Hundreds of motorcyclists are killed every year in Texas, and that number is tragically rising. Because motorcyclists have very little protection other than a helmet (if even wearing one) motorcycle riders have a disproportionally higher fatality rate than drivers of other motor vehicles. A motorcycle rider is 25 times more likely to die in an accident than other vehicle drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHSTA data shows that nearly 90 percent of motorcycle riders become injured or die when involved in a motorcycle accident.
Bike riders can reduce their risk of injury by driving defensively and by wearing protective clothing and equipment. Almost half of all Texas motorcyclist fatalities occur to riders who aren’t wearing a helmet, in spite of state law that mandates bikers to wear one. Still, drivers in larger vehicles also can do their part to ensure biker safety, which is one reason why the Texas Department of Transportation initiated its “Share the Road” campaign this month aimed at curbing motorcycle traffic fatalities.
“Seeing them is saving them,” billboards and other ads proclaim. Radio and television spots exhort drivers to share the road, offering advice such as to check blind spots twice before changing lanes and to give bikers plenty of space to adjust to obstacles that would not hinder “regular” vehicles but could be deadly for people on motorcycles. Because a motorcyclist’s riding patterns and reactions are different from drivers in cars and trucks, keeping a full lane of travel space between a large vehicle and a motorcycle can save lives.
The number of registered motorcycles in Texas has more than doubled in recent years, going from 180,345 in 2000 to 419,722 in 2010. With more motorcycles on the road, everyone is responsible for helping keep bikers safe. Unfortunately, biker fatalities have also doubled, going from 196 in 2000 to 470 in 2011.
If you have been injured in a bike accident, or a loved one has been killed, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options for potential compensation.