Jason Stephens | February 7, 2022 | Motorcycle Laws
Riding a motorcycle is a great way to beat the traffic in the Metroplex or enjoy a warm, sunny Texas day. But if you’re planning to ride a motorcycle in Fort Worth, you need to be aware of the state’s motorcycle helmet laws.
While you may opt out of wearing a helmet if you meet certain criteria, you could also face hefty fines and possibly a license suspension if caught without a helmet.
Knowing Texas motorcycle safety laws can keep you safe and out of legal trouble.
Texas Motorcycle Helmet Law
Texas law requires all motorcycle drivers and riders to wear a helmet meeting the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard #218. However, motorcyclists may ride without a helmet if they are 21 years or older and:
- Have completed a motorcycle operator safety and training course; or
- Have health insurance to cover injuries sustained in the event of an accident.
Texas motorcycle law is covered under Chapter 661 of the Texas Transportation Code. The law states that it’s a traffic offense if someone operates a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear unless the motorcyclist meets one of the exemptions above.
This means that if you’re over 21 and you’ve either completed a motorcycle safety course or you have the required health insurance coverage, then you don’t have to wear a helmet. Many bike drivers in Texas fall into this exempt category because it’s required to have passed a motorcycle safety course to apply for a motorcycle license.
Police officers currently aren’t permitted to stop a motorcyclist solely for not wearing a helmet. That is, they can’t just stop you and ask to see your driver’s license, insurance card, or proof that you’ve completed a safety course.
This law could change, though. The Texas state legislature has been reviewing bills to allow officers to stop helmetless motorcyclists.
If you don’t wear a helmet while riding your bike, you should pay attention to these possible changes in Texas law.
What Happens If I Ride Without a Helmet?
If you don’t meet the Texas exemptions for riding without a helmet, you may have to pay a small fine of up to $50 if you’re caught not wearing a helmet. However, in Texas, not wearing a helmet is considered a secondary offense, which means that you’ll only receive a ticket for violating the helmet law if you’ve already been pulled over for another traffic violation.
There are other, more practical concerns about not wearing a helmet. The bottom line is that helmets save lives. Out of 443 fatal motorcycle crashes in Texas in 2015, 52% involved riders that weren’t wearing helmets. Helmets also reduce the severity of head injuries and can help prevent traumatic brain injuries and concussions.
Motorcycle drivers lack the protection that cars and other vehicles offer. Wearing a good helmet protects your vulnerable head and face in case of a collision. And while a helmet doesn’t reduce your chances of getting into an accident, it does provide you with more protection if you do.
Can Failing to Wear a Helmet Affect My Post-Accident Claim?
Although not wearing a helmet isn’t illegal for most Texas motorcyclists, that doesn’t mean not wearing one won’t have consequences. If you file a personal injury lawsuit after a motorcycle accident, whether you were wearing a helmet may affect the amount of damages you’re entitled to and the success of your claim.
For example, the lawyer for the other driver may state that your lack of a helmet worsened your injuries, and therefore you share some of the responsibility for the resulting damages.If your case goes before a jury, they may reduce the amount of damages you requested in your initial suit under the Texas comparative fault law. This states that each party may share some responsibility for any injuries sustained, and the amount of damages will be reduced proportionately to the percentage of fault. If you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you’re barred from recovering damages.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 406
Fort Worth, TX 76107