Motorcycles are incredibly popular in Texas. We enjoy excellent weather throughout the year, giving riders plenty of time to enjoy their hobby. Motorcycles are also popular with commuters as they save on fuel costs. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are all too common. Because a motorcycle does not offer the rider the same protective qualities as a car or other vehicle, motorcycle accidents often result in injury to the rider. Additionally, fatality rates in motorcycle accidents are significantly higher than in car accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4985 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2018. While this represents a drop in fatalities, the NHTSA still notes that motorcyclists are still overrepresented in traffic accident fatalities.
Common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Alcohol or drug use
- Bad weather
- Poor road conditions
Injuries associated with motorcycle accidents are also more likely to be serious. Riders are often thrown from their motorcycles and experience serious injury as a result. Common injuries associated with motorcycle accidents include burns, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, fractures, and lacerations.
One of the most common types of motorcycle accidents is when a rider or other vehicle is making a left turn. Too often, a driver will neglect to look out for a motorcyclist. When a driver fails to see a motorcycle rider, accidents happen. These accidents can be incredibly serious, even when they occur at low speeds. Rear-end accidents, head-on collisions, and accidents that result from lane-splitting are also very common.
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Avoiding Accidents & Injury
As a motorcyclist, safety should be your top priority. Safe riding practices are the best way for you to avoid accidents and protect yourself from injury. Additionally, it’s important to understand that as a motorcyclist, you face unique safety challenges when on the road, and riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than driving a car.
Below we have provided some helpful tips for avoiding motorcycle accidents.
Get Licensed & Learn Texas Motorcycle Laws
If you want to ride a motorcycle in Texas, you need to be properly licensed. You must obtain both a regular driver’s license and a Class M motorcycle license. To get your Class M license, you must complete a motorcycle safety course approved by the state. Once you have received your certificate of completion, you can apply for your license. If you already have a valid motorcycle license from another state, the motorcycle safety course requirement will be waived.
To learn more about getting a motorcycle license in Texas, review the DPS site here.
In addition to being properly licensed and going through the required motorcycle safety course, you should also stay up to date with Texas motorcycle laws. Understanding motorcycle laws can help you stay safe on the road and help you avoid citations and accidents. You can review current motorcycle laws in the free, online Motorcycle Operator Training Manual provided by the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation.
Wear Appropriate Safety Gear
If you are going to ride a motorcycle, you should always wear a helmet. According to Texas law, if you are 21 or older and carry the appropriate insurance coverage, you are not required to wear a helmet. However, your helmet is your first line of defense against head injuries in an accident. A full-face helmet is best.
You should also wear durable clothing that covers your arms and legs while riding. Abrasions and “road rash” are common injuries sustained by motorcycle riders, and heavy, protective clothing can help you avoid these types of injuries. Leather jackets are popular with riders because they are heavy and durable while still being comfortable.
Do Not Drive Tired or Under the Influence
A large percentage of motorcycle accidents occur because the rider was under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. Even one drink can dull your reflexes and inhibit your ability to respond to road hazards and other problems. Similarly, being overly tired can lead to falling asleep while riding or slowed reaction times. If you have been drinking or feel too tired to ride, find another way to get home. Reach out to a friend or family member or use a cab or ride-sharing services like Lyft or Uber.
Similarly, avoid riding your motorcycle during bad weather. Heavy rain and winds can not only reduce your visibility but make you more unsteady on your bike. Additionally, bad weather can create hazardous road conditions. For example, high winds can blow branches and other objects into the road. If the weather is bad, leave the bike at home.
What to Do If You Are Injured in an Accident
Even with the best attention to safety, accidents still happen. If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident, you should reach out to an experienced attorney right away. A skilled lawyer can thoroughly investigate your case and help you get the compensation you need to get better. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for your immediate medical expenses, rehabilitation, and costs associated with long-term care or disability. You may also be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and lost earning potential.
To speak with a skilled attorney about your motorcycle injury case, reach out to us today.