With roughly 8.5 million registered motorcycles traveling some 21 billion miles every year, there are plenty of chances for motorcycle accidents to occur. In places like Houston where motorcyclists can ride year-round, riders and “cage” drivers alike need to consistently respect each other’s space and respectfully share the road. While motorcycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers on the road, they can face much greater risks in the event of a collision.
Consider these statistics, published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
• Motorcycle riders are roughly six times as likely as car drivers to die in fatal accidents.
• There were nearly 5,000 fatal motorcycle accidents in 2012 (the latest year for which data is available). Over half of all fatal accidents involved collisions with another vehicle.
• In 2012, 93,000 riders were involved in non-fatal accidents.
• The number of accidents (both fatal and non-fatal) has increased over the past several years, along with an increase in the number of registered motorcycles. As a result, the overall rate of motorcycle accidents has remained fairly constant. In contrast, overall accident and fatality rates for passenger vehicles have declined.
• 452 riders died in motorcycle accidents in Texas in 2012. This was the second-highest total in the country.
When motorcycle riders suffer serious or fatal injuries in collisions caused by other drivers, they and their loved ones may be entitled to compensation for their losses.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Determining liability in a motor vehicle collision requires careful examination of all of the facts and circumstances involved in the accident. Ultimately, the amount an accident victim will be able to recover will be based on the scope of his or her losses. However, the analysis starts with determining who was at fault in causing the collision. The following are common causes where another driver may be to blame:
• Drunk Driving – Drunk driving continues to be a major cause of all types of vehicle accidents. Impaired drivers are even less likely to notice motorcycles and respect their lanes.
• Driver Fatigue – Fatigue can cause impairments on par with those associated with drinking and driving.
• Speeding – Speeding drivers have less ability to control their vehicles and stop quickly to avoid an impending collision.
• Failure to Yield – Drivers who are only looking for other passenger vehicles may fail to notice motorcycles before pulling into traffic.
• Failure to Check Blind Spots – Accidents also commonly occur when drivers fail to fully check their blind spots, causing them to change lanes into oncoming motorcycles.
• Distracted Driving – Texting, emailing, eating, and setting GPS directions are just a small handful of the many distractions that can cause motorcycle accidents.
While motorcyclists can follow safe riding practices to protect themselves as much as possible, ultimately some situations will simply be beyond their control. When accidents happen, riders and their families should use the legal system to hold the responsible parties accountable and fight for just compensation.
The Houston Accident Lawyers of Morrow & Sheppard LLP are Here to Help
At Morrow & Sheppard LLP, we are passionate about helping injury victims and their families fight for compensation. If you or a loved one has been seriously or fatally injured in a motorcycle accident, call (800) 489-2216 or contact us online for a free consultation.