Unlicensed to Ride Project

Made possible through a Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) traffic safety grant, researchers at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) started the Unlicensed to Ride safety project in 2018 aimed at increasing the number of riders who complete motorcycle safety training and get their motorcycle license (Class M) in Texas. The project began after it was identified that almost half (47%) of the motorcycle operators killed on Texas roads in 2017 did not have a valid Class M. In fact, the percentage of unlicensed riders killed in Texas had been steadily climbing since 2012.

The Unlicensed to Ride safety project is modeled after the successful Shadow Rider program in Michigan. The Unlicensed to Ride’s ultimate mission is to help all road users get home at the end of the day and save lives.

For a list of motorcycle training schools click here.

Frequently Asked Questions:

In 2024, we have a limited number of spots available to take paid surveys if you are enrolled, but have not started (including online portion), in a state-approved motorcycle safety course. There are other eligibility requirements. If you are interested or would like to receive more information, please contact the project team at [email protected]. The deadline to take the class and surveys is July 31, 2024, but availability might run out sooner.

The Study Information Sheet can be found here:

Since 2018, objectives in this grant have included focus groups, education & outreach, surveys, and the mailing campaign.

Postcards have been mailed every year since started in 2020.

The number of riders obtaining their Class M endorsement by FY2023 after receiving the mailer in FY2021 increased by almost 8%. The full report conducted in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 can be found here. This evaluation will be completed again by October 2024.

This safety outreach project is being conducted by researchers in the Center for Transportation Safety (CTS) within the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI).

TTI is a multi-faceted transportation research agency under the Texas A&M University System.  Established in 1950, TTI is charged with studying and providing solutions in all areas of transportation – including mobility, safety, economics, freight movement, human and behavioral studies, infrastructure, security, environment, planning and operations, connected transportation, policy and workforce development.  To learn more about TTI.

CTS was established by the Texas Legislature in 2001. CTS’ work is focused on developing safer roadways, safer drivers, and addressing the needs of high-risk groups. For more information about CTS.

Motorcycle riders can’t control what other drivers do on the road. But they can control their level of riding knowledge and skills. The postcard is part of a motorcycle safety project that urges riders to “take control” by completing motorcycle safety training and getting licensed.

Visit the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) website to find a motorcycle safety training program near you. Enroll in a course. Get trained. Get licensed. Then, enjoy your ride! You can also find a list of programs here.

You can find more information about motorcycling in Texas here. Click here to find a list of motorcycle safety training programs in Texas.

Texas Statute §521.148 addresses the application for a Class M license to operate a motorcycle. To obtain your license, the law requires riders to provide proof of successful completion of an approved motorcycle operator training course before receiving their Class M.

In the 2018-2019 Sunset Staff Report regarding the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS), the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission recommended the transfer of the Motorcycle Operator Training and Safety Program to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). This transfer was made on September 1, 2020, with the passage of Senate Bill 616 from the 86th Legislature.

Through a partnership with Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV).

Your information has not and will not be given, sold, or shared with anyone.

Please reach out to us at [email protected].

This project is funded by a Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) traffic safety grant.

The project started in late 2018. In 2019, the Unlicensed to Ride safety project surveyed almost 750 motorcycle riders to determine what would influence unlicensed riders to get trained and get licensed. Among all riders, the most common survey response was for the State to develop an education campaign to remind riders of the requirement and how to get a Class M.

At the same time, the project reached out to other states to identify successful motorcycle rider training and licensing initiatives that had the potential to be replicated in Texas. Through this process, it was identified that Michigan had a similar unlicensed rider population and had created the Shadow Rider project back in 2013. By 2018, Michigan had been able to demonstrate a 24% reduction in the number of unendorsed riders.

 You can read more about the 2019 survey efforts here.

This website will be updated to include metrics about the postcard mailout and future efforts, as available. 

If funding continues to be secured, the project will send out another round of mailers to continue to remind riders of the importance of motorcycle safety training and riding responsibly. In addition, the project will sponsor at least 50 riders through motorcycle safety training. Ideally, this will include sponsoring 25 new riders through the Basic Rider Course (BRC) and 25 experienced riders through intermediate or advanced training.

Yes! Several researchers involved with this project ride motorcycles. And those who don’t have friends and family who ride.

Consider joining the Texas Motorcycle Safety Coalition (TMSC). The TMSC is a statewide coalition comprised of riders, coaches, instructors, dealerships, and others who are passionate about motorcycle safety and riding in Texas! The TMSC meets quarterly each year to discuss opportunities to increase safe riding in the state.