Motorcycle Safety in Texas Following the Repeal of the Helmet Law

To many motorcycle owners, riding is a way of life. Many riders embrace the culture that surrounds motorcycling with its own groups, fashions and outlook on life. Being a biker to an outsider may conjure up a certain outlaw image, fostered by such former and current notorious outlaw biker gangs or clubs as the Hell's Angels, Banditos and Satan's Slaves.

For many riders, motorcycling is a way of expressing their desire for freedom. Part of that freedom is riding unencumbered by a helmet, enjoying the wind while speeding down the open road. But, along with that freedom is an increased risk for head trauma and serious injury in the event of a motorcycle accident.

No Helmet Requirements: A Fatal Impact

Texas repealed its universal helmet law in 1997. Since then, a study released by the Southern Medical Association showed that between 1994 and 2004, motorcycle fatalities increased by 30 percent. The fatality rates per motorcycle registration increased by 15.2 percent over this time, and fatality rates per vehicle miles traveled also increased by 25 percent. The conclusion of the study was that the helmet law repeal had a significant adverse effect.

Since the repeal of the universal helmet law, Texas has required that all motorcyclists over the age of 21 not wearing helmets must either have proof of health insurance or attend an approved motorcycle operator training course. (All bikers aged 21 or younger still must wear a helmet.) Motorcycle riders not wearing helmets and not meeting one of these two helmet exemption requirements can be fined and cited for a misdemeanor.

It is no secret that wearing an appropriate motorcycle helmet saves lives and certainly lessens the risk of sustaining brain damage or other serious head and facial trauma. Given the choice of whether to wear a helmet, though, it looks like many Texas bikers have chosen not to wear one: helmet use has decreased over the years from 75 percent using helmets in 1996, to 63 percent in 1997, and dropping to 35 percent in 1998 and thereafter.

Unfortunately, a rider's failure to take the most basic step in preventing a serious injury can lead to a shortened life or one with a serious disability or disfigurement. Motorcycles are more prone to vehicle fatalities than cars. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that about nine percent of all passenger vehicle rider fatalities are motorcycle-related, despite motorcycles accounting for less than three percent of all registered vehicles in the U.S. The NHTSA has also estimated that helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing fatalities; meaning that for 2003, during which 3,661 people died in motorcycle accidents, an additional 1,158 more riders would have died had they not been wearing helmets.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, helmet or not, talking to a personal injury attorney in your area can ensure that you receive compensation for your medical expenses and pain and suffering.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

Get Your Free Case Review 713.587.9668

Let Us Help You Today! Request a Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Personal Injury Large Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs', taking a lead role in the plaintiffs' steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Plant Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs' steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Personal Injury Work Site Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm's client.

  • $12 Million Auto Accident 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $30 Million Personal Injury Burn Victims

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $30 million.

Our Record Of Success.

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

More Success Stories