Every day in Texas, at least one motorcyclist is killed and many others are seriously injured in crashes. There are many reasons for these deadly motorcycle accidents. Sometimes riders themselves are to blame. But it’s often drivers of other vehicles who are responsible. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, another vehicle is involved in over half of fatal motorcycle accidents.
The top 5 causes of motorcycle accidents that involve other vehicles are:
- Drivers turning left
- Drivers changing lanes
- Lane splitting.
How the Top Causes of Motorcycle Wrecks Happen
Now that we’ve answered the question of “what are the top causes of motorcycle wrecks,” let’s look at how they happen. Accidents between motorcycles and cars and other vehicles often happen because drivers don’t yield the right of way to motorcyclists.
Drivers Turning Left in Front of Motorcyclists
The most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 42% of fatal motorcycle wrecks involving another vehicle happened when the other vehicle was turning left. In left-turn accidents, drivers may misjudge distances between their cars and motorcycles. Sometimes drivers don’t even see bikes because of their smaller size. Usually motorcycles going straight through intersections are hit by cars or other vehicles turning left directly into their forward path.
Drivers Changing Lanes without Double Checking
It’s easy for motorcycles to be hidden in blind spots of other drivers. If drivers don’t carefully double check before changing lanes, disaster can occur. If drivers at least signal before moving over, motorcycles may be able to get out of the way even if the driver doesn’t see them. But sometimes careless drivers don’t take the time to signal. This leaves motorcyclists with no warning that vehicles are moving into their space, resulting in accidents.
Speeding by Other Drivers or Motorcyclists
Speeding drivers of cars and trucks put everyone on the roadway at higher risk. They can’t react as quickly if a motorcycle is in their path. They also are more likely to lose control at high speed. When another vehicle is driving at an excessive rate of speed, they can also misjudge how far away motorcycles are. The same goes for speeding by motorcyclists. Drivers of other cars can misjudge the distances of speeding motorcycles coming toward them. It’s crucial to prioritize road safety and to be aware of the potential legal recourse in case of accidents, with the assistance of knowledgeable truck accident attorneys.
Drivers Tailgating Motorcycles
In most crashes between cars and motorcycles, the motorcycle is hit head on or in the front. Deadly rear-end collisions do happen though. When other vehicles follow motorcycles too closely, they may misjudge how quickly motorcycles stop. Sometimes they may not even realize a motorcycle is slowing, because some motorcyclists downshift to slow down and their brake lights don’t show up.
Lane Splitting by Drivers
Lane splitting isn’t legal in Texas—not for motorcyclists or for other drivers. That doesn’t stop some drivers from trying to share lanes with motorcycles. A motorcycle may ride on one side of a lane to avoid oil in the middle, potholes, or debris and suddenly find a car crowding in the lane with them. This negligent driving behavior can lead to devastating results.
You May Be Able to Get Compensation for Your Accident
If you ride a motorcycle on Texas roadways, you’ve probably seen some of these dangerous drivers. You may have had to make defensive maneuvers to avoid crashes. Unfortunately, sometimes avoiding these situations is impossible and accidents happen in spite of motorcyclists’ best efforts to stay safe. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident or lost a loved one, you may be able to get compensation through a legal claim.
Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Claim
It’s smart to have an experienced motorcycle accident attorney help you in a legal claim. An attorney with experience handling motorcycle accident claims knows how to prove negligence by other drivers and has the negotiation skills necessary to take on insurers. And if your case goes to court because the insurance company won’t offer a fair settlement, you stand a better chance of a good outcome with a knowledgeable lawyer arguing on your behalf.
Damages you may be able to get in a motorcycle accident claim include:
- Compensation for doctor bills, hospital costs, and other medical expenses
- Reimbursement for your lost wages when you can’t go to work because of injuries
- Pain and suffering for physical pain and mental and emotional trauma.
If your spouse, child, or parent died in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to get wrongful death damages. Compensation could include medical costs, funeral, and burial expenses, lost income, loss of love and companionship, and other damages.
Here Are Some Additional Top Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
In addition to those already discussed, there are other top causes of motorcycle crashes. Here are some additional reasons for accidents:
- Drivers opening doors of parked cars without looking for oncoming traffic
- Drunk and drugged driving
- Drivers who are texting or otherwise distracted
- Inexperienced motorcycle riders or other drivers
- Poor road conditions and poorly designed roads
- Defective motorcycles or motorcycle parts.
What to Do When You’ve Been in a Motorcycle Accident
After crashes, it’s often assumed right from the beginning by insurance companies that motorcyclists are at fault. It isn’t fair, but that’s the stigma associated with riding a motorcycle. As a motorcyclist, you’ll need strong evidence to show that you were not to blame and that the other driver caused the accident. Following your accident:
- Get medical attention. Depending on how badly you’re injured, you may be taken by ambulance to the hospital. Even if your injuries don’t seem to be an emergency, see a doctor right away.
- Get statements or contact information from witnesses to the crash. Also, get a copy of the police report.
- Report the accident to your insurance company. Don’t speak or give a statement to the other driver’s insurer. Refer them to your attorney.
- Work with a skilled motorcycle accident attorney. An attorney who has successfully handled motorcycle accident cases knows how to take on insurers and insurance company lawyers.
Contact Our Houston Motorcycle Accident Attorneys for Help
The motorcycle accident lawyer at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law have helped many injured motorcyclists get compensation. Call our law firm today at (713) 973-8888 to schedule a free consultation.