Our state’s highways offer you the opportunity to explore the landscape and enjoy the open road. However, that freedom does come with risks. While nobody can guarantee their safety on the road, there are ways to protect yourself and others while riding a motorcycle.

Your motorcycle must be inspected to ensure that it’s still safe to ride.

Under Texas law, all vehicles registered in the state must meet a specific set of requirements to ensure that the vehicle is safe to drive. Motorcycles will need to have working lights, steering, brakes and a horn as well as proper identification. You will need to confirm once per year that your vehicle meets these standards. Once your vehicle passes the inspection, you need to display your certificate alongside your license plate.

You aren’t required to wear a helmet, but it could be the most important piece of protective gear.

If you are over 21 years old and have taken a state-approved training course or have at least $10,000 in health insurance, there is no legal requirement for you to wear a helmet. However, you should also remember that your helmet could stand between you and a severe injury. Most catastrophic motorcycle injuries are head injuries, and wearing protective gear is still one of the best ways to keep yourself safe even if wearing a helmet is not required.

Don’t drive while distracted.

In 2017, Texas passed one of the many distracted driving laws in the country, and this law applies to motorcyclists just as it does to other drivers. The law is especially important for bikers, however, because they are more vulnerable than drivers in cars, trucks or big rigs. By keeping your focus on the road, you can protect not only yourself but also any pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers that you share the road with.