Texan Motorcycle Laws - The Basics

Basic rules and requirements for riding a motorcyle in Texas.

Texan Motorcycle Laws - The Basics

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Published on

October 5, 2021

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Basic motor vehicle laws of Texas apply to motorcycles as they would to passenger vehicles, including the requirement to be properly licensed and insured. However, when it comes to riding motorcycles there are additional requirements to keep in mind.

When it comes to motorcycles, the same laws regulating speed and driving apply as for other vehicles. The most common speed violations for motorcycles include exceeding the speed limit or driving too fast for conditions. It’s important to note that additional restrictions are placed on riders in certain areas, such as school zones and residential areas.

Helmets: In Texas, a person operating a motorcycle must wear a helmet approved by the Department of Public Safety. The Texas Transportation Code also requires a person under 21 years of age to wear a helmet at all times. It is important to note that for those above the age of 21, a helmet may not be required if the individual had completed a state-approved motorcycle safety course.

Lanesplitting: Motorcyclists must abide by the rules of the road and use turn signals when changing lanes or turning. Lane splitting, which occurs when a motorcycle operator passes between two cars or other vehicles moving or stopped in the same lane, is not legal in Texas.

Passengers: Texas has special laws regarding children and pets on motorcycles. Under Texas law, it is illegal to transport a child under five years of age on a motorcycle. For riders with children between the ages of five and fifteen, the child must ride in a sidecar or in a trailer attached to the motorcycle.   It is also illegal to transport a pet on a motorcycle as a passenger, this includes between the legs or in a backpack. Pets must be properly secured in a basket or carrier that is attached to the rear of the motorcycle or in a sidecar.

In addition to the basic laws, Texas has some unique laws that apply to motorcycle.

One of these is a law that requires riders to use headlights during daytime hours. This law was enacted to make motorcyclists more visible to other drivers.  

The State of Texas also requires a license plate light and reflectors on the back of the motorcycle.

Finally, in Texas, it is illegal for a motorcyclist to carry any package, article, or person that prevents him or her from keeping both hands on the handlebars.

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