There are over 350,000 motorcycles registered in Texas. And even though motorcycles only make up 2% of all vehicles in Texas, motorcyclists are involved in 14% of all fatal accidents. Knowing and following safety precautions can help you prevent or mitigate injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.
If you or a loved one ride motorcycles, keep the following accident prevention tips in mind.
Factors That Play a Role in Motorcycle Accidents
A number of factors are connected to an increased risk of an accident while on a motorcycle.
A leading risk factor for motorcycle accidents is poor driver behavior. Most two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle are caused by inattentive car drivers at intersections or during lane changes. Standard vehicle drivers who speed, use their phone, or perform any other action that reduces their attention to the road and reaction times puts motorcyclists at a greater risk of being involved and injured in an accident.
And while car drivers are largely responsible for accidents involving cars and motorcycles, it’s worth noting that a significant percentage of motorcycle accidents involve only motorcyclists. Motorcyclists increase their chances of getting into an accident by speeding, not having the correct license, or not following the rules of the road.
Driver intoxication also increases a motorcyclist’s risk of having an accident. Of the 5,438 impaired driving accidents involving motorcycles in Texas between 2010-2017, 83% of the motorcyclists involved in these crashes were impaired. When under the influence, drivers have decreased vision, concentration, and coordination. These effects are a recipe for disaster when combined with a motor vehicle.
Not only does intoxication increase a motorcyclist’s risk of getting into an accident, but it also increases the chance that injuries sustained from that accident will be serious or fatal. 55% of impaired accidents involving motorcycles resulted in a fatal or serious injury.
Environmental conditions also play a role in increasing the risk of accidents for motorcyclists. Conditions contributing to motorcycle crash risk include:
- Weather – While most motorcycle rides are taken on days with fair weather, motorcyclists who drive in poor weather or on wet roads increase their risk of being involved in an accident.
- Road surface conditions – Potholes, standing water, and road debris can cause motorcyclists to lose control or make unsafe evasive maneuvers, resulting in accidents.
- Light conditions – Both dark roads with and without artificial lighting are attributed to increased risks for accidents and fatal or serious injuries resulting from those crashes.
Motorcycle Injury Prevention Tips
While being aware of potential accident risk factors and practicing safe driving can help you avoid most crashes, accidents still happen. Compared to standard motorists, motorcyclists are significantly more likely to be injured in an accident. Protect yourself by following these motorcycle injury prevention tips.
Wear a Helmet
Texas law requires that most people wear a helmet unless they are over 21 and meet certain requirements. Regardless, you should wear a helmet. Helmets reduce the chances of a serious head injury and fatality substantially.
Find a helmet that is approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and make sure it fits your head. Riding with a helmet can take a little getting used to. For example, you might need to turn your head more to see to your left and right. But these small adjustments are worth it for the safety that a helmet provides.
Increase Your Visibility
There is a simple reason for why some motorists crash into motorcycles or pull directly in front of them — the driver cannot see them.
One reason they cannot see bikers is that they are not looking for them. Motorcycles often blend in with the road or other vehicles, so it’s important to make yourself as visible as possible. You can easily increase your visibility in three ways:
- Use your lights
- Wear bright or reflective clothing
- Choose a bright paint color for your motorcycle
Brush Up on Your Skills
Both novice and experienced riders can take a skills course to improve their ability to maneuver and avoid accidents.
Seek out classes by doing an online search. A class should charge a reasonable fee and include practice out on the road. You don’t want to learn about safety by simply sitting at a desk or in front of a computer and reading a PowerPoint presentation.
Get Your Bike Serviced
If you haven’t ridden in a while, then you should make sure that your bike is in good working order before heading out for your first ride. Take your bike to a mechanic or to a friend who is familiar with how motorcycles operate and remember that Texas law requires the following equipment:
- Head, tail, stop, and license plate lamps
- Rear red reflector
- Wheel assembly
- Exhaust system
- Steering system
Steps to Take if You Get into a Motorcycle Accident
If you’re a motorcyclist, it’s important to know what actions to take should you be involved in an accident. Being adequately prepared will ensure that critical information or steps are not overlooked. Not only will this make navigating insurance claims easier, but also prevent you from being taken advantage of.
If you get into a motorcycle accident, follow these steps.
- Check for injuries – The first step you should take if you get into an accident is to check yourself and others involved for injuries. Assessing for all parties for injuries will help those injured get the care they need the fastest.
- Call the police – After checking for injuries, you should call the police. The responding officer will create a police report that may be required by your insurance company.
- Take photos of the damage – Documenting the damage done to you or your motorcycle can be crucial for determining fault and making sure you get the compensation you’re entitled to. A lot might be happening at the moment, but be sure to take pictures of everything.
- Collect the other driver’s information – Once you’ve documented the damage, you’ll want to collect the information of any other drivers involved. You will need this information to file an insurance claim.
- Call Your Insurance Company – After collecting the other drivers’ information, it’s time to call your insurance company and file a claim. Your insurance agent will record your version of the event and the insurance information of the other parties involved.
- Contact a Lawyer – Once you’ve completed the above steps, get in contact with a personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer will help you navigate insurance claims and make sure you’re appropriately compensated.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident, DC Law can Help You Get Justice
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact DC Law. Our attorneys are experienced in litigation involving motorcycle accidents and committed to helping our clients maximize their compensation and get the justice they deserve.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.