Report: Texas is third in the U.S. for motorcyclist fatalities

Texas is the third highest state in the country for fatal motorcycle crashes. Motorcyclists face many dangers on the road, particularly from other drivers.

The summer and fall months are the best time of the year for many Texans, especially motorcycle enthusiasts. To bikers, there is nothing like the feel of freedom and the lure of the open road. However, biking does not come without risks, as riders are well aware. Not only do motorcyclists have to contend with road hazards and adverse weather conditions threatening to bring them down, they also need to be aware that other drivers frequently cause serious motorcycle crashes.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 450 motorcyclists were killed in accidents in Texas in 2014. Out of these, only 234 riders had been wearing helmets.

A serious state statistic

If this fatality number seems disturbingly high, it's because it is. 12 News reports that Texas ranks third in the country for deadly motorcycle collisions. In 2015, more than 1,800 bikers were seriously injured in crashes. There is only so much a biker can do to increase his or her safety in collisions with motor vehicles. Leather gear, gloves and helmets may reduce the risk of injury but will not completely eliminate it. As the above statistics show, wearing a helmet is not necessarily a guarantee of safety.

Common dangers for bikers

What are some of the most common traffic hazards that motorcyclists face? According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a large number of accidents occur when a driver is turning left into traffic in front of a bike, whether the biker is going straight, passing or overtaking the other car. This suggests that drivers often fail to notice that a motorcycle is nearby.

Drivers should get in the habit of always watching for motorcycles sharing the road. It is easy to overlook a small, fast motorcycle behind the car or in the next lane over. Because of this, drivers should remember to do the following:

  • Check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or turning.
  • Look carefully before turning onto a road from an adjacent street or driveway.
  • Understand that motorcycles need a greater following distance, because they can stop quickly.
  • Use turn signals before making any kind of traffic change.
  • Know that motorcyclists can easily lose control in a dangerous situation.

Texas motorcyclists over the age of 20 are not required to wear a helmet, according to Consumer Reports. However, helmet or not, most of the responsibility for keeping bikers safe falls to other drivers. If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle crash caused by someone else, you may need to contact an experienced Austin personal injury attorney to discuss your options.