Texas Motorcycle Helmet Laws [2024 Updated]

Cruising down the Texas roadways on a motorcycle can make life feel limitless and full of adventure. However, as with most things, alongside that feeling of adventure comes responsibility for knowing and abiding by state rulings for operating a motorcycle. It is vital for both veteran bikers and newcomers alike to know and understand the latest rules and regulations on Texas motorcycle helmet laws for the sake of their own safety and that of others on the roadways.

Motorcycle Versus Moped Classification in Texas

In the state of Texas, a motorcycle is classified as a motorized vehicle that can propel itself forward using no more than three wheels that make contact with the ground. It is also important to remember that under Texas law, a moped is treated like a motorcycle.

The main difference between these two vehicles, however, is the fact that a moped cannot reach a speed in one mile of more than 30 miles per hour and has an engine that is not more than two brake horsepower or 50 cc. Alternatively, a motorcycle contains an engine that exceeds 50 cc.

Keep in mind that because these two vehicles are treated the same legally, the registration for a moped is the same process as a motorcycle registration in the state of Texas.

Penalties for Not Wearing a Helmet

If you are found to be operating or riding on a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear that meets the safety standards laid out in the Texas transportation code, you are in violation of the law and are committing an offense. The only exception to this rule is for riders over the age of 21 who have successfully completed a motorcycle operator training and safety class or those individuals who are covered by a health insurance plan that provides healthcare for any injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.

If you are found to be in violation, the offense is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine ranging between $10 and $50.

Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Unfortunately, the most common injuries that can occur in Texas motorcycle accidents are traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can manifest in many ways and are generally very serious. In the most severe instances, these injuries can be fatal. The most common type of traumatic brain injury is concussion. Though some can be considered mild, they can threaten to damage your body and your long-lasting brain health. Even the mildest traumatic brain injuries should be examined by a health professional.

Other types of injuries possible in motorcycle accidents include:

  • Contusions: Bruises, or a collection of blood from damaged capillaries under or in the skin, can be incredibly painful and arise from forcefully hitting the road or other objects.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Oftentimes, serious spinal cord injuries can include spinal bruising, stretching, or pressure. The possibility of a severed spinal cord or even paralysis also exists.
  • Hematoma: This condition develops when blood collects outside of a blood vessel and can be severe if not treated quickly. Hematomas can also occur around the brain, potentially causing serious damage.
  • Broken Bones: Though less life-threatening than a spine or head injury, broken bones can keep you from going about your life on a normal day-to-day basis. If the broken bone is severe enough, it can lead to a lifetime of chronic pain, nerve damage, and reduced range of motion.
  • Hemorrhaging: If arteries are damaged, excessive bleeding can occur. This condition is fatal if the bleeding cannot be stopped quickly.
  • Road Rash: This type of injury occurs when the skin makes direct contact with the pavement. The resulting friction can lead to extremely painful injuries and scarring. Dirt, gravel, and other road debris can also enter the skin and cause infection.

Despite the exceptions that come into play for motorcyclists over the age of 21 or those with the appropriate health insurance, the importance of wearing a helmet cannot be overstated. In a data compilation conducted by the CDC, motorcycle helmets were found to be 37% effective in preventing death for operators and 41% effective in preventing death for passengers. They are also shown to reduce the risk of head injury by roughly 69%. Considering all the risks involved, wearing a helmet is a wise decision, even if you are legally exempt from the rule.

Not Wearing a Helmet and Accident Compensation

Keep in mind that when you choose to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, in the cases of correct and legal exemption, that choice could still lead to legal and financial consequences. In the case of an unfortunate accident, your decision to forgo protective headgear has the potential to be used against you.

Any other party involved in the matter could have their lawyer argue that your injuries were only made worse by your choice not to wear a helmet, which could ultimately lead to a reduction in compensation for your injuries. Even a skilled motorcycle accident attorney could have a difficult time arguing against this claim.


Q: Do You Have to Wear a Helmet in Texas on a Motorcycle?

A: In the state of Texas, you must wear a helmet while operating or riding on a motorcycle unless you fall under one of the two exemptions:

  • You are 21 years of age or older and have successfully completed a motorcycle operator training course
  • You are covered by a health insurance plan that includes motorcycle accident injuries

Police may stop you if they see you are not wearing a helmet to verify that you are following state law.

Q: In What States Is it Legal to Not Wear a Motorcycle Helmet?

A: Though motorcycle helmet laws can vary from state to state, there are currently only three states that do not require those operating a motorcycle to be wearing a helmet. Those states include Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire. Nineteen states require all riders to wear helmets, nine require riders of 20 years and under to wear helmets, and eighteen states say that all riders 17 and younger must wear a helmet.

Q: What Is the 5-Year Rule for Motorcycle Helmets?

A: Helmet manufacturers generally agree that riders should replace their protective headgear every five years. Though it may seem excessive if you do not ride very often, following the manufacturer’s guidelines for your helmet is the most effective way to remain safe. Each helmet should have a manufacturer’s date; however, if the helmet has sustained damage, it might be prudent to replace it sooner.

Q: Does Texas Have a No Chase Law for Motorcycles?

A: In the state of Texas, there is no “no chase” law; however, some police precincts may have different regulations. Motorcycle pursuits typically adhere to the same rules and regulations as pursuits involving other motorized vehicles. Under the law, officers may only initiate a pursuit if they suspect a rider has committed an offense, and they must ensure the safety of all parties involved.

Speak to an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today

If you or someone you love has been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is vital you seek legal counsel and have someone on your side defending you in court. Now is the time to speak with an experienced and trusted personal injury attorney and let them pursue compensation on your behalf while you take the necessary time to rest and heal.

Contact the team at Stevenson & Murray today and let them support you during this trying time.

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