Motorcycle helmet laws have taken a swerving, curving path in Texas history.
In 1966, Congress passed the National Highway Safety Act with the goals of improving traffic safety and decreasing motorcycle-related head injuries and fatalities. Texas hopped on and between 1968 to 1977 had a comprehensive motorcycle helmet use law requiring that helmets be worn by all riders.
Then in 1977 the law was diluted and applied only to motorcycle riders and passengers under the age of 18. This modification had a short shelf life. In 1989, the strict requirements were reinstated to include all motorcyclists.
The push and pull persisted between public health concerns and the argument that mandated helmet protection constituted government overreach. In 1997, Texas repealed the law yet again.
Helmets down; serious injuries and fatalities up
At every turn in the road, there was no denying the correlation between helmet protection and the mitigation and prevention of injuries and death.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety assert that motorcycle fatalities would be reduced by 42% and head injuries by 69% if motorcycle riders and passengers would comply with this safety precaution.
Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists account for 24 times as many roadway deaths as car occupants, and they’re four times more likely than car occupants to sustain injuries.
Texas permits motorcyclists to ride without helmets if they meet certain stipulations. The rider must:
- Be age 21 or older
- Have completed a motorcycle safety course
- Carry health insurance coverage
If you’re pulled over and not wearing a helmet and haven’t met these requirements, you’ll be ticketed. Tickets will likely increase your insurance rates.
Helmets are the difference between minor injuries and major injuries, and sometimes between life and death. If you’ve survived an accident, but incurred a large claim, it may increase your insurance rates.
Safe driving translates readily into saving money on motorcycle insurance.
Traffic safety, helmets, insurance costs. The helmet is not required by Texas law, but people can choose to be fully protected. With better protections in place, those insurance costs will come down.