Guide to Dirt Bike Laws in Texas
Dirt bikes are a special type of motorcycle designed for off-roading purposes. Many people use them for racing, hill climbs, and other sporting events. Compared to standard, road-going motorcycles, dirt bikes are lighter and more simply designed. Furthermore, they often have high ground clearance and long suspension travel with little bodywork attached.
Dirt bike accidents can cause devastating injuries. There are several different types of crashes that can occur. For instance, a victim may be hurt when they collide with another rider or when they run into a stationary object. Additionally, accidents can occur when riders fall from tall heights while practicing jumps and other stunts. If you suffered a crash because someone else acted negligently, you may be able to sue them for the damages you incurred.
After a dirt bike accident, get help from our Arlington personal injury lawyers by calling (817) 476-1797 for a free review of your potential case.
Do You Need a License?
You do not need a driver’s license to operate a dirt bike off-road in Texas. However, if you plan to ride your bike on public land, then you will need to buy an Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) permit. These decals cost $16 with part of the proceeds being used to improve existing OHV recreation areas across the state. They are valid from September 1st through August 31st of the following year and you can purchase one by following this link to the website for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
However, you will need a Class M license to take your dirt bike on public streets. If you already have a Texas driver’s license, then you can obtain a Class M license by simply applying for a motorcycle endorsement. If you wish to apply for only a motorcycle license, you will have to take a driver’s education course. Children under the age of 15 will be prohibited from applying for a motorcycle license.
Can You Drive a Dirt Bike on the Road?
If you want your dirt bike to be street legal, there are certain requirements that must be met. First, a street legal bike must be equipped with a headlight indicator light and a headlight. Indicator lights are the illuminating symbols used to signify that equipment is receiving power and working properly.
A street legal bike also has to have Department of Transportation (DOT) approved tail lights and break lights. These lights must be battery powered. Further, a DOT approved fuel tank and DOT approved tires must be utilized. DOT approved devices will have “DOT” stamps or appropriate Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) stamps on them.
If you are questioning whether your dirt bike is street legal, you can take it to a motorcycle shop to have the vehicle inspected. If your bike is approved, you will receive a certificate that you can take with you when having your dirt bike registered.
You must register your bike at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) before taking it on public streets. You will need to provide your license, the vehicle’s title, and proof of insurance. The fee for registration can be anywhere from $200 to $300. The OHV decals are also necessary to take your bike on public streets. As previously mentioned, these cost $16.
Do You Need Insurance?
If you are strictly riding your dirt bike off-road, you do not need to be insured. However, if you intend to ride on public streets, you will need to purchase motorcycle insurance. Proof of insurance is required in order to register your vehicle.
Motorcycle insurance is different from standard car insurance. Your insurance rates will reflect the safety features of your vehicle, the potential cost of its repair, and its overall value. Still, motorcycle insurance is generally not as expensive as car insurance.
If you do not have insurance coverage and are pulled over, you will receive a citation and may be fined an amount between $175 and $350. Furthermore, a $250 surcharge will be added on top of your relicensing fee for the next three years. For second-time offenders, the fine raises to a value between $350 and $1000. Habitual offenders run the risk of having their licenses revoked and their vehicles impounded.
Other Legal Considerations
No one under the age of 15 can ride a dirt bike on a public street in Texas. However, there is no age limit for riding dirt bikes off-road. Still, for young riders, it is best to be accompanied by more experienced individuals when taking their bikes off-road.
If you make your dirt bike street legal and intend to take it on public roads, you will need to wear a helmet if you are under 21 years old. If you are over 21, you can avoid the helmet requirement by completing an approved motorcycle operator training course. Furthermore, proof of medical insurance that covers motorcycle accident injuries will be necessary if you intend to ride without a helmet.
Additionally, if you take your dirt bike on public streets, you will likely be unable to ride with a passenger. Motorcycles must be equipped with permanent passenger seats in order for passengers to legally ride them. Furthermore, passengers cannot be younger than 5 years old and must wear a helmet if they are younger than 20 years old.
Can You Sue for Injury After a Dirt Bike Accident in TX?
If your dirt bike accident happened because you were operating the bike carelessly, then you will be responsible for your own injuries. However, if the accident happened as the result of another person’s negligence, then you may be able to sue them for the damages you incurred. During a free case assessment, you can evaluate the strength of your potential lawsuit with support from our Dallas personal injury lawyers.
Examples of Dirt Bike Accidents You Can Sue for in Texas
There are several types of dirt bike accidents. You may be hurt because of a collision with another rider or a collision with a stationary object. Furthermore, you may suffer an injury while attempting a stunt like a large jump or hill climb. The following are all examples of accidents you may be able to sue for:
Accidents Caused by Other Riders’ Negligence
One of the most common sources of dirt bike accidents is operator negligence. If you collided with another rider because they were operating their bike carelessly, then they may be held accountable for your injuries. For example, you may sue another rider if they crashed into you while talking on the phone or travelling at excessive speeds.
Accidents Caused by Property Owners’ Negligence
Your dirt bike accident may also happen as the result of a property owner’s negligence. For instance, you can suffer a harmful crash because a track was poorly maintained or carelessly designed. In that instance, you may be able file a lawsuit against the at-fault property owner or municipality that operates the track.
Accidents Caused by Defective Products
Finally, some dirt bike accidents happen because of defective products. As an example, a rider may suffer a devastating crash because their bike was equipped with poorly manufactured brakes. Furthermore, a dirt bike accident may happen because of a vehicle’s malfunctioning fuel system. After such accidents, victims may be able to bring claims against at-fault sellers and manufacturers.
Damages Available to Plaintiffs in Dirt Bike Accident Lawsuits in Texas
Plaintiffs in dirt bike accident lawsuits can pursue several different forms of monetary damages. The following are all types of damages that may be available in your case:
You may pursue payment for any medical expenses you incurred because of your dirt bike accident injuries. This includes expenses related to all past, current, and future medical treatment you require. Such damages are usually established using your medical bills and records.
Therefore, you should see a doctor quickly after suffering a dirt bike crash. Official documentation of your injuries is necessary to recover compensation from another party. If you allow your injuries to heal before seeing a doctor, you may be unable to obtain such documentation. Furthermore, the defendant in your case may use a delay in medical treatment to suggest that you were not badly injured.
After some accidents, victims are unable to work because of the harm they endured. Thankfully, you may also obtain compensation for any lost income related to your dirt bike accident injuries. These damages are usually calculated using your average weekly wages.
Furthermore, you may be able to obtain payment for your lost future earning capacity if your injuries restrict your ability to work going forward. However, supporting a claim for lost future income can be a complex process. Expert witness testimony is usually required. Accordingly, guidance from our Flower Mound personal injury lawyers can be highly beneficial when pursuing these damages in your case.
Property damage is another type of monetary damages that may be pursued by plaintiffs in dirt bike accident cases. If your bike was damaged as a result of your crash, then you may recover payment for the cost of its repair or replacement.
In some cases, defendants will attempt to assert that property damage was caused by something other than the accidents at issue. Therefore, you should take a picture of your damaged bike at the scene of your crash. A photo from the scene can be used to establish that the defendant is responsible for the property damage you incurred.
There are also non-economic damages available to plaintiffs in dirt bike accident cases. For instance, you may recover financial compensation for the physical pain caused by your injuries. There are certain types of injuries that are especially painful. For instance, burn injuries, broken bones, and soft tissue injuries can all be excruciatingly painful. If you suffered any of these injuries because of your crash, you may be entitled to significant compensation.
In addition to causing physical pain, many dirt bike accident injuries can produce immense emotional suffering. As an example, a rider with a traumatic brain injury may be prevented from engaging in meaningful relationships with friends and family members. Meanwhile, someone who incurs a spinal cord injury may be unable to enjoy their favorite activities and hobbies after their crash. In these cases, plaintiffs may be able to obtain payment for the emotional distress caused by their injuries.
Finally, you may acquire monetary damages for a wide range of out-of-pocket expenses related to your dirt bike accident injuries. For instance, an injured rider may need to pay for transportation services to and from their medical appointments. Additionally, a parent who is hurt because of a dirt bike accident may have to pay for help with child care. These types of expenses may be included in plaintiffs’ claims.
Damages for out-of-pocket expenses are usually established using receipts. Therefore, you should keep the receipts for any expenses you incur as the result of your dirt bike accident injuries.
Examples of Off-Road Sports People Use Dirt Bikes for in Texas
There are wide variety of sports that riders utilize dirt bikes for in Texas. One of the more popular sports is Motocross. In motocross, riders take their dirt bikes on short, closed-off tracks with a variety of obstacles. Motocross engines are typically constructed using single-cylinder two-stroke or four-stroke units. These units can vary in size from 50cc to approximately 650cc.
“Enduro” is another type of off-road sport that dirt bikes are used for. Enduro events involve modified, road-legal motocross bikes that compete on longer courses. An Enduro event may last from one to six days. Still, some Enduro events are held on shorter tracks. These events are referred to as “multi-lappers.”
“Rally raids” involve specialized types of Enduro bikes that have significantly larger fuel tanks for extremely long-distance riding. For rally raids, engines tend to be larger too. Usually, rally raid engines are between 450cc and 750cc.
If You Were Hurt Because of a Dirt Bike Accident in Texas, Call Our Lawyers for Help
Seek support from our experienced Fort Worth personal injury attorneys by calling (817) 476-1797 today.