In 2014, the Texas State Legislation implemented Malorie’s Law on behalf of motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers. Many motorcyclists remain concerned about the implications of this legislation and how it will impact their ability to ride their vehicles. Implemented as a response to the 2010 death of Malorie Bullock, this law impacts how motorcyclists transport passengers on Texas roads.
Malorie Bullock’s Story
In 2010, 19-year-old Malorie Bullock, a Sherman local studying at Texas A&M University, lost her life in a tragic motorcycle accident. Malorie and her boyfriend were traveling about 90 miles northeast of Fort Worth, with Malorie riding on the back. The driver attempted to avoid a collision, crashing into a ditch and accidentally throwing Malorie off the back of the motorcycle.
Malorie died as a result of her injuries, although she was wearing a helmet at the time. Her death raised concerns across the state on how motorcyclists transport their passengers and how safe common methods are. As a result, Texas lawmakers began to implement Malorie’s Law, with partial implementation in 2013 and full implementation in 2014.
What Does Malorie’s Law Say?
The 2013 partial implementation of Malorie’s Law required all motorcycle training courses to include basic information on how to safely transport a passenger on a motorcycle. The full 2014 implementation bans passengers on motorcycles that cannot carry more than one person at a time. If the manufacturer indicates that the motorcycle’s design cannot carry another person, the driver cannot transport a passenger.
In addition, all motorcycles carrying two passengers must have the following holds.
- Foot pegs for passengers riding on the back of the vehicle
- Hand holds for passengers riding on the back of the vehicle
Passengers riding on a motorcycle cannot simply grab on to the driver to ride the motorcycle safely. Grabbing onto the other person was what Malorie was doing when she died, and a helmet could not save her from the injuries. Texas lawmakers believe these requirements will prevent other people from dying in the same manner.
Passengers and riders who fail to follow Malorie’s Law could be subject to the following penalties.
- Up to 180 days in jail
- Up to $500 in fines
- A Class B misdemeanor charge
Implications and Concerns for Texas Motorcyclists
Many motorcycle riders expressed extreme concern at the new piece of legislation. Many motorcycles coming from the factory have the holds required by Malorie’s Law, but many riders are unsure what qualifies as a hand hold. While the requirement for foot pegs is clear, many motorcyclists wonder what a hand hold consists of and how it should hook on to the vehicle.
In addition, motorcyclists are unsure about the safety of Malorie’s Law and how it compares to basic motorcycle training. Texas motorcycle training courses explain what Malorie’s Law is, as required by the state of Texas, but they also tell motorcyclists that the safest way to operate the bike with a passenger is if the passenger is holding on to the rider. Motorcyclists are unsure what to tell their passengers to stay safe. When in doubt, however, motorcyclists should follow what the law states.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
If a motorcyclist and passenger suffer an accident while riding, they should take the following precautions to stay safe and receive necessary medical and police attention:
- Call 911 immediately to receive medical attention and a police report from responding officers.
- Exchange insurance and contact information with other drivers.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, posted signs, and the vehicles involved
- Collect the contact information of any witnesses in the area.
- Contact a motorcycle accident attorney to discuss options to recover compensatory damages, such as insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits.