Texas Motorcycle Laws

February 17, 2013

Texas Motorcycle Laws

Texas motorcycle laws, excerpted from the “Texas Department of Safety Motorcycle Operator’s Manual,” a publication created by the Motorcycle Safety Unit. For your reading pleasure, the full manual is included at the bottom of the page where you can chose to save it, e-mail it, or print it out. These laws were in force at time of publication, but are subject to change and modification. If you have any questions, please contact DPS at (800) 292-5787.

To pass annual vehicle inspections, your bike will need everything on the list below.

Equipment

Texas law requires the following equipment on Motorcycles and Motor-Driven Cycles

  •  Wheel Assembly
  •  Exhaust System
  •  Tail Lamp (1)
  •  Stop Lamp (1)
  •  License Plate Lamp
  •  Rear Red Reflector
  •  Head Lamp (1) (modulating permitted)
  •  Vehicle Identification Number
  •  Horn
  •  Mirror
  •  Steering
  •  Brakes
  •  Tires

Texas law requires the following equipment on Mopeds

  •  Brake
  •  Reflector
  •  Head Lamp
  •  Rear Lamp

Mufflers | Decibel Limitations

Texas currently has no statutes regarding mufflers/exhaust decibels.


Texas currently has no statutes regarding motorcycle exhaust decibel levels.Parking

Disabled Parking

State law provides that it is a violation (Class C misdemeanor – up to $500 fine) for a person to park, stand, or stop a vehicle (motorcycle)in a disabled person parking
space.

The law specifically states:

  • You may not park in a disabled parking space unless the vehicle (motorcycle) has a disabled license plate or a state issued removable windshield identification card;
  • You may not use a disabled parking windshield identification card unless transporting the disabled person to whom it was issued;
  • You may not lend your windshield identification card to someone else;
  • You may not block an access or curb ramp;
  • Additionally, certain municipalities also prohibit stopping or standing a vehicle (motorcycle) in a disabled parking space unless bearing a disabled parking windshield identification card or disabled license plate.

Other parking stipulations

  • Do NOT park in striped areas Do not park a vehicle (motorcycle) in striped areas adjacent to handicap parking spaces or in striped area in front of entrance to a business adjacent to a parking space. The striped area is for wheelchair lifts.
  • In addition, motorcycles should not be parked on sidewalks.
    Parking on sidewalks can prevent a person who is handicapped from gaining access to a business or their residence

Helmets

DOT-approved helmets are marked with the DOT sticker.

Helmets meeting Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard #218 (FMVSS-218) are required for motorcycle operators and passengers. Adherence to this standard is indicated by the “DOT” sticker. This requirement applies to all motorcycles, motor scooters, and mopeds regardless of size or number of wheels.

Persons at least 21 years old are exempt from wearing a helmet if they have completed a Department-approved Motorcycle Operator Training Course or they are covered with at least $10,000 in medical insurance. (Proof of medical insurance must be a card or certificate that contains the name of the insurer, the insurance policy number, and the policy period).

The law prohibits a peace officer from stopping or detaining a person who is the operator of or a passenger on a motorcycle for the sole purpose of determining whether the person has successfully completed a motorcycle operator training and safety course or is covered by a motorcycle health insurance plan and repeals provisions relating to a DPS-issued sticker required to be displayed on a motorcycle by a motorcycle owner.

The Basic and Advanced Motorcycle Operator Training Courses meet the helmet exemption requirement. The Advanced Motorcycle Operator Training Course is recommended for experienced licensed motorcyclists.


Passengers

A passenger must be at least five years old. If under 21 years old a passenger must wear a helmet, if over 21 years old a passenger can ride without a helmet if the driver meets the helmet exemption requirements.

A motorcycle operator cannot carry a passenger unless the motorcycle is equipped with a permanent passenger seat.


Licensing

The operator of a motorcycle on a public highway must hold a valid motorcycle license (Class M driver license). This requirement also applies to operators of motor-driven cycles and mopeds.

To receive a license to operate a motorcycle, applicants must pass a written test covering traffic laws pertaining to motorcycles and a road test. The road test may be waived.

An applicant (must be age 16 or older) who has passed a Department of Public Safety approved Basic Motorcycle Operator Training Course, and has an unrestricted (not an instructional permit) Class A, B, or C license, can present an MSB-8 completion certificate or a completion card from a course meeting Motorcycle Safety Foundation curriculum standards.


 

A special note about lane splitting

The American Motorcyclist Association places significant emphasis on motorcyclei operator and passenger safety. On every type of public roadway, motorcyclists encounter challenges from other roadway users and are constantly vigilant to unsafe conditions around them.

Perhaps one of the most dangerous situations for any motorcyclist is being caught in congested traffic, where stop-and-go vehicles, distracted and inattentive vehicle operators, and environmental conditions increase the risk of physical contact with another vehicle or hazard.

Reducing a motorcyclist’s exposure to vehicles that are frequently accelerating and decelerating on congested roadways can be one way to reduce front- and rear-end collisions for those most vulnerable in traffic. A 2014 study conducted in California supports this assertion by demonstrating that motorcyclists engaging in responsible lane splitting were less likely to be rear ended, suffer a head injury or be involved in a fatal crash.

Other potential benefits include an increase in conspicuity because the motorcyclist is moving relative to other traffic; a reduction in motorcyclist fatigue from constant shifting and braking in stop-and-go traffic; a lessening of the risk for engine damage for air-cooled engines; a reduction in motorcyclists’ exposure to ambient heat in the summer and car exhaust year-round due to fewer hours spent in traffic.

Given the ongoing success of lane splitting in California and the recent enthusiasm for lane splitting and/or filtering in other states, the AMA endorses these practices and will assist groups and individuals working to bring legal lane splitting and/or filtering to their states.

The AMA’s full position on lane splitting can be found here: http://americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/PositionStatements/LaneSplitting.aspx.

Where’s the AMA?

Although the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has been involved in supporting lane-splitting legislation in California and other states, it has thus far been reluctant to offer any opinion or assistance on this issue in Texas. Texas riders who are AMA members might want to contact them and express an opinion about their lack of interest and action  in Texas, the state with the second highest number of motorcyclists in the USA. This is what you’re paying dues for. They should be working for us, too, not just California’s riders.

AMA Contacts
(800) 262-5646
(614) 856-1900


Texas Department of Safety Motorcycle Operator’s Manual

You can download view or download pdf Texas Motorcycle Operator’s Manual

Events

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Motorcycle Grand Tour of Texas

March 1 - November 1

This tour is a self-guided motorcycle tour that has stops throughout the state of Texas. The tour is open to all types of motorcycles (as defined by Texas Law) and riders/passengers. All riders must be at least 18 years old and licensed to operate a motorcycle. Riders are to be safety conscience and obey traffic laws. Participants in the tour will visit tour stops that include roadside attractions, historical sites, memorials, unique geography, and biker friendly businesses. For…
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$15.00

Ronnie Stratton Memorial Flattrack races

April 18

Flat Tracking Racing, Waco, TX
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Crockett County Annual Easter Egg Hunt

April 21 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

You’re invited to the Crockett County Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Ozona’s Rodeo Park. Sponsored by the Ozona Knights of Columbus. FMI contact Frank Tambunga at 325-392-2827 Visit www.Ozona.com/EventsCalendar to find more area activities!
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Granbury Wine Walk

April 24 - April 25

It’s time to sip and savor on authentic Texas wines! This one-of-a-kind event is a huge hit in Granbury, so mark your calendars for the 10th Annual Wine Walk, April 24-25, 2020! Wine-lovers from all over flock to Granbury year-round for the wine in the area, but the Wine Walk is a special event in itself where dozens of wineries head to the Historic Granbury Square. The event kicks off Friday, April 24 and again,…
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Bikes on the Bayou

April 24 @ 7:00 pm - April 26 @ 7:00 pm

The 2nd annual Bikes on the Bayou will focus on bringing together Houston’s entire two-wheeled community, from motorcycles to scooters to bicycles. It’s a weekend of live music, vendors, food, beer, full bar, motorcycle promenade, and a host of other cycle-centric entertainment.
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Bike Nights