request a free consultation

The Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Motorcycles are much more than a means of conveyance for many Americans. Motorcycling is a hobby enjoyed all over the country, and while it can be extremely fun to feel the wind as you ride, riders must be aware of the inherent dangers of riding motorcycles. Unlike typical passenger vehicles, motorcycles afford their riders with very little protection from impacts and other external forces. Motorcycle riders must use extra caution on the road and keep a few best practices in mind.

Motorcycle accidents happen for a variety of reasons, but one of the main contributing factors to any type of accident is the size of most motorcycles. They are smaller and narrower than other vehicles and can easily slip through other driver’s blind spots. About 56% of all motorcycle accident deaths result from motorcycles colliding with larger vehicles, and this can occur in countless possible scenarios. However, some situations are far more dangerous than others. Consider the following tips and scenarios for staying safe while riding your motorcycle.

Head-On Collisions

One of the most fatal types of accidents is when a motorcyclist hits another vehicle head-on. Most head-on collisions involving motorcycles and larger vehicles happen when the car strikes the motorcycle from the front. These crashes are usually fatal for the motorcyclist.

Left-Turning Cars

Statistically, the most dangerous situations for motorcycles on the road are when larger vehicles make left-hand turns. Cars turning left typically strike motorcyclists when the motorcycle is continuing straight through the intersection as the car turns or when the motorcyclist attempts to pass or overtake a left-turning car. These situations are also dangerous for other cars, but motorcycles are especially vulnerable due to their smaller size and because they are less visible.

Lane Splitting

Some motorcyclists engage in a practice called lane splitting – when a motorcyclist maneuvers between two lanes of slower or stopped traffic. Some states do not have any laws barring the practice, so if a lane splitting accident occurs, the state’s laws will come into play in a subsequent lawsuit.

Road Hazards

Motorcycles typically have high acceleration and a fair range of maneuverability, but they can’t always react fast enough to avoid serious hazards on the road. Additionally, while a car may be able to run over a piece of road debris and barely feel the bump, the same piece of debris could spell doom for a motorcyclist. Motorcyclists must stay focused on the road ahead and give themselves an appropriate window to maneuver.

The Need for Speed

Motorcycles, especially sport and high-performance bikes, may inherently tempt their owners to push them to their limits and drive at excessive speeds. Some super-sport class motorcycles can easily reach speeds of 160 mph or more. The fatality rate for motorcycle accidents involving high-performance bikes is about four times the rate of conventional motorcycles. Owners of such bikes should use caution and obey the rules of the road.

Riding Under the Influence

Just like any other vehicle, operating a motorcycle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is incredibly dangerous and irresponsible. Alcohol is a factor in about half of all motorcycle accidents involving a single bike.

Helmet Laws

Finally, one of the best things any motorcyclist can do to stay safer on the road is to wear a Department of Transportation-approved helmet. While some states do not have helmet laws in place, it’s important to consider that helmets reduce the likelihood of death or traumatic brain injury in an accident. Even if you are an inexperienced rider living in a state without helmet laws, opting to wear one might save your life.

Motorcycle accidents lead to various serious or life-threatening injuries. Injured motorcycles should know their rights and their options for legal action should another driver cause an accident. If you suffer injuries and damages from a motorcycle accident, reach out to a reputable personal injury lawyer to discuss your options.

Posted by admin at 5:03 pm

What Are the Motorcycle Laws Every Texan Should Know?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Motorcycles are more than just a mode of transportation – they are a hobby and pastime for many Texans. Although motorcycles are a fun way to get around and enjoy pleasant weather on the road, it’s vital for Texans to understand state motorcycle laws. Knowing these laws not only keeps riders safer on the road, but also helps ensure riders are compliant and needn’t worry about fines or legal problems due to parking or mechanical issues.

Motorcycles must have the same basic mechanical features as other motor vehicles – brakes, reflectors, head and taillights, and the other typical parts of a vehicle. Just like passenger cars, motorcycles must be registered and riders must obtain the proper motorcycle license. Some states place restrictions on exhaust and muffler decibels for sound concerns, but Texas has no such laws.

Parking

Just like passenger cars, motorcycle riders may only park their bikes in disabled parking spaces if they have the proper authorization and affix a disabled license plate or windshield placard to the bike. Additionally, a disabled license plate or windshield placard may not be given or lent to other motorists.

Some motorcycle riders believe that because their bikes are smaller than typical passenger cars, they may park in the striped areas near handicap parking spaces or other similar “Do Not Stop” areas of pavement. This is against the law. Motorcycles may not be parked on sidewalks, either.

Helmet Laws

In Texas, helmets are required for any rider under the age of 21. Riders over the age of 21 may forego wearing a helmet if they obtain the proper certification or insurance coverage. Such riders must either complete a Department of Motor Vehicles-approved Motorcycle Operating Training Course or obtain at least $10,000 in medical insurance. As with automobile insurance, these riders must keep a copy of their medical insurance card on their person while riding or stowed in the bike. However, Texas police are not permitted to stop or detain any rider solely to determine whether the rider has completed a training course or possesses medical insurance coverage.

Although the decision to wear a helmet is at the rider’s discretion if over the age of 21, helmets have been proven to save lives. Consider wearing a Department of Transportation-approved helmet while riding.

Passengers

In Texas, no one under the age of five years may ride as a passenger on a motorcycle. Any passengers over the age of five and under 21 years old must wear a helmet. Passengers over the age of 21 may opt to ride without a helmet if the driver has the met the proper requirements. Additionally, the motorcycle must have a permanent passenger seat.

Lane Splitting

Many motorcyclists engage in a practice known as “lane splitting,” which is when a motorcyclist passes other vehicles by traversing between lanes of traffic. Some decry this practice as dangerous, and it can be in certain situations – specifically, when riders are splitting a lane with a larger vehicle or at high speeds. Texas does not prohibit lane splitting, but if you choose to split a lane with another motorcyclist, do so safely and at a reasonable speed.

Motorcycles are fantastic fun, but they are also inherently more dangerous than other motor vehicles because riders are almost entirely exposed. Passenger cars shield their drivers much more effectively than motorcycles. Therefore, if you ride a motorcycle in Texas, exercise more caution on the road than you might when driving a regular motor vehicle. Following the rules of the road and keeping these Texas laws in mind will reduce your risk of serious injury.

Posted by admin at 11:50 pm