If you’re an avid biker and love to take on the road, then you need to put Texas on your bucket list. If Texas is your new destination, then it’s important that you keep a few things in mind before you head out. From safety tips to traffic laws, here are 6 things you need to know when riding your bike in Texas.
1. Wear Your Helmet
The first rule of riding your bike is to practice proper safety regulations required by the state. In Texas, you are required to wear a helmet that meets the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards number 218 for drivers and passengers, which is known as FMVSS 218. Helmets that meet or exceed these standards must be labeled with the letters DOT on the back of the helmet.
Anyone under the age of 21 on motorized vehicles like bikes, scooters, or mopeds has to wear an authorized helmet according to the laws of the state of Texas. If you are 21 or older, you can be exempted from wearing a helmet, but you have to complete a government-approved motorcycle safety training course. If you did not take the course, you have to be medically insured with at least $10,000 coverage.
According to Texas law, a law enforcement officer cannot legally stop or delay a bike rider to check whether they have completed the safety course or are medically insured with the minimum coverage. You will only need to take the basic operator training course for helmet exemption or choose to also take the advanced course, which is recommended for experienced bikers.
2. Don’t Ride Under the Influence
This rule is the same for bikers as it is for cars and other vehicles on the road. Whether you are riding a two or a three-wheeled bike or moped, you should be sober and completely aware of the road, for your own safety, and that of others driving on the road. As noted by a Houston motorcycle accident lawyer, if things go wrong, and you get into an accident, hire a legal professional to preserve your rights. Be careful that your alcohol intake does d not exceed 0.08 percent, which is the maximum amount allowed under the law. If you are under 21, it is illegal to ride a bike with any trace of alcohol in your blood.
3. Get a License
Any biker on a highway must have a valid Class M driver’s license, which applies to any motorized vehicle such as e scooters and mopeds. You need to apply for a motorcycle license and take a written test. This test covers motorcycle traffic laws and a road test, which could be waived. You must be at least 16 years old to apply for a motorcycle license. You don’t need proof of completion for the training course if you are applying from out of state. If you passed the training course and obtained a Class A, B, or C license, you can present an MSB-8 completion card.
4. Mind Your Passengers
Any passengers must have their own fixed seat on the motorcycle. If you are riding with your kid, they should be at least five years old. Anyone under 21 must wear a DOT-approved helmet. If they are over 21, they are exempted from wearing a helmet if the bike operator meets the standards of helmet exemption as explained above.
5. Mind Your Lanes
The Texas law for motorcycle riding does not allow you to ride next to another motorcycle in the same lane. This is because you won’t be able to avoid cars or go around them when they come your way. As a motorcycle rider, you are especially vulnerable to highway accidents, so make sure to abide by traffic laws.
6. Know the Parking Rules
You cannot park in striped areas next to handicapped parking spaces or a company’s entrance because they are made for people in wheelchairs. Additionally, you should not park on sidewalks and avoid blocking their pathways. You may only park in handicap parking areas if you have a disabled license plate or windshield removable ID card. Hang this card on your motorcycle only if you are transporting a disabled person. Don’t give this card to someone else who can take advantage of it and park in handicapped parking spaces.
Make sure to follow these rules to maintain road safety. If you are riding in Texas, make sure to abide by the helmet and intoxication laws. You should be mindful of the road and your passenger’s safety as well because you are more susceptible to injury when riding a motorcycle.