According to SB 1967, you must wear a motorcycle helmet unless you have very specific health insurance. There were 4,976 motorcycle deaths in the United States in 20161. In Texas alone, there were 4962. With helmets, it’s estimated that those losses could be cut by 30% and save the U.S. up to $3 billion. Because of these statistics, helmets are very much a rule in Texas.
The motorcycle helmet must also meet federal regulations according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
If you’re riding a motorcycle in Texas, your helmet must have:
- An inner liner with one-inch of polystyrene foam
- A chinstrap with solid rivets
- A weight of more than 3 pounds
- No protrusions from the helmet that are more than two-tenths of an inch
- A certified DOT sticker
- Labels on the inside of the helmet from the non-profit American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the non-profit Snell
- A manufacturer’s label that states the name, size, model, date of manufacture, materials, and your personal info
Luckily, many helmets already come certified for driving on Texas roads. Make sure you find these key elements or your helmet may not protect you.
Exemptions from Wearing a Helmet
SB 1967, the Motorcycle Helmet Law, passed in 2009 under Governor Rick Perry. This law exempts certain people from wearing a helmet. If you’re a motorcycle rider, you can either take a safety course or have:
a standard proof of health insurance for issuance to persons who are at least 21 years of age…[and] must either add the words “MOTORCYCLE HEALTH” to [their] insurance card or supply a letter with the same basic information….
Before SB 1967, motorcycle riders were required to have no less than $10,000 of coverage before riding without a helmet. However, the Senate Bill undoes that, which means you can ride a motorcycle without a helmet as long as you have the words MOTORCYCLE HEALTH on your insurance card.
Also, police cannot stop you to check for the label if you’re not wearing a helmet. SB 1967 prohibits any such measures. Before the passage of SB 1967, motorcycles were required to have a sticker that displayed the insurance of the rider. That is no longer the case.
If you’re in a motorcycle accident and wearing a helmet, you have a 67 percent chance of walking away without a brain injury. That number plummets without a helmet. The law office of Leonard B. Gabbay, P.C. implores you to wear a helmet to keep yourself and others safe on the road here in Austin.