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Malorie’s Law: Texas Motorcycle Laws for Child Passengers

Motorcycles are more than just vehicles to many Americans – they are beloved pastimes and hobbies. Many motorcyclists enjoy sharing rides with their children, but it is absolutely essential to recognize the inherent dangers motorcycles present to all riders, especially small ones. Motorcycles are arguably the most vulnerable vehicles on the road, and child passengers face the highest risks of injuries and fatalities in motorcycle accidents.

Texas’ Laws for Motorcycles

Texas lawmakers passed a bill in September 2009 prohibiting any child under the age of five from riding on a motorcycle or in an attached sidecar. The bill also requires any passenger under the age of 21 to wear a helmet at all times while riding. Another bill passed in January of 2015 requires all motorcycles to have footholds and handholds for passengers. This bill, called “Malorie’s Law,” got its name after a Texan woman, Malorie Bullock, lost her life in a motorcycle crash.

These laws require motorcyclists to use the utmost precaution before hitting the road, especially where young passengers are involved. It’s essential for motorcycle owners to acknowledge the dangers motorcycles present to all riders, especially young ones.

Injuries from Motorcycle Crashes

Unlike other typical passenger vehicles with enclosed passenger space, motorcycles are completely vulnerable to external forces. Motorcycles also do not feature safety equipment like seatbelts (which would cause more harm than good if included). Many motorcycle crashes lead to serious injuries such as bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, lacerations, and “road rash,” a term used to describe friction burns from sliding on asphalt.

Motorcyclists who get into accidents often fall or fly from their vehicles and suffer catastrophic injuries. Obviously, children are lighter and smaller than adults and therefore face exponentially greater danger than adults. While Texas law prohibits children under five years old from riding on motorcycles, the minimum penalty for allowing such a child to ride is a paltry $100. While violators of this law will likely face larger fines, many believe the law does not do enough to dissuade people from putting children in dangerous situations.

Use Approved Helmets

Since all riders and drivers under the age of 21 must wear helmets, it is important for motorcyclists to invest in motorcycle helmets that have received approval from the Department of Transportation (DoT). These helmets minimize the chance of instant death or catastrophic brain injuries in motorcycle crashes. Relying on unapproved or ineffective equipment is very unwise, so be sure to only purchase and use DoT-approved motorcycle helmets.

Any motorcyclist who has suffered injuries from an accident or because of a faulty helmet should seek legal counsel immediately. In some cases, an injured motorcyclist can recoup his or her damages through a personal injury claim against a negligent driver. If a helmet fails to perform as advertised, or a motorcycle defect causes a crash, the injured biker can pursue a product liability claim. A personal injury attorney can advise the best course of action and help injured motorcyclists build their cases and recover compensation for their damages.

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