to get injured and 28 times more likely to die than vehicle occupants. Reducing the risk of a crash could save dozens of Texans every year.
Texas’s motorcycle laws include:
Motorcycle Operator Licensing in Texas
Operating a motorcycle requires skill and experience. Learning how to ride safely reduces your odds of dying in a crash. According to the National Safety Council, unlicensed riders are twice as likely to die in a motorcycle crash as licensed riders.
- Passing a motorcycle safety course
- Presenting an unexpired out-of-state license with proof of Texas residence
- If you are under 18, passing a motorcycle skills test, a driver’s education course, and a motorcycle safety course
Applicants must also meet the same requirements as driver’s license applicants, including passing a vision test.
The Texas Helmet Law
A helmet reduces the odds of a head injury by up to 69%. It also reduces your odds of dying by up to 37%.
Texas has a helmet law that applies to all motorcycle operators and passengers. But the state makes the law unenforceable by exempting riders over 21 who have health insurance. Since police officers cannot determine a rider’s age or health insurance status without stopping them, Texas’s helmet law typically goes unenforced.
An exception happens when a motorcyclist has an unhelmeted child passenger. In this situation, a police officer could justify the time to stop the motorcyclist to protect the child from a dangerous situation.
Texas Equipment and Traffic Laws
To carry passengers, a motorcycle must have footrests, handholds, and passenger seating. A motorcycle meets the seating requirement if it has an extra-long seat or a separate passenger seat.
Texas prohibits lane splitting and lane sharing. Lane splitting happens when motorcycles ride on the painted line between traffic lanes. Lane sharing occurs when motorcyclists ride side-by-side.
How Texas Motorcycle Laws Affect Liability
If a motorcyclist violates Texas motorcycle laws and gets injured in a crash, they could lose the right to claim full compensation. Texas uses comparative negligence to allocate responsibility after a crash. This means that if a motorcyclist breaks a law and shares in the blame for a crash, their awarded damages will be reduced.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Fort Worth Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycle accidents can happen even when you fully comply with Texas law. To discuss your motorcycle crash and the injuries you suffered, contact Anderson Injury Lawyers for a free consultation with our experienced Fort Worth motorcycle accident attorney.