In Texas, a motorcyclist may not be required to wear a helmet while riding his motorcycle, but it is always safer to do so. A helmet is essential because it will offer the best protection against head injuries and fatalities in a crash.
Under Texas law, a motorcycle rider under 21 years old always has to ride with a helmet on. However, a person 21 years old or older does not have to use a helmet if he meets both of the following criteria:
- Has medical insurance that covers motorcycle crashes and his insurance card states “Motorcycle Health” somewhere on it.
- Has successfully completed the basic motorcycle operator training course.
Why it Is Still Safer to Wear a DOT-Approved Helmet
Even if a rider meets the two qualifications that allow him to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet, it is always smarter to use one. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), wearing a motorcycle helmet helps save lives. Consider the following statistics:
- 4,957 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2012.
- 193,000 riders were injured in crashes in 2012—an increase of 12,000 from 2011.
- There were 10 times more helmetless rider fatalities in states without universal helmet laws as in states with universal helmet laws in 2012.
When purchasing a motorcycle helmet, it is important to buy one that is Department of Transortation (DOT)-approved. NHTSA tested seven popular substandard helmets and determined that the helmets did not protect the rider from head injuries as a result of a crash. There are four factors to consider in getting the right helmet:
- Look for the DOT label. These are certified by the manufacturer to meet certain safety standards to protect the rider’s head in a crash.
- Be sure the helmet fits. It is critical that a rider gets the correct size and shape of helmet for his head. Adjustable pads may be needed to improve the fit.
- Consider facial protection. Helmets that shield a rider’s face as well as protect his head are the safest in a crash.
- Check for proper ventilation. Good ventilation is important to increase fresh air flow and reduce fogging.
Even if a motorcyclist wears a DOT-approved helmet, it will not eliminate the risk of serious brain damage if another driver hits him, but it can help avoid fatalities and lessen the injury.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It’s a good time for motorcyclists to focus on driving safely and purchase and wear a DOT-approved helmet. Other drivers should also be aware of how their unsafe driving practices increase the risks of serious motorcycle crashes and fatalities and share the road more safely with riders.
Have you been injured in a motorcycle crash? Was a family member killed in a crash? Our friendly, knowledgeable legal team has extensive experience handling these cases. Fill out our online form or call us at (817) 380-4888 for a free, no-obligation consultation to start learning about your legal options.