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Motorcycle Licensing Requirements

Motorcycle Licensing Requirements

Texas requires motorcycle operators to have a motorcycle license. The training and experience needed to obtain a motorcycle license help riders deal with the power and instability inherent in operating these vehicles.

After a motorcycle accident in Houston, TX, your compliance with Texas motorcycle licensing requirements could affect your right to compensation. An attorney from Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers can help you develop a strategy to keep the blame on the driver who ran into you.

Contact our undefeated Houston motorcycle accident lawyers for a free case evaluation to learn more. You can call us at 888 603-3636.

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How Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers Can Help After a Motorcycle Accident in Houston, TX

How Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers Can Help After a Motorcycle Accident in Houston, TX

Since 2006, Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers has been representing accident victims in Houston, Texas, against those responsible for their injuries. Our award-winning Houston personal injury lawyers have recovered over a billion dollars in compensation for clients like you.

If you suffer a motorcycle accident injury, our attorneys will provide you with:

  • A free consultation to assess your case and explain your legal options
  • Skilled negotiators to try to resolve your insurance claim fairly
  • Aggressive litigators with track records of courtroom success against insurers

Motorcycle accidents can cause catastrophic injuries to exposed motorcyclists. Contact our Houston personal injury attorneys to discuss how we can help you recover compensation from the at-fault driver and their insurer.

Why Do States Require Motorcycle Licenses?

Motorcycles are fast, small, and agile. But they gain these benefits at the cost of stability and rider protection. As a result, motorcycle operators need training and practice to handle them.

Statistics show that knowledge and experience make a difference. About 20% of riders are unlicensed, but they make up about 40% of fatalities. According to a query on Texas’s Crash Records Information System (CRIS), 56 of 693 motorcycle crashes involved an unlicensed motorcyclist in 2023. 

These crashes included:

  • One fatal crash
  • 52 non-fatal injury crashes

States have seen these statistics. As a result, every state, including Texas, requires motorcycle operators to obtain a special license with training and testing requirements tailored to motorcycle use.

Getting a Motorcycle License in Texas

Texas requires all motorcycle operators to have a valid motorcycle license or permit to ride on the state’s roads and public lands. Operators do not need a license to ride on private property.

If you ride without a license, you face a range of legal consequences. First, the police can cite you for driving without a license. You might face a fine and court costs.

Second, if you crash while riding without a license, a claims adjuster or jury might shift a share of the blame to you. Under Texas law, your compensation is reduced in proportion to your negligence. Thus, if you bear 33% of the fault for unlicensed riding, you can only get 67% of your damages from the crash. If your share of fault exceeds 50%, you cannot receive any compensation from the other party.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) gives applicants three options for obtaining motorcycle licenses, depending on their license status and age:

Applicants 18 or Older With a Valid Out-of-State Motorcycle License

If you hold a valid, unexpired motorcycle license from another state, you can exchange your out-of-state motorcycle license for a Texas license upon moving to the state. You will need proof of residency showing your Texas address when you surrender your out-of-state license. Texas will then issue a new license without requiring any further education or testing.

This option is only available to applicants 18 or older. All applicants under 18 must pass the education and testing requirements upon moving to Texas, even if they already have a valid, unexpired out-of-state motorcycle license.

Applicants 18 or Older

Applicants 18 and older can obtain a motorcycle endorsement or class M license. These options give you the same right to operate a motorcycle on public roads. The only difference is that a licensed driver has a motorcycle endorsement added to their driver’s license, while an unlicensed driver gets issued a new class M license.

All applicants 18 and older must pass a motorcycle safety course. This course typically takes three days to complete. It includes five hours of classroom training and ten hours of hands-on instruction. Most course providers allow you to complete the classroom portion online. You then complete the hands-on portion in person with an instructor.

To receive a certificate of completion, you must pass a written test at the end of the classroom instruction and a riding test at the end of the practical instruction. You will take the certificate of completion to a driver’s license office to obtain your motorcycle license or endorsement. Riders 18 and older do not need to take a road test at the driver’s license office.

Applicants Younger Than 18

All applicants younger than 18 must meet the requirements to obtain a regular learner’s permit or provisional license before applying for a motorcycle license. In Texas, these requirements include completing a driver’s training course.

Applicants younger than 18 must pass the motorcycle safety course. They must also pass a road test at the driver’s license office.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation With Our Undefeated Houston Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Motorcycle crash injuries can cause pain and permanent disabilities. Contact Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn more about your legal right to compensation.