Austin Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
In Texas, there are more than 448 thousand registered motorcycles.
To receive a motorcycle license, you must pass a motorcycle safety course, although that requirement can be waived for people transferring a valid motorcycle license from another state. You also have to pass a vision test and a driving test (although a few exceptions apply).
These laws are in place to ensure people are capable of operating a motorcycle in a safe, responsible manner. Yet in 2013, Texas had 487 fatal motorcycle crashes, accounting for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state.
Motorcycle operators are not necessarily at fault for all crashes they’re involved in, nor are all motorcycle crashes fatal. But crashes may be more likely to be fatal if a rider isn’t wearing a helmet or if the other vehicle is much larger than the motorcycle. In a motorcycle crash, unlike most car crashes, a vehicle will usually make contact with a motorcyclist’s body, which greatly increases the likelihood of serious injury.
Highway Hazards for Bikers
In April 2015, a tragic accident occurred about 150 miles north of Dallas. A group of 13 motorcyclists was traveling on U.S. Highway 81, just north of Comanche, Okla., when a pickup truck crossed the center line and crashed head-on into the riders. Several of the motorcyclists were seriously injured, and one of them died.
Large vehicles – especially commercial trucks over 10,000 pounds – pose a serious threat to motorcyclists. Riders should exercise caution when larger vehicles are nearby and understand that other drivers might not see them.
To increase visibility on the road, motorcyclists can wear bright colors, reflective gear, add auxiliary lights and avoid riding in other drivers’ blind spots.
Helmet Laws in Austin
Texas law requires riders age 20 and younger to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. Riders age 21 and older are not required to wear a helmet, provided they can show proof of a motorcycle health insurance plan.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2013, nationwide, helmets saved 1,630 saved lives and an estimated 715 riders would have survived, if they had been wearing helmets at the time of the vehicle crash.
Other Motorcycle Crash Factors
In Austin there were 14 fatal motorcycle crashes in 2012 – an increase of 56 percent from the previous year, according to the City of Austin 2012 Traffic Fatality Report. In six of those crashes, alcohol and/or drugs were found to be a factor.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation – a not-for-profit organization made up of motorcycle manufacturers – announced in January 2015 it would be researching factors that cause crashes and near-crashes. Working in conjunction with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the MSF will study crashes and near-crashes in a sample of riders between ages 21 and 80. Not only will the study consider blatant factors such as alcohol use, but it will also examine how riding experience and other less-obvious factors contribute to rider safety.
The MSF offers educational resources, such as operator guides and instructional videos, to further its objective of keeping motorcyclists safe.
Aftermath of Motorcycle Crashes
When you are a motorcyclist injured in a crash, you may require long-term medical care. Traumatic brain injuries, for example, are one of the most serious, debilitating consequences of motorcycle crashes; depending on the severity of the injury, people may need personalized in-home care for the rest of their lives. But even if your injuries are less serious, your medical costs can add up quickly.
Motorcycle Safety in Texas
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash, you may have options that will compensate you for medical costs, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
The Evans Law Firm has represented victims of motorcycle crashes and their families, so we understand the impact these accidents can have. Fill out our contact form to arrange a free consultation.