Riding a motorcycle is one of the most exhilarating transportation modes on the road, but it comes with certain risks. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents happen way too often. If you are ever in such an accident you need to contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who can help you recover compensation for any losses or injuries, you may have suffered.
The first step is to find out what caused the motorcycle accident. If it was caused by another motorist’s negligence or recklessness, your attorney may be able to pursue a claim for damages against the other motorist and his or her insurance company. In this article, we will examine motorcycle laws and requirements that need to be carefully considered.
The difference between a motorcycle and passenger vehicles
When driving a motorcycle, you need certain acquired skills, such as a good sense of balance. It is imperative that you remain aware of what’s going on around you at all-times while driving your motorcycle, since you are more exposed than other motorists. Because motorcycles offer very little protection in a collision, motorcycle laws require motorists to follow specific rules while operating or riding on a motorcycle.
Motorcycles respond to your inputs much quicker than cars and are much more sensitive to the road. Therefore, a small adjustment on a motorcycle may have a bigger effect than it would in a car. Additionally, you can feel the road conditions much more on a motorcycle. You might not feel a small pothole in the road while in a car, but it can greatly affect you when on a motorcycle.
Other forces that affect motorcycle riders more so than you would notice in a car include:
- Rain on the road
- Irregular road surfaces that you find in construction zones
- Whether a road consists of cement or asphalt
- Cracks in the cement or asphalt
- Sand and gravel on the road.
Texas Motorcycle Laws
Texas has certain motorcycle laws that you must follow when riding. These laws help keep riders safe.
Motorcycle Helmet Law
Texas allows a person to drive a bike without a helmet, but only if the individual has reached the age of 21. Those under 21 must wear a helmet that meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard #218. Passengers must also wear a helmet if they or the driver haven’t reached the age of 21.
If you choose to ride without a helmet and you are 21 years or older, you must complete a motorcycle operator training course certified by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) or have adequate medical insurance that covers motorcycle injuries.
In addition to meeting the requirements necessary to obtain a regular driver license, individuals wanting to drive a motorcycle must apply for a Class M driver license. To obtain Class M status individuals must take an approved motorcycle safety course. If an individual has a valid motorcycle license from another state, the safety course requirement will be waived. The motorcycle safety course completion certificate is only good for 24 months from issuance date.
For those aged over 15 but under 18, the requirements to get your motorcycle is a little stricter. The applicant needs to hold a class C driver’s license or learners permit license. In addition, the applicant needs to complete the classroom phase of a driver education course. The classroom portion is a prerequisite to complete the motorcycle safety course.
A motorcycle must be registered with the County Tax Assessor-Collector in the county in which the owner/driver resides. A Texas motorcycle plate must be displayed on the back of the motorcycle with a current registration sticker.
As with other motor vehicles, your motorcycle must go through an inspection process every year. You may have to present the Vehicle Inspection Report when you register your motorcycle within 90 days of the inspection.
You must carry proof of insurance with you when riding a motorcycle. You must also have insurance in place when you apply for an original Texas driver’s license, register the bike, and take the bike for inspection.
Just like passenger cars, motorcycle riders cannot park their bikes in disabled parking spaces unless they have the proper authorization and affix a disabled license plate or windshield placard to the bike. Additionally, a disabled license plate or windshield placard may not be given or lent to other motorists.
Some motorcycle riders believe that because their bikes are smaller than typical passenger cars, they may park in the striped areas near handicap parking spaces or other similar “Do Not Park” areas of pavement. This is against the law. Moreover, Motorcycles cannot be parked on sidewalks.
Many motorcyclists engage in a practice known as “lane splitting,” which is when a motorcyclist passes other vehicles by traversing between lanes of traffic. Some decry this practice as dangerous, and it can be in certain situations. Especially, when riders are splitting a lane with a larger vehicle or at high speeds. Lane splitting is NOT legal in the state of Texas.
In Texas, a motorcycle must have all the following equipment to be legal and drivable.
- Vehicle Identification Number
- License plate lamp
- An exhaust system
- Wheel assembly
- Tail lamp
- Stomp lamp
- Rear red reflector
Additional Safety Recommendations
While Texas laws do not mandate eye protection, you should have motorcycle goggles or a face shield on a full-face helmet to protect your eyes. As a motorcycle rider, you may want to consider protective clothing like motorcycle helmets and motorcycle boots. Here are some clothing recommendations:
- Low-heeled footwear should cover the ankle with no dangling laces or rings. Footwear can provide a good grip on the road and on foot pegs.
- Gloves should be worn to protect the hands from cuts and bruises, blisters, cold, wind, and provide better grip for control.
- Bright-colored clothes should be worn to increase visibility to other drivers. Clothes should fit comfortable be of material that can resist abrasions.
- Rain suits are recommended for rainy weather.
Always drive defensively. Many motorcycle riders have reported that they are not comfortable sharing the road with large vehicles, such as big trucks. This is because many people forget to look for motor vehicles smaller than passenger cars. As a motorcycle rider, you must pay attention to other drivers.
What to Do if you are involved in a Motorcycle Accident
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, and you do not think you can move without causing additional injury, do not try to move. Get someone to call for medical assistance immediately.
If you think you only suffered minor injuries, you should:
- Call first responders and check on others involved in the accident.
- Take photos of the accident, including skid marks. Be sure to take pictures from all angles. Pictures should also include condition of the roads and any damage to other property, such as yards, fences, mailboxes.
- Obtain contact information, registration information, and insurance information from other drivers involved in the accident.
- Obtain contact information from any witnesses, including passengers in vehicles involved in the wreck.
- Allow emergency medical technicians to check you over.
- Give the police officer your version of the events leading up to and during the wreck.
- Ask how to get a copy of the police report and when it will become available; your motorcycle accident lawyer will need a copy.
Speak With A Personal Injury Attorney
Walker Texas Lawyer highly recommends that you do not call the other driver’s insurance company yourself. Keep in mind that insurance companies are not out for your best interest. They want to maximize profits, not fully compensate accident victims. Thus, the at-fault insurance company in your case will do anything, including twisting what you say, to deny your case or offer you such a low amount that it might not cover your medical expenses, never mind other damages.
Thus, we recommend speaking with a personal injury attorney as soon as you are able. Your motorcycle accident lawyer is familiar with motorcycle accident cases and knows how to protect your best interests. Your motorcycle accident lawyer will be able to determine whether the insurance company’s offer is reasonable or not and if it is not, he or she can fight for you to receive what you are entitled to.
Why Choose Walker Texas Lawyer
Walker Texas Lawyer is an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. He has handled many motorcycle accident victim cases and knows how to work with insurance companies and the legal system to provide you the compensation you deserve. At Walker Texas Lawyer our first concern is for your safety if you are involved in an accident. Once you are taken care of then we will discuss what happened and get your recollections of the accident. Walker Texas Lawyer will always work to help you recover the compensation you deserve from those losses you have suffered; losses such as pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damage.