Those who ride motorcycles have different safety issues than the operators of automobiles, SUVs, pickup trucks, and tractor-trailers. Motorcycles are openly exposed to the elements and dangers of the road, unlike other motor vehicles which have a solid layer of metal protecting its passengers.
Texas DOT statistics indicate that there were 496 motorcycle driver and passenger fatalities in 2016. Of the 463 drivers killed, 239 were not wearing a helmet. Of the 33 passengers killed, 24 were not wearing a helmet. Thus, 53% of motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets at the time of the accident. There were over 8,000 instances in 2016 where a motorcyclist or passenger suffered some type of injury, whether fatal, incapacitating, or non-incapacitating.
In Texas, helmets that meet the requirements of the applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard are required for motorcycle operators and passengers. The requirement to wear helmets applies to all motorcycles, motor scooters, and mopeds regardless of size or number of wheels.
Persons at least 21 years old are exempt from wearing a helmet if they have completed a Department-approved Motorcycle Operator Training Course or they are covered by an applicable insurance plan (the words “MOTORCYCLE HEALTH” must be added to the insurance card or a letter with the same basic information as the card to include the words “MOTORCYCLE HEALTH: Standard Proof of Health Insurance”).
On June 19, 2009, Governor Perry signed SB 1967 into law which became effective September 1, 2009. Former law required a person be covered with a minimum of $10,000 in health insurance for injuries incurred in a motorcycle accident to be eligible for an exception for the offense of operating or riding a motorcycle without a helmet. This legislation removed this minimum amount and repealed the helmet exemption sticker program, which related to a Texas DPS-issued sticker required to be displayed on a motorcycle by a motorcycle owner.
This law prohibits a peace officer from stopping or detaining a person who is the operator of or a passenger on a motorcycle for the sole purpose of determining whether the person has successfully completed a motorcycle operator training and safety course or is covered by a motorcycle health insurance plan.
The basic and advanced motorcycle operator training courses meet the helmet exemption requirement. The advanced motorcycle operator training course is recommended for experienced licensed motorcyclists. The basic course teaches fundamentals and is required of all drivers to receive a Class M motorcycle driver’s license. An advanced course is also available for more experienced riders and teaches maneuvering, riding on wet payment and other safety skills.
The Christensen Law Firm, PLLC, now known as DC Law, may help anyone who has suffered an injury while riding a motorcycle, whether caused by a motor vehicle or some other circumstance. Our firm is founded on the concept that every client is entitled to the highest level of respect and attention. We are Austin’s choice for skilled, experienced, and dedicated personal injury lawyers. We offer legal representation that produces quality service, a high level of attorney-client communication and aggressive representation. If you have been harmed by the reckless or negligent act of another in any type of accident, contact DC Law today at (512) 220-1800 to consult with an experienced injury attorney.