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ASK A COP — Do motorcycle riders need to wear a helmet?

Eric from Port Arthur asks: Can someone that’s a driver/passenger of a motorcycle ride without a helmet? I got a ticket from YOU for not having my seat belt on in a car, and the other day I seen the driver and passenger of a motorcycle without helmets. I don’t guess you need to ask how that made me feel and I’m still feeling the same way. Can you please help me understand?

 

Answer: There are some laws I don’t quite agree with in the Transportation Code, but MY job is not to agree; it’s to ENFORCE. In Texas a motorcycle driver and rider are supposed to wear helmets when traveling on the roads UNLESS they have completed a motorcycle safety drivers course or can produce a health insurance coverage. The state previously stated that motorcyclist must have a minimum of $10,000 health coverage, but this has since been repealed. The state of Texas believes that correct usage of seat belts in your vehicle save lives, but at the same time allows motorcycle riders to be without. Wear your seat belt all the time, and if I had my way, helmets too.

 

Betty from Groves Asks: I wholeheartedly support police officers and think it’s sad the state of seeming unrest this country is in regarding our police officers that serve and protect us. I recently visited my cousin who lives up north from us in Texas. I rode with him to the store and he was using hand signals to turn. I asked him did his bulb blow out and he advised “yes, about two months ago.” Of course I went to the “Ask A Cop” mode and advised he should get it replaced. He told me he wasn’t financially able to repair what was broken, so he is using a hand signal until he can. Can he continue this behavior? I thought all signal lights were supposed to be in working order to drive on the roadway?

 

Answer: Good question Betty! This is one of those questions that a motorist can circumvent the law. You are correct; state law says ALL manufactured outside lamps provided on your vehicle need to be functioning correctly. But the state of Texas also allows motorist to use hand signals to notify intended movement that their vehicle is stopping or turning right or left. There is no time limit in the Transportation code that states what period of time a motorist can operate a vehicle using hand signals. I can only guess the time limit will expire when your cousin needs a state inspection. Hand signals won’t suffice there. If the vehicle signal system is not working properly, that agency will NOT pass the vehicle and in turn the registration/inspection system will block his vehicle from obtaining a current registration. If his vehicle isn’t currently registered, he can receive a citation for that even if he is using hand signals.

 

Jacqualine from Bridge City asks: Is there ever a time when a driver can go over the speed limit without getting a ticket?

 

Answer: The citation is meant to be a deterrent from future traffic crimes, which in turn will make our motoring community safer. Nobody wants a citation (ticket), so hopefully the concern of being stopped and issued a citation will be enough to cause motorists to obey the law while operating a motor vehicle. Because we have a higher injury and death rate from good citizens involving motor vehicles than from bad citizens who are muggers, gangsters and murderers. The state of Texas says in transportation code 545.351, an operator may NOT drive at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances then existing. So with that said there is no magic bullet answer to give you. It will totally depend on the circumstances and the officer whom you are explaining your reason for exceeding above the posted speed limit to. Because consider this, you can be stopped and given a citation (ticket) for speeding even if you are going under the posted speed limit….given if your speed is NOT conducive for the weather or road conditions.

 

Join me, Officer Rickey Antoine, for Ask A Cop live on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. for discussion on Ask A Cop. Tune in via internet at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in at 409-982-0247. Also, remember to email questions to rantoine@portarthurpd.com, call 409-983-8673 or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always free and comfortable to approach and “Ask A Cop!”