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Texas Motorcycle Helmet Law

This list of Texas motorcycle helmet laws is a reference only and you should always refer to the Texas D.O.T. for current requirements.  Please e-mail us if you believe our Texas motorcycle helmet law information is out of date or otherwise incorrect.

Texas has motorcycle helmet laws that exempt adult riders, riders over the age of majority -- 18 and 21!

Motorcycle Helmet Statue: 
Title 7. Vehicles and Traffic. Subtitle G. Motorcycles and All-Terrain Vehicles. Chapter 661. Protective Headgear for Motorcycle Operators and passengers. Section 661.003. Offenses Relating to Not Wearing Protective Headgear. : 
"(a) A person commits an offense if the person: 
"(1) operates or rides as a passenger on a motorcycle on a public street or highway; and

"(2) is not wearing protective headgear that meets safety standards adopted by the department.

"(b) A person commits an offense if the person carries on a motorcycle on a public street or highway a passenger who is not wearing protective headgear that meets safety standards adopted by the department.

"(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that at the time the offense was committed, the person required to wear protective headgear:

"(1) was at least 18 years old; and

"(2) presented a medical exemption complying with Subsection (d) to the peace officer who arrested the person.

(d) Only a practicing physician licensed by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners may issue a medical exemption and the physician may issue the medical exemption only to a person who has an acute head or facial injury that would be worsened if the person wore protective headgear. The medical exemption must be on a form prescribed by the department and expires on the 10th day after the date it is issued. . . ."

FINE:

Title 7. Vehicles and Traffic. Subtitle G. Motorcycles and All-Terrain Vehicles. Chapter 661. Protective Headgear for Motorcycle Operators and passengers. Section 661.003. Offenses Relating to Not Wearing Protective Headgear. : 
". . .(e) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $10 or more than $50."

STANDARDS:

Title 7. Vehicles and Traffic. Subtitle G. Motorcycles and All-Terrain Vehicles. Chapter 661. Protective Headgear for Motorcycle Operators and passengers. Section 661.003. Offenses Relating to Not Wearing Protective Headgear. : 
"(a)(2) . . . protective headgear that meets safety standards adopted by the department."

State Funded Rider Education 
Available for all eligible applicants. 
Required under age 18. 

Daytime Use Of Headlight 
Modulating headlight permitted. 

Passenger Seat 
Required if carrying a passenger. 

Mirror 
Required by law. 

Periodic Safety Inspection 
Required by law. 

65 MPH Speed Limit 
In effect on designated rural interstate highways. 

TEXAS - DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF CLOTHING OR CLUB MEMBERSHIP IS ILLEGAL

Article L Section 8, of the Texas Constitution guarantees the right to everyone in Texas of freedom of speech, expression, and association. Unlike the First Amendment of the United States Constitution which only protects against the government depriving a citizen of speech, expression, or association, the Texas Free Speech provision prohibits anyone, public or private, from depriving a citizen of his or her right to freedom of speech, expression, or association. Hajek v. Bill Mowbray Motors Inc, 647 S.W.2d 253, decided by the Texas Supreme Court in 1983.

 Effective September 1, 1997, persons at least 21 years old are exempt from wearing a motorcycle helmet if they:

o have successfully completed a motorcycle safety course, or
o are covered by a health insurance plan providing the person with at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of an accident while operating or riding upon a motorcycle.

Motorcycle Safety Course. 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.

Health Insurance Plan. Defined as " . . . an individual, group, blanket, or franchise insurance policy, insurance agreement, group hospital services contract, health maintenance organization membership, or employee benefit plan that provides benefits for health care services or for medical or surgical expenses incurred as a result of an accident."

Helmet Exemption Sticker. The Department of Public Safety issues Helmet Exemption stickers to persons who:

o apply to the department on the form provided; and
o own the motorcycle listed on the application;
o provide adequate proof of successful completion of the Basic or Advanced Motorcycle Operator Training Course, or health insurance coverage, and,
o pay a $5.00 non-refundable fee for each sticker applied for.

Persons operating, or riding upon, a motorcycle with a helmet exemption sticker displayed on the license plate or license plate mounting bracket are presumed to meet the training or insurance requirements for riding without a helmet.

NOTE: Helmet Exemption stickers are serialized and may not be transferred from one motorcycle to another. The sticker expires on the third anniversary of their date of issuance.

Frequently Asked Questions.

Do passengers have to meet the same age/insurance/training requirements as the operator?

It is presumed that operators and passengers on a motorcycle displaying a helmet exempt sticker on the license plate or plate holder meet the age/insurance/training requirements.

No helmet exempt sticker on the motorcycle? If the motorcycle owner has the state-required minimum insurance, passengers, providing they are at least 21 years of age, can ride on a motorcycle without a helmet.

Is the helmet exemption sticker required before a motorcyclist can ride without a helmet?

No. The sticker indicates that the motorcyclist meets the requirement for riding without a helmet, and law enforcement officers will presume that they do. Without the sticker motorcyclists may be requested to show police officers their proof of course completion or insurance coverage.

Where are helmet exemption sticker applications available?

Helmet exemption sticker applications are available at most Driver License Offices, from the Motorcycle Safety Unit (1-800-292-5787) or by downloading it from the Motorcycle Safety Unit’s web page (www.txdps.state.tx.us/msb).

Which course must motorcyclists take to qualify for the helmet exemption sticker?

The basic and/or the advanced motorcycle operator training course meet the requirement for helmet exemption.

Do training sites provide motorcycles and helmets for persons attending training courses?

Training sites provide helmets and training motorcycles for students attending the basic course. Sponsors may provide helmets for students attending the advanced course.

What constitutes proof of course completion?

A Department of Public Safety, Motorcycle Operator Training Course Completion Card, MSB-8 or a completion card from a motorcycle safety course meeting or exceeding Motorcycle Safety Foundations standards.

Does the insurance card have to state that the insurance affords benefits of at least $10,000 for injuries incurred as a result of a motorcycle accident?

No. Major health insurance plans almost always provide at least $10,000 coverage, generally more. Moreover, the Department’s administrative rules do not require the insurance card to display the amount of policy coverage. Therefore, an insurance card such as provided by an employer, group health insurance company (HMO/PPO), the Veterans Administration, Medicare or Medicaid, is prima facie proof that the coverage meets statutory requirements and is satisfactory proof of the required coverage. Insurance cards for life insurance policies, cancer only policies, or accidental death and dismemberment policies do not meet the health insurance plan requirement as they have a more narrow coverage than is required by the statute.

If a person is from out of state, can they ride in Texas without a helmet?

Yes, as long as he or she is at least 21 years old and can show proof of course completion or adequate medical insurance

*Article Contributed by Barbara F.