Motorcycle safety is your responsibility. That’s true whether your ride of choice is a Harley, a Prius, an F-150, an 18-wheeler, or anything in between. Especially in Texas, which holds the distinction of having the 2nd-highest number of bikers in the country, it’s imperative that all drivers remain aware of their surroundings and keep an eye out for motorcycles, which are smaller than other vehicles and offer little protection for their riders.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 501 people on motorcycles were killed in the state in 2017. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in an accident than people in other types of vehicles. And that’s not even counting the thousands of motorcyclists who are injured every year. Because of their size, motorcycles may not be noticed by other drivers as they change lanes or otherwise maneuver on the road. And when a collision occurs, it’s invariably bad news for the motorcycle, its operator, and its passengers.
How to Stay Safe on Texas Roads
We know you’re a responsible motorcycle owner. Your bike breezes through its annual inspection. You have a valid license and a full understanding of Texas road rules pertaining to motorcycles. You make sure all of your passengers under the age of 21 wear helmets. But you may want to consider going beyond the letter of the law when it comes to safety.
- If you are over 21 and have completed an approved Motorcycle Operator Training Course or are covered with at least $10,000 in medical insurance, you are not required to wear a helmet in Texas. But it’s a good idea to do so anyway — and to require that your passengers do the same.
- If you are a newbie rider, don’t dart out into traffic right away. Practice riding your bike in a controlled area, and make sure you understand how to manage the vehicle in a variety of road conditions.
- Give your motorcycle a quick check before each ride. Make sure the tires are sound and properly inflated, brakes and lights are working, and fluid levels are good. If you are carrying a load, make sure it’s balanced and secure on the bike.
- Make sure your passengers are dressed appropriately and know how to sit properly on your bike. They should have a firm hold on you and lean with you on curves.
Even if you never intend to drive or ride on a motorcycle, you can do your part to keep bikers safe on Texas roads.
- Be vigilant about checking your blind spots. Motorcycles are small and may not be seen with just a quick glance in the mirror.
- Keep a safe distance and drive slowly behind motorcycles. Rear-end a car and you’ll likely have a fender bender. Rear-end a motorcycle and you may have a deadly accident.
- Use your turn signals, and be especially careful to watch for motorcycles when turning left.
- Minimize your use of high beams, which can be especially distracting to motorcyclists.
Motorcyclists deserve to ride safely on Texas roads. If you are a biker or the family member of one who’s been hurt in an accident, call the Austin motorcycle accident attorneys at the Evans & Herlihy Law Firm for a free consultation.