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In the 1970s, prior to a state program, motorcycle operator training in Texas started in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, long before motorcycle safety became a nationally or statewide organized effort. In 1973, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) was established and a number of Texas motorcyclists assisted the MSF at Texas A & M University in College Station in developing a curriculum and instructional material for training beginning riders. When a MSF curriculum became available, volunteer instructors were used to conduct training at several locations.

In 1983 the Motorcycle Operator Training Section was created and inherited existing training locations. Six years later it was renamed the Motorcycle Safety Bureau and given the additional responsibility of coordinating an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Training Program. The DPS was then allowed to contract with other than educational entities for program sponsorship. In 1998, DPS renamed the Motorcycle Safety Bureau as the Motorcycle/ATV Safety Unit (MSU) and assigned the unit to administer the Motorcycle Operator Training and Safety Program and the All-Terrain Vehicle Operator Education and Certification Program.

The MSU is also responsible for Motorcycle Safety Instructor training and approval and has over 500 Instructors in Texas.

The MSU currently provides motorcycle operator training in 80 cities at over 200 locations.