Motorcyclists are drawn to the open road and the freeing feeling riding a motorcycle can provide; however, motorcycle accidents are particularly deadly, with 5,127 motorcyclists dying in fatal accidents in 2017 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That same year, it was estimated riders were 27 times more likely than those driving or riding in passenger vehicles to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled.
Operating a motorcycle is much different than driving a passenger vehicle, and motorcyclists are much more vulnerable to hazardous weather and road conditions than drivers in closed off vehicles. With this in mind, understanding the common causes of motorcycle accidents can help prevent them in the future.
Why Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
As with accidents involving passenger vehicles, accidents with motorcycles can happen at any time for a variety of different reasons. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
In certain states, motorcyclists are allowed to lane split or drive in between vehicles in their respective lanes. This practice is illegal in Texas, however, and can result in a $175 fine. Despite being illegal, many Texas motorcyclists engage in lane splitting, putting bikers in very close proximity to cars and reducing the amount of time in which other drivers have to react if a driving oversight is made.
Cars making left-hand turns account for a considerable portion of motorcycle crashes every year. When passenger vehicles don’t adequately yield a left turn to passing motorcycle drivers or when a motorcyclist tries to pass a car waiting to make a left turn.
Almost 75% of motorcycle crashes are head-on collisions, which are typically caused by distracted drivers not paying attention on a two-lane highway, drivers trying to race past traffic signals before they change, or those driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Collisions between objects
When an accident involving a motorcycle wedges the bike and its rider between another car, barrier, or another object on the road, the odds of a fatal crash are significantly higher.
Poor weather conditions
Because riders are exposed to the elements when riding, rain, snow, and even high winds can potentially cause an accident. Inclement weather can cause bikes to swerve and veer into traffic, or result in motorcyclists losing control of their motorcycles altogether.
While all traffic laws should be followed, speeding happens extremely frequently. According to NHTSA, in 2018, speeding caused 9,000 driver deaths. Driving at high speeds can cause motorcyclists to lose control over their bikes, can increase the stopping distance after a rider perceives danger, and can increase the severity of the crash.
Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries in Texas
In 2018 in Texas, 417 motorcycle riders lost their lives and another 920 were seriously injured in roadway accidents, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Because motorcycles offer very little protection, when a collision occurs it can cause more severe, life-threatening injuries than an accident involving a passenger vehicle.
When a motorcycle accident occurs, victims can suffer a wide range of different injuries. More often than not, motorcycle riders and/or passengers can experience road rash or abrasions from contact with the road. Though injuries to the lower portions of the body are more common due to the weight of the bike, head injuries are also a major concern, especially for those who do not wear a helmet. Some of the most common motorcycle injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Skull fracture
- Traumatic brain injury or TBI
- Severe scrapes due to contact with asphalt
- Spinal cord injury
- Fractured vertebrae
- Road rash
Houston Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Ramsey Law Group has successfully handled motorcycle accident cases for over 20 years. Our lawyers are well versed in assisting those injured in motorcycle accidents navigate the recovery process. If you or someone you know was injured while riding a motorcycle, contact Ramsey Law Group today to discuss your case.