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Texas lawmakers consider motorcycle helmet requirement

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By Chris Stum, KTEN News

GRAYSON COUNTY, Texas — Motorcycle riders in both Oklahoma and Texas are currently permitted to ride without a helmet as long as they meet age, training, and insurance requirements.

But a House bill filed in Austin last Friday could soon change that for Texans who travel on two wheels.

“I just feel that the helmet should be a choice,” said biker Bobby French. “To me, I think that a person that doesn’t wear one is crazy… but then again like I said,  who knows? You’re on a motorcycle and you get hit by a car… chances are you’re not going to survive.”

Denison police Lt. Mike Eppler said wearing protective gear is always encouraged because it could be the difference between life and death.

“It’s for a reason, and it’s to protect you and keep you safe, because in an event of a crash your chances of survival are greatly increased if you’re wearing protective gear, including the helmet,” he said.

French said he never gets on his bike without a helmet, but still feels taking away the choice of wearing a helmet isn’t the answer.

“We don’t need more laws,” he said. “What we need is more people to pay attention to motorcyclists.”

In 2016, the Texas Department of Transportation reported emergency crews responded to nearly 2,000 motorcycle accidents. Nearly 500 of those wrecks resulted in death while not wearing protective gear.

“I don’t know if it would change the number of accidents, but we certainly would like people to wear that equipment so it will give them a better chance of survival in not being injured or killed,” Eppler said.

If Texas lawmakers approve House Bill 748 and it’s signed by the governor, it would take effect on September 1.

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