Texas Motorcycle Helmet Law

image21 Years OldTexas Motorcycle Helmet Law

STATUTE:

On June 19, 2009, Governor Rick Perry signed into law Senate Bill 1967 of the 81st Regular Legislative Session.

This law goes into effect September 1, 2009 and repeals the helmet exemption sticker program.

Current law requires a person be covered with a minimum of $10,000 in health insurance for injuries incurred in a motorcycle accident to be eligible for an exception for the offense of operating or riding a motorcycle without a helmet. The bill removes that minimum amount. The bill requires the Texas Department of Insurance to prescribe a standard proof of health insurance for issuance to persons who are at least 21 years of age and covered by an applicable health insurance plan.

The bill 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.

For more information on this law, visit Texas Legislature Online (thanks to Dave Young)

Title 7. Vehicles and Traffic. Subtitle G. Motorcycles and All-Terrain Vehicles. Chapter 661. Protective Headgear for Motorcycle Operators and passengers. Section 661.003. Offenses Relating to Not Wearing Protective Headgear:

2-14HEADGEAR. (a) A person commits an offense if the person:
2-15(1) operates or rides as a passenger on a motorcycle
2-16on a public street or highway; and
2-17(2) is not wearing protective headgear that meets
2-18safety standards adopted by the department.
2-19(b) A person commits an offense if the person carries on a
2-20motorcycle on a public street or highway a passenger who is not
2-21wearing protective headgear that meets safety standards adopted by
2-22the department.
2-23(c) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (a)
2-24or (b) [a defense to prosecution under this section] that at the
2-25time the offense was committed, the person required to wear
3-1protective headgear[:]
3-2[(1)] was at least 21 [18] years old[;] and had
3-3successfully completed a motorcycle operator training and safety
3-4course under Chapter 662 or was covered by a health insurance plan
3-5providing the person with at least $10,000 in medical benefits for
3-6injuries incurred as a result of an accident while operating or
3-7riding on a motorcycle “

These 21-year-old exemption/modifications constitute a dangerous and disturbing trend of discrimination against our own kind and believe bikers should start thinking about this. There also have a real problem with the acceptance of special provisions for insurance, special fees and/or any other legislation that requires bikers to apologize for themselves.

FINE:

Title 7. Vehicles and Traffic. Subtitle G. Motorcycles and All-Terrain Vehicles. Chapter 661. Protective Headgear for Motorcycle Operators and passengers. Section 661.003. Offenses Relating to Not Wearing Protective Headgear. :“. . .(e) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $10 or more than $50.”

STANDARDS:

Title 7. Vehicles and Traffic. Subtitle G. Motorcycles and All-Terrain Vehicles. Chapter 661. Protective Headgear for Motorcycle Operators and passengers. Section 661.003. Offenses Relating to Not Wearing Protective Headgear. :“(a)(2) . . . protective headgear that meets safety standards adopted by the department.”

COURT DECISIONS:

We have been unable to uncover any court decision from a court of record, either from the Texas Appellate or Supreme Courts, which indicates that the question of whether or not Texas’s helmet law is constitutional has not been addressed in the courts.

CURRENT ACTIVITY:

HB 625 and SB 350 – Equal Access bills. Would prohibit discrimination in places of public access based on all the usual in addition to just because you were riding a motorcycle.

It is very much apparent that Chairman Nixon has no intention of moving HB625. SB350 is scheduled for a hearing in Jurisprudence Committee on May 7th at 1:30 pm or upon adjournment. Your State Chair also has an appointment at the VA Hospital to learn what all the new tests showed and make any medication adjustments necessary for better results. Despite knowing this Bill will not pass regardless of testimony, your chairman will cancel the appointment and attend the hearing. I refuse to give them an opportunity to say we turned tail and run.

It looks like Gov. Perry killed this bill again unless one of the Rep. Senators stands by their original committment and votes for SB350 tomorrow (unlikely). Chairman Nixon will let the House version HB625 die in committee even though he has told us he’d bring it out (another lie).

HB 931 – Failure to Yield bill… “Kill a Biker, Go To Jail”. No more “I didn’t see the motorcyle” and a slap on the wrist.

HB931 is in Calendars Committee still waiting to be sent to the Floor for passage. We met with Chairman Wooley’s staff and pleaded for expedition of this Bill. We also asked that Da’Lady speak with Chairman Wooley on the Floor. That still leaves a whirlwind race to the Senate to get it passed with no amendments. That is the easiest way to salvage that one.

RELATED INFORMATION:

Texas Modified Helmet Law Info & Form – Effective September 1, 1997, persons 21 and up are exempt from wearing a helmet if they’ve completed a motorcycle safety course or are covered by $10,000 worth of accident medical benefits. The Department of Public Safety will issue Helmet Exemption stickers. Assistance with filing the exemption from the DPS.

Texas Enacts Controversial Helmet Law – 6/20/97 Modification: Helmets not required for 21 or over with medical insurance or the cycle safety course. New law institutionalizes the social burden concept.

Texas – Officials Issue Advisory For State’s New Helmet Law.

Texas Helmet Mod. Bill – goes to Gov. Bush; raises AMA concerns!

Texas Helmet Adult Modification – the bill sets a dangerous precedent by trading freedom for rider-education or purchase of $10,000 personal medical insurance and forcing 21 and under to wear helmets.

Texas SB99 Enacted into Law – Press Release

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