Severe motorcycle accidents are an unfortunate reality for many motorcyclists on U.S. roads. Due to the particularly vulnerable state motorcyclists face with limited protection, even for the most seasoned motorcycle rider, the risk of injury after impact with a vehicle is exceedingly high. Even with less traffic on U.S. roads during the pandemic and a two percent decrease in overall motorcycle accidents last year, Texas saw a 17 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Why are motorcycle deaths increasing in our state despite the decrease in vehicles on the road? What can be done to help this growing problem and to keep Texas riders safe? Read below for the common factors that contribute to a motorcycle accident and safety tips that will help prevent these devastating crashes from happening in the first place.
Common Factors That Cause Motorcycle Accidents:
- Inattention or negligence from other motorists on the road. Motorcycles can be difficult for other drivers to see on the road due to their size. If a driver fails to pay attention to his or her surroundings while driving, a motorcyclist can easily be missed and possibly hit.
- Failing to notice motorcycles at intersections. Most drivers can be quick to make turns at intersections. Whether they are rushing to beat a traffic light or are simply in a hurry to get somewhere, it is all too common for drivers to fail to notice oncoming motorcyclists at an intersection.
- Driving under the influence. Driving while impaired on Texas roads heavily increases the likelihood of any accident. Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to intoxicated drivers because they can be difficult to see and are not as protected as those driving or riding in passenger vehicles on the road.
- Motorists driving while distracted. Drivers are more likely to completely miss seeing a nearby motorcyclist if they are texting, talking on the phone, or engaging in any other distracted driving behaviors.
- Motorists driving too close to motorcycles. Motorcyclists have a much shorter stopping distance compared to traditional vehicles, increasing the likelihood of being rear-ended by drivers tailgating to trailing too close behind them.
- Motorcycle defects. Even the slightest malfunction or defect within a motorcycle component part can cause an accident and lead to catastrophic injuries for motorcyclists and surrounding drivers.
- Hazards on the road. Debris, potholes, and road obstructions pose major threats to motorcyclists and are unfortunately a key factor in contributing to motorcycle accidents and injuries.
Unfortunately, the common trend among these causes of motorcycle accidents is the negligent actions of nearby motorists. This means motorcyclists must be extra vigilant every time they travel from one place to another on their motorcycle. In an effort to curb the increasing numbers of motorcyclist fatalities, organizations like TxDOT have ramped up safety campaigns such as “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” and “#EndTheStreakTX” to raise awareness and to encourage drivers to make safe choices and be aware of their surroundings on Texas roads. But is it enough?
While the prevalence of motorcycle accidents in Texas is a scary reality, there are ways in which drivers and motorcyclists can work together to prevent crashes and injuries. Follow the suggested safety tips below to help keep drivers, motorcycle riders, and passengers safe.
Safety Tips to Prevent Motorcycle Accidents:
- Always look twice when changing lanes. Drivers should always double check their mirrors and blind spots and use their turn signals before changing lanes.
- Slow down and obey speed limits. Speed limits are put into place to keep everyone safe. Both motorcyclists and drivers should travel at the suggested speed at all times.
- Give motorcyclists space. Drivers should avoid tailgating or driving too close to motorcycles in case there is a sudden stop or need to slow down. If passing a motorcycle, a truck driver or other passenger vehicle driver should leave plenty of space between their vehicle and a motorcyclist to ensure everyone’s safety.
- Pay extra attention while at intersections. Too many motorcycle accidents happen at intersections due to drivers completely failing to notice nearby motorcyclists. Always keep an eye out.
- Provide space during a left turn. Left turns can be dangerous for those riding a motorcycle. When possible, let the motorcyclist pass first and avoid turning in front of them at stop signs and intersections.
- Drive with vigilance and full attention. Even the slightest distraction can cause the most devastating roadway accident. All motorists should keep their eyes on the road and should be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
With their severe nature, motorcycle accidents can be traumatizing for all parties involved. Injuries sustained in these types of motor vehicle accidents can last a lifetime, as some of the most common injuries include broken bones, skull fractures, spinal cord injuries, and brain trauma. This means the physical and financial recovery from motorcycle accidents can be a huge burden on victims and their loved ones.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a vehicle-motorcycle crash, it is important to get help so the negligent party can be held responsible. Get the help and financial compensation you deserve after a motorcycle accident by contacting J.D. Silva & Associates today to discuss your options. We know how distressing an accident like this can be, and we want to help.