Do you know your bicycle helmet and motorcycle helmet laws in your state? There is no state law, nor a federal law in the U.S. regarding bicycle helmets and no federal law regarding motorcycle helmets. I was still under the assumption that the city ordinance in Dallas, Texas mandates that everyone has to wear a helmet. I hadn’t really thought about it lately, since I hadn’t had my lazy butt on a bike for over a year. I rode with a friend yesterday and she was not wearing a helmet. I teased her a bit, and reminded her about the time she was harassed by local authorities for not wearing a helmet. But this ordinance has changed (at least in my city) and now, only those under the age of 18 must wear a bicycle helmet. As for motorcycle helmet laws, I believe that the Texas state law mandates that “Riders and passengers under 21 years of age must wear a helmet. According to Texas DPS, as of 2009, if you don’t wear a helmet, you must have insurance.

Everyone recommends wearing a helmet. If a Texan prefers not to wear a helmet and let their freak flag fly (i.e. bald spot and Ben Franklin ponytail), the must meet the following requirements:

• Must be 21 years of age or older.
• Must be covered by an applicable health insurance plan.
• Must have completed a motorcycle operator training and safety course.

Formerly a Texas motorcyclist was required to be covered with a minimum of $10,000 in health insurance if they would like to be exempt from an offense of operating or riding a motorcycle without a helmet. These rules were overruled on September 1, 2009 and repealed the helmet exemption sticker program.

Children under age 5 are prohibited from riding on a motorcycle, period! There is one exception, though, kids under 5 may ride in a sidecar attached to the motorcycle. Kids under 1 year of age must be in a car seat, facing backwards (I just made that up…who on Earth would take an infant on a motorcycle ride? Unless, of course, they won’t stop fussing.

So, it boggles the mind as to why is it that many motorcyclists don’t wear a helmet (I noticed that most bicyclists do). And critics of motorcycle helmet rights say that the costs saved by wearing helmets are never actually passed down to consumers. Although it is estimated from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) $3 billion in costs were saved as a result of helmet use in the U.S. And another 1.4 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists were wearing helmets.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Bicycle Helmet and Motorcycle Helmet