I've been reading about the new motorcycle passenger safety law that has passed Texas State Legislature. The law was passed after the last legislative session in 2013. It came into being after an accident in which Malorie Bullock, a college student who was a passenger on a motorcycle was killed in a crash. As of January 1, 2015, the law applies to Texas motorcyclists.
The Law Protects Passengers
So what does this law do and how will it affect motorcyclists? That primarily depends on what type of motorcycle you ride. Cruisers, touring bikes, and motorcycles that you sit upright on will be mostly unaffected. Sportbike riders however may have to make some accommodations for their passengers. It seems to me after reading the new law that the state is simply wanting riders, and passengers, to take responsibility for having passengers on bikes. If you want to have a passenger, the bike has to have been designed to carry more than one person, passengers must have handholds, and they must have foot pegs to put their feet on. All of this seems completely reasonable to me. Everyone I know who rides as a passenger has these basic items for safety and comfort.
Below is the new law that you can read for yourself and figure out if you and your passenger will be affected by it or not. I agree completely with the new law if you have a passenger.
- Text of the bill
- By: Phillips H.B. No. 2470
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT relating to the regulation of sports bikes and certain other motorcycles. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
- This Act shall be known as Malorie's Law.
- Section 521.084, Transportation Code, is amended to read as follows:
- Sec. 521.084. CLASS M LICENSE. A Class M driver's license authorizes the holder of the license to operate a motorcycle, including a sport bike as defined by Section 541.201, or a moped.
- Section 541.201, Transportation Code, is amended by adding Subdivision (18-a) to read as follows:
- (18-a) "Sportbike" means a motorcycle:
- (A) that is optimized for speed, acceleration, braking, and maneuverability on paved roads;
- (B) that has a lightweight frame;
- (C) on which the operator leans forward over the gas tank during operation; and
- (D) that is not a touring, cruising, standard, or dual-sport motorcycle.
- Subchapter I, Chapter 545, Transportation Code, is amended by adding Section 545.4161 to read as follows:
- Sec. 545.4161. OPERATION OF SPORTS BIKE. (a) In addition to the requirements and prohibitions under Section 545.416, an operator may not carry another person on a sports bike unless the a sport bike is designed to carry more than one person and:
- (1) the operator:
- (A) is at least 18 years of age; and
- (B) has had a Class M license for at least two years; or
- (2) the other person:
- (A) is at least 18 years of age and holds a Class M license; or
- (B) is a motorcycle operator training and safety
- course instructor certified under Chapter 662.
- (b) An operator of a sport bike shall ensure that a passenger on the sport bike complies with all department regulations relating to motorcycle safety.
- The heading to Subchapter M, Chapter 547, Transportation Code, is amended to read as follows: SUBCHAPTER M. ADDITIONAL OR ALTERNATIVE EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS FOR MOTORCYCLES, [AND] MOTOR-DRIVEN CYCLES, AND SPORT BIKES
- Subchapter M, Chapter 547, Transportation Code, is amended by adding Section 547.803 to read as follows: Sec. 547.803. SAFETY EQUIPMENT. If a motorcycle, including a sport bike, is designed to carry more than one person, the motorcycle must be equipped with foot pegs and handholds for use by a passenger on the motorcycle.
- Section 661.001(1), Transportation Code, is amended to read as follows:
- (1) "Motorcycle" means a motor vehicle designed to propel itself with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, and having a saddle for the use of the rider. The term includes a sport bike, as defined by Section 541.201. The term does not include a tractor or a three-wheeled vehicle equipped with a cab or occupant compartment, seat, and seat belt and designed to contain the operator in the cab or occupant compartment.
- This Act takes effect September 1, 2011.