As the temperature rises and summer begins, many Texans will take advantage of the weather by traveling by motorcycle during the warmest months of the year. This popular mode of transportation is not without risks, however, as the number of people killed in motorcycle accidents has been on the rise across the country over the past few decades.
While Texas has not been immune to this overall trend, there were fewer motorcycle deaths in the state last year than the year prior. In total, 2012 saw 6 percent fewer motorcycle fatalities than 2011 - 460 people lost their lives in motorcycle crashes in Texas last year.
Nevertheless, since 2004, the overall number of motorcycle fatalities has risen in Texas by 54 percent. This increase is particularly notable as the number of fatalities caused by other types of traffic accidents actually fell during the same period.
Consequently, the Texas Department of Transportation has been focused on finding ways to decrease the number of motorcycle fatalities in the state. A primary concern at TxDOT is increasing awareness of motorcyclists on the road. According to a study conducted by Texas A&M University's Transportation Institute, over 50 percent of the motorcycle accidents in Texas are caused by inattentive motorists who do not notice the motorcyclist on the road.
Motorcyclists in Texas should take precautions on the road
While other motorists are often to blame for motorcycle accidents in Texas, motorcyclists can take certain precautions to protect themselves when riding. Putting safeguards in place is particularly important considering the large number of motorcycle collisions that result in the motorcyclist sustaining deadly or severe personal injuries. In fact, approximately 90 percent of all motorcycle accidents lead to either an injury or fatality.
One of the most important steps a motorcyclist in Texas can take is to always wear a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation. Although Texas law does not require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, doing so can prevent serious injuries and even death.
In addition, motorcyclists should wear clothing that provides some protection from injury should a collision occur. When motorcyclists are riding at night, ensuring their clothing has reflective panels will help guarantee that other motorists see them on the road. Also, as is the case with motorists of any type, motorcyclists should never ride after drinking alcohol or consuming controlled substances.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney about your rights to recover damages following the collision is a wise step.