Motorcycle Laws in Texas

motorcycle on highwaymotorcycle on highway

If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident and have questions about how Texas motorcycle laws may affect your case, the experienced lawyers of Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, can help. Our motorcycle accident attorneys have years of experience helping crash victims pursue claims for fair compensation. Our legal team is here to answer your questions about Texas motorcycle laws and the impacts they may have on your legal rights.

Contact us today for a free case review to speak with one of our knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyers. With our firm, you will never owe any upfront fees for our advice or our legal representation, so there’s never any risk to you. We get paid only when we win compensation on your behalf.

Texas Motorcycle Helmet Law

Under Texas law, motorcycle riders are not required to wear a helmet if they are 21 or older and have either completed a DMV-approved motorcycle operator training course or have at least $10,000 in medical insurance coverage for motorcycle accident-related injuries. Police may not stop a motorcycle simply to check whether a helmetless rider meets the requirements for the exception from the helmet rule.

All riders under the age of 21 or who do not otherwise meet the requirements for the exception must wear a helmet. Helmets should meet U.S. DOT safety standards. Helmets that bear certification stickers from reputable independent testing laboratories, such as Snell or ANSI, will likely meet DOT standards.

Motorcycle License Requirements in Texas

Anyone wishing to apply for a motorcycle license (Class M) in Texas must first meet the requirements to obtain a regular driver’s license, which include:

  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the U.S.
  • Evidence of residency in Texas
  • Proof of identity
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of registration and insurance for each vehicle owned

Applicants for a motorcycle license must be at least 15 years old. Applicants must take a department-approved motorcycle safety course (unless they are in possession of an out-of-state motorcycle license being surrendered for a Texas license). Applicants who are obtaining a full motorcycle license for the first time in any state must also pass an on-road motorcycle driving test. Applicants 18 and older transferring a full motorcycle license from out-of-state are exempted from the driving test requirement.

Minors ages 15 through 17 must possess a Class C learner’s license and have completed the classroom phase of a driver’s education course. Applicants under 18 must also take the driving test regardless of whether they possess an out-of-state motorcycle license. Applicants who are 15 years old are limited to motorcycles with an engine displacement no greater than 250cc.

Additional Motorcycle Safety Requirements

All motorcycles in Texas are required to have the following equipment attached to the motorcycle and in working order for the motorcycle to be lawfully operated on public roads:

  • Horn
  • Mirrors
  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Tail lamp
  • Stop lamp
  • License plate lamp
  • Rear red reflector
  • Headlamp
  • Exhaust system

FAQs About Texas Motorcycle Laws

You likely have numerous questions about your legal rights as a motorcyclist in Texas, especially if you’ve suffered injuries in an accident. Here are some answers to common questions about Texas motorcycle laws:

Texas Motorcycle Laws

Although the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles does not require you to present a license to obtain a registration for a motorcycle, you are required to produce an insurance card for the motorcycle. However, most insurance companies will not insure a motorcycle if you are not licensed to operate it.

Lane splitting, or the practice of riding a motorcycle on road lines or in between lanes of traffic, is not legal in Texas. Instead, Texas law requires all operators of motor vehicles, including motorcycle riders, to ride between traffic lines. In addition, the law gives each motorcycle use of the full width of the lane, meaning that another vehicle cannot be beside a motorcycle in the same traffic lane, except that two motorcycles may ride side-by-side in the same lane. Thus, a passenger vehicle looking to pass a motorcycle must move fully over to the adjacent left lane (if legal to do so) and may not have any part of the vehicle in the motorcycle’s lane when passing.

Yes. In Texas, you must possess a Class J learner’s permit or Class M motorcycle license to operate a motor-driven cycle (a motorcycle with an engine displacement of 250cc or less) or a moped (a motor-driven cycle that cannot attain a speed of greater than 30 mph and the engine has a displacement less than 50cc and cannot produce more than two brake horsepower).

You must be at least 15 years old to apply for a motorcycle learner’s permit in Texas, although you will be restricted to riding a motorcycle with an engine displacement of no more than 250cc until you turn 16.

Talk to a Texas Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Now

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle in Texas due to another driver’s negligence, contact the motorcycle accident lawyers of Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, today for a free consultation. We’re ready to discuss the circumstances of your accident in detail and explain your legal options.