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WACO (January 6, 2015)
A new law that went into effect on Jan. 1 in Texas is aimed at protecting motorcycle passengers.

The law, introduced by Texas state Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, says that an operator may not carry another person on the motorcycle and a person who is not operating the motorcycle may not ride unless the motorcycle is designed to carry more than one person and equipped with footrests and handholds for use by the passenger.

"When you have a passenger you need to be more careful," Phillips said.

"You...have to take that into consideration when driving your motorcycle."

A violation is a Class-B misdemeanor, punishable by fines of as much as $2,000 or as much as 180 days in jail.

"Both the operator and the rider have a shared responsibility from reading the law," said Greg Arceneaux, manager of Harley Davidson of Waco.

He said most passenger bikes made in the past 20 years will be equipped with a handhold strap and foot rests when it comes from the factory, but often times people will take them off.

"To this point riders have been looking to the strap as a convenience. Many times they could take it off but now with the new law it's no longer a convenience. It'll have to stay on the bike," Arceneaux said.

The owner of Legends Bikes, John Wilson, said it's not too expensive to get if you don't already have them.

"Fortunately it is not a very expensive thing to do. Bikes should be able to be outfitted for $100," Wilson said.

However, Wilson doesn't think the new law will make the bike much safer for passengers.

"It will help some to give people a place to hold on to if they take off aggressively, but if there's nowhere to hold on to then there's nothing wrong with holding on to the guy driving the motorcycle," Wilson said.

"If the bike's actually in an accident, you don't want to hold on to the motorcycle. You want to get away from it. I don't think it'll make a big difference on the safety but it is what it is."

House Bill 3838 is also known as Malorie's Law, named after Malorie Bullock who died from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.

Since her death four years ago, her parents have been pushing for stricter motorcycle regulations.

By: Bethany Moore - Email


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