How Effective Are Motorcycle Partial Helmet Laws?

How Effective Are Motorcycle Partial Helmet Laws? 1Motorcyclists in Texas are governed by what’s known as a partial helmet law. Rather than a universal mandatory requirement for all motorcycle riders to wear helmets, under Texas law those under the age of 21 are required to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle.

As well, riders over the age of 21 who have either proof of motorcycle rider training or who are covered by a health insurance plan which provides coverage for motorcycle-related injuries are not required to wear a helmet.

This law is a secondary law rather than a primary law, as law enforcement officers are prohibited from detaining a motorcyclist for the sole purpose of determining whether he or she has completed a motorcycle operator training program or has health insurance coverage for motorcycle accidents.

How effective are motorcycle partial helmet laws? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, partial helmet laws don’t work. Research has found that states with partial helmet laws have the same percentage of helmet usage as states that have no helmet laws. While all partial helmet laws require minors to wear helmets, in the period from 2008 to 2010, 66 percent of minors who died in motorcycle accidents in states with partial helmet laws were not wearing helmets, compared with 22 percent of minors killed in motorcycle accidents in states with a universal helmet law.

These statistics are not restricted to motorcycle fatalities. Minors in states with partial helmet laws also have a 37 percent higher risk of receiving a severe traumatic brain injury as a result of a motorcycle accident then minors in states with a universal helmet law. The CDC points to the difficulties of enforcing a partial helmet law as one reason why compliance is low.


After a motorcycle accident, an experienced attorney is one of the few people who will advocate for your best interests. Robert Greening is the principal attorney at Greening Law, P.C. He has dedicated his 24 years of practice to the litigation of wrongful death and serious injury cases. If you have any questions, contact Greening Law, P.C. at 972-934-8900.