Countless studies show that wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle significantly reduces your risk of suffering serious head or brain trauma in the event of an accident—including those caused by negligent drivers. While Texas does not require riders to wear helmets, failing to wear this safety gear could impact your ability to recover compensation from the person responsible for your bike accident.
Understanding Houston bicycle helmet laws could help you protect yourself and your family physically and legally in the event a negligent driver causes you to wreck. Schedule a meeting with a skilled bike crash attorney to learn more about helmet regulations and the process of pursuing civil recovery after an accident.
Texas state legislators have made multiple efforts to codify laws requiring bike riders to wear helmets in recent years. However, as of 2023, these efforts have been unsuccessful: there is currently no state-level law mandating anyone riding a bicycle to wear any safety equipment, including helmets.
That said, Houston Code of Ordinances §45-326 makes it unlawful for children to operate or ride on any bicycle—or in any sidecar, trailer, or similar device attached to a bike—without a helmet. Furthermore, while adults are not required to wear helmets in Houston, they can be held criminally liable for permitting or allowing a child under 14 years old to ride a bike or any device attached to the bike without protective headgear.
This bike helmet law does not apply when the bicycle is not operated on Houston’s public roads. On top of that, the relevant local ordinance offers an affirmative defense to first-time offenders who already own or acquire helmets prior to their court hearing and who promise to use this protective gear in the future.
Aside from the fact that wearing a helmet can dramatically reduce your chances of sustaining an injury on your bike, failing to do so could also reduce the compensation available to you through a bike accident claim. In these cases, the court will often consider failure to wear a helmet to be “comparative negligence” on your part, primarily if your accident directly resulted in a brain or skull injury that a helmet likely could have prevented.
Any percentage of “comparative fault” assigned to you after a bike crash could result in a reduced compensation award. Even worse, if you are found primarily to blame for your injuries compared to other involved parties, you may be ineligible to recover any civil compensation under Texas state law.
Choosing to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle in Houston is not just a matter of personal safety. Depending on the circumstances, wearing safety gear may also be vital to preserving your right to recover financial compensation when a negligent person causes your bike crash.
Simply put, following Houston bike helmet laws, and wearing a helmet, even when not strictly required by law, is always a wise choice. Call our tenacious and experienced attorneys at Roberts Markland LLP today to learn more about helmet regulations and other ways to prevent bike collisions.