Brian White | July 23, 2020 | Motorcycle Accidents
Houston was one of the nine cities with the highest number of motorcycle fatalities in 2019. Last year, 412 motorcyclists lost their lives on Texas roads. Another 1,800 riders were seriously injured in motorcycle accidents.
Encouraging Drivers to Look Twice for Motorcycles
July 2020 is the month for the Texas Department of Transportation’s annual “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign. The campaign encourages motorists to learn more about the risks that motorcycles face when they ride. Motorcyclists were 27 times more likely to die in motor vehicle accidents than passenger car occupants in 2017.
According to the TxDOT, motorists do not “see” motorcycles. Also, the size of a motorcycle can make it appear as if it is further away, so drivers may not judge speed and distance correctly. Traffic congestion can also make it more difficult to “see” a motorcycle.
A common cause of motorcycle accidents is failing to yield the right of way. About 30 percent of the motorcycle crashes in Texas last year happened at intersections. The fact that a motorist does not “see” a motorcycle approaching or misjudges the distance and speed could be one explanation for the high number of intersection-related motorcycle accidents.
Other causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Poor weather conditions
- Inexperienced riders and drivers
- Road conditions
Unfortunately, motorcycles do not offer a rider very much protection from injuries in a collision. The rider can be thrown from the motorcycle or crushed between the motorcycle and another vehicle or object. Therefore, motorcyclists have a very high risk of sustaining catastrophic and life-threatening injuries in a motorcycle accident.
Motorcycle Crashes Cause Permanent Disabilities and Traumatic Injuries
It is common for a motorcyclist to suffer traumatic injuries in a crash. Wearing a motorcycle helmet, gloves, boots, and motorcycle safety apparel can help reduce the severity of the injuries in an accident. However, a rider may still suffer severe injuries when the motorcycle is hit by another vehicle or crashes into another object.
Common motorcycle injuries in Houston include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Lacerations and road rash
- Back and shoulder injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Scaring and facial injuries
- Crushing and chest injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Skull fractures
Motorcyclists injured in an accident caused by another person might be entitled to compensation for the damage. Damages in a motorcycle accident claim include financial losses such as lost wages and medical bills. Damages also include pain and suffering, permanent disabilities, and emotional trauma.
Recovering Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Filing a motorcycle accident claim without an attorney can be challenging. Many insurance companies blame the rider for the cause of the accident. Under the state’s comparative fault laws, a rider cannot recover any money for an accident claim if the rider is 51 percent or more at fault for the cause of the crash.
Even if the insurance company cannot prove you caused the accident, if it can convince a jury you are partially to blame, your compensation is reduced by your level of fault for the motorcycle crash. Talking to a motorcycle accident lawyer about your claim may be in your best interests.
How to Prevent a Motorcycle Crash in Houston
Because other drivers may not be watching for you, you need to watch for them. You might not be able to prevent all motorcycle crashes, but you can take steps to reduce the risk of a motorcycle crash.
The TxDOT offers several safety tips for motorcyclists and other drivers:
- Whenever you are making a left-hand turn, take extra care to check for oncoming traffic. If a motorcycle is approaching, letting the motorcycle pass before making the left turn is the safest option.
- Because many motorcycle accidents occur at intersections, pay more attention to the road and other vehicles as you approach and pass through an intersection.
- Avoid all distractions while driving. Distracted driving is a common cause of motorcycle accidents.
- When passing a motorcycle, make sure that you give the motorcyclist plenty of room.
- Maintain safe distances when following another vehicle.
- Always drive at a safe speed limit. The posted speed limits are for optimal conditions. In poor weather conditions or other hazardous conditions, reduce speed.
- Always check blind spots and look twice before changing lanes or merging into another lane.
Motorcyclists can reduce the risk of serious injury by wearing protective gear, including a helmet, each time they ride. Choosing a brightly colored motorcycle, helmet, and motorcycle clothing can help increase visibility to other drivers. Never operate a motorcycle or other motor vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs.