Motorcycle Accidents

Understanding Texas Motorcycle Laws and Regulations

Riding a motorcycle in Texas can be an exhilarating experience, but it’s essential to understand and follow the state’s specific laws and regulations to ensure your safety and avoid legal trouble. In this article, San Antonio motorcycle accident lawyer Eric Ramos provides an overview of the key motorcycle laws and regulations in Texas, including helmet requirements, lane splitting, licensing, and more.

Helmet Requirements

Texas law requires all motorcyclists, regardless of age or experience level, to wear a helmet that meets the standards set by the Department of Transportation (DOT). The helmet must fit properly and have a chin strap that is securely fastened. Failure to wear a DOT-approved helmet can result in a fine and potentially impact your insurance coverage in the event of an accident.

There are a few exceptions to the helmet law in Texas:

– Riders over the age of 21 who have completed a state-approved motorcycle safety course or have at least $10,000 in medical insurance coverage for motorcycle accidents may ride without a helmet. UPDATE: This law was updated in 2024 to reflect that a police officer may not stop a motorcyclist or a passenger without a helmet just to get proof of the motorcycle safety course training and Texas motorcyclists are no longer required to have $10,000 in medical insurance coverage as long as they have “standard proof of insurance.”

– Motorcycle operators participating in a parade or ceremonial event, if the speed is less than 5 miles per hour, are also exempt from the helmet requirement.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting, the practice of riding a motorcycle between lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic, is illegal in Texas. Motorcyclists must occupy a full lane and are not permitted to share a lane with another vehicle, even if there appears to be enough space. Violating this law can result in a traffic citation and fines.

Licensing Requirements

To legally operate a motorcycle in Texas, you must have a valid Class M license or a Class A, B, or C license with a motorcycle endorsement. To obtain a Class M license, you must:
1. Be at least 16 years old.
2. Complete a state-approved motorcycle safety course or pass a written and practical skills test administered by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
3. Provide proof of completion of the safety course or passing the DPS tests when applying for your license.
4. Pass a vision test and pay the required fees.

Motorcycle riders under the age of 18 must complete a motorcycle safety course before obtaining their license, and they are restricted from carrying passengers or riding at night for the first six months.

Equipment and Inspection Requirements

In addition to wearing a helmet, Texas law requires motorcycles to be equipped with certain safety features, including:
– At least one, but no more than two, headlamps
– A rear red reflector
– A taillight that illuminates the rear license plate
– At least one rear view mirror
– Turn signals (for motorcycles manufactured after 1975)
– Footrests and handholds for passengers
– A horn

Motorcycles must also pass an annual safety inspection, which includes checking the brakes, tires, lights, and other essential components.

Passenger Regulations

Motorcyclists in Texas may carry passengers, but the motorcycle must be designed to accommodate a passenger, with a separate seat and footrests. Passengers are required to wear DOT-approved helmets, just like the operator, and must be at least five years old.

Alcohol and Drug Use

Texas has strict laws regarding alcohol and drug use while operating a motorcycle. It is illegal to ride a motorcycle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. For riders under the age of 21, any detectable amount of alcohol is prohibited. Penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) can include fines, license suspension, and even jail time.

Texas Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Motorcyclists in Texas must carry a minimum amount of liability insurance to cover damages or injuries they may cause to others in an accident. The minimum coverage required is:
– $30,000 per injured person
– $60,000 per accident
– $25,000 for property damage

It’s important to note that these are only the minimum requirements, and many riders choose to carry additional coverage to better protect themselves and their assets.


Understanding and following Texas motorcycle laws and regulations is crucial for the safety of riders, passengers, and other road users. If you need help, contact the San Antonio personal injury lawyers at Eric Ramos Law, PLLC. By wearing a DOT-approved helmet, obtaining the proper license, maintaining your motorcycle, and avoiding alcohol and drugs while riding, you can minimize your risk of accidents and legal trouble. Remember, as a motorcyclist, you have the same rights and responsibilities as other motorists on the road. Ride safely and enjoy the freedom and excitement that motorcycling in Texas has to offer.


Eric Ramos Law, PLLC

Personal Injury Lawyer San Antonio


7979 Broadway #207, San Antonio, TX, 78209



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