Although the use of helmets can reduce the risk of serious injury or death in an accident, Texas laws do not require motorcyclists to wear helmets. Prior to 2009, the law required that a motorcyclist be covered with a minimum of $10,000 health insurance for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in order to legally operate or ride a motorcycle without a helmet.
On June 19, 2009, Governor Rick Perry signed a new law repealing that law. The new law requires the Texas Department of Insurance to give proof of health insurance for individuals at least 21 years old. Individuals carrying health insurance are not required by law to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle.
Additionally, the law prohibits police officers or highway patrol from stopping or detaining a motorcyclist for the sole purpose of determining whether or not they have completed a motorcycle safety course or is covered by insurance.
Whether or not the law requires a motorcyclist to wear a helmet, the fact remains that wearing a helmet while riding or driving a motorcycle can save your life in the event of an accident. In 2008, motorcycle helmets saved 1,829 lives.
A 2009 study by the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) found that the use of motorcycle helmets had increased to 67 percent from 63 percent in 2008. However, in states that do not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet only 55 percent of motorcyclists wore helmets, whereas 86 percent use helmets in states that do require all motorcyclists to wear helmets.
While some motorcyclists would claim that the use of helmets interferes with their vision or hearing, a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that the loss of lateral vision can be recovered if the motorcycle driver turns his or her head slightly more when changing lanes. The study found that hearing loss only occurred between the speeds of 30-50mph, because of the sound of wind, and that the use of a helmet does not affect a motorcyclist’s hearing.
Even if the law does not require you to wear a helmet while driving or riding on a motorcycle, think twice before making the decision to ride without one. Wearing a helmet is a small price to pay considering that helmet could save your life in an accident.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in a motorcycle accident, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hareand ask to speak with Tim O’Hare, the Dallas personal injury attorney who has been riding motorcycles for most of his adult life. Currently, Mr. O’Hare rides a 2009 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic. Hiring a lawyer who also rides to handle your motorcycle case is the right choice. Call us today at 972-960-0000, or toll-free at 1-888-960-0020.