Motorcycle Safety Laws in Texas
If you’re a motorcyclist, you know the freedom of finding a back country road and feeling the wind in your hair. Texas is one of many states that allow motorcyclists to ride without wearing a helmet. This freedom to feel the wind in your hair, however, comes with certain restrictions. Under Texas law, riders over 21 years of age who have completed a motorcycle safety course and carry adequate health insurance are exempted from the state’s otherwise compulsory helmet requirement.
Police officers currently are not authorized to pull over riders based solely on their not wearing helmets. The result of this loophole is that pretty much anyone can ride helmetless without fear of being cited, effectively negating the law, according to superbikeblog.
Last year, proposed Texas bill HB 748 would have closed the loophole without adding much new language. It attempted to change the existing law and empower police to stop helmetless riders to ensure that they meet all of the qualifications necessary to legally leave the helmet at home.
The rideapart.com blog says, “Some may argue that if riders don’t want to be inconvenienced by frequent traffic stops they don’t deserve, they should just put on a helmet.” Why doesn’t Texas just mandate helmets for all riders, as do several other states? HB 748 seems to “just make more work for everybody for no discernable advantage for anyone.”
Many motorcyclists, however, are concerned that the bill would have increased profiling by police. One (helmet-wearing) rider explained to reporters that if SB 748 passes, it’s not going to help decrease the number of fatalities or accident injuries. “Wearing a helmet doesn’t protect the rest of your body . . . We want to allow the right of Texans to choose and taking away that right isn’t going to help.“
Texas HB 748 did not become law in the 2019 legislative session. However, this will not be the final attempt to change the state’s current helmet laws for motorcycle drivers.
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