A motorcycle crash can change your life forever. At Crosley Law, we are painfully aware of the risks that motorcycle riders face when they hit the road. And the number of riders is growing. In fact, the number of registered motorcycles in Texas doubled between 2000 and 2014, and Bexar County has one of the highest numbers of riders in the state.
While you can’t control other drivers’ behavior, the simple tips in this article can help reduce your risk of being involved in a deadly wreck. These tips are especially important if you’re a new or inexperienced rider. And if the unthinkable happens and you find yourself injured in a motorcycle crash, contact Crosley Law to schedule a free initial consultation so you can learn about your rights and legal options.
1. Wear a Motorcycle Helmet and Protective Gear
While motorcycles offer an unparalleled degree of freedom and agility, they don’t provide the same safety features and protections as a car or truck. Even though Texas does not have a universal helmet law, a helmet and other protective equipment, like a motorcycle jacket, vest, and non-slip boots, should be an essential part of your riding routine.
According to U.S. government data from 2016, 54% of people who died in motorcycle crashes that year weren’t wearing helmets. And based on worldwide data, head injuries are the most common cause of death in fatal motorcycle wrecks. During a crash, a rider can suffer head trauma in a variety of ways. When your head strikes an object, it can penetrate your head and brain. In addition, the forces of acceleration and deceleration can cause your brain to repeatedly strike the rough inside of your skull. Both types of trauma can cause life-changing or fatal injuries.
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A helmet protects your head and brain during a crash in several ways. The soft material within the helmet can absorb and diffuse some of the forces on impact. Also, a helmet serves as a mechanical barrier that protects your head from lacerations, abrasions, puncture wounds, and other injuries. According to the World Health Organization, a motorcycle helmet can decrease the severity of head, neck, and facial injuries in a crash by as much as 72%.
“According to U.S. government data from 2016, 54% of people who died in motorcycle crashes that year weren’t wearing helmets.”
2. Never Ride a Motorcycle While Intoxicated
Drugs and alcohol are a leading cause of motorcycle crashes, especially single-vehicle wrecks that involve the rider crashing on their own with no other vehicles involved. According to research from Texas A&M University, 44% of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve drunk or drugged driving.
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It’s shocking how quickly alcohol and other substances can affect your ability to drive a vehicle. Even consuming two alcoholic drinks can impact your vision, reduce your ability to multi-task, and impair your judgment. While these skills are critical for all drivers, they’re especially important for motorcycle riders, who have much less room for error.
At Crosley Law, we encourage responsible riding. If you plan on consuming alcohol, you shouldn’t hop on a motorcycle. Instead, call a cab, use an app to get a rideshare, or find a designated driver.
3. Remain Cautious at Intersections
When a motorcycle crash involves one or more other vehicles, it’s likely to occur at an intersection. Many of these crashes involve someone failing to yield while turning left.
When you’re stopped at or crossing through an intersection, you should remain aware of the vehicles around you. Always drive defensively and anticipate that other drivers might fail to see you in an intersection. You should:
- Slow down as you enter the intersection and follow all signs and signals
- Keep an adequate buffer between you and other vehicles so you’ll have time to react in an emergency
- Avoid driving in other vehicles’ blind spots
- Position your motorcycle so other drivers can see you
- Don’t bike while distracted—put your phone and other electronic devices away
While these tips won’t prevent every motorcycle crash, they can reduce your risk and get you in the habit of putting safety first when you’re on your bike.
4. Purchase Comprehensive Motorcycle Insurance
Texas requires a minimum level of motorcycle insurance for all riders. However, when you buy the minimum required coverage, the policy limits won’t cover much in the event of a catastrophic accident. Those minimum policy limits are:
- $30,000 per person for bodily injury claims
- $60,000 total in bodily injury claims per accident
- $25,000 for personal property damage per accident
In the event of a motorcycle wreck, it’s very likely that the medical bills and other costs will add up to much more than these policy limits. When you purchase motorcycle insurance, consider purchasing additional coverage, including supplementary personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist policies.
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If your negligence caused the motorcycle crash, your liability policy won’t cover your injuries. However, PIP policies aren’t fault-based and should pay your claim regardless of fault.
Meanwhile, a UM/UIM policy steps in when an at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to cover your injuries or has no insurance coverage at all. Since an alarmingly high number of San Antonio drivers are uninsured or have minimal policies, Crosley Law encourages all drivers, including motorcycle riders, to buy additional UM/UIM coverage in case the worst happens.
5. Consult an Injury Lawyer After a Motorcycle Crash
It’s not fair, but our culture perpetuates a subtle bias against motorcycle riders. Many people assume that those who choose to ride are thrill seekers who ignore traffic rules and drive aggressively. Unfortunately, this can negatively impact your injury claims after a motorcycle crash.
Texas is a comparative negligence state, which means that your degree of fault in causing a wreck will proportionately affect the total amount of compensation you can receive. For example, suppose you have $100,000 in crash-related medical bills, lost income, and other damages. If you were 20% at fault for the crash, the insurance companies will pay a maximum of $80,000 in your claim. If you were 51% or more at fault, you cannot recover compensation.
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After a crash, it’s always in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer. If the police report in your case unfairly blames you for a crash or the insurance company tries to reduce your damages, you’ll need compelling evidence that proves them wrong. At Crosley Law, we have built a reputation for conducting detailed investigations that use cutting-edge technology and expert witnesses to identify the causes of a crash. Contact us to learn more about our approach to motorcycle claims.
Crosley Law: Skilled and Aggressive Advocates for Motorcycle Crash Victims in Texas
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash, you deserve guidance and advocacy from an experienced and respected injury lawyer. At Crosley Law, we focus on handling serious injury claims, especially those involving motor vehicle accidents. We pride ourselves on our dedication and commitment to our clients. To schedule your free consultation today, complete our online contact form or call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000.
Shipp, E.M., Wunderlich, R., Perez, M., Ko, M., Pant, A., Martin, M., . . . Trueblood, A. (2016, September). Comprehensive analysis of motorcycle crashes in Texas: A multi-year snapshot (Report no. 2016-TTI-G-1YG-0029). College Station, TX: Center for Transportation Safety, Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Retrieved from https://www.looklearnlive.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/MOTO_ReportRev1a.pdf
Uren, B. (2016, July 29). How alcohol impairs your ability to drive. Michigan Health. Retrieved from https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/wellness-prevention/how-alcohol-impairs-your-ability-to-drive
World Health Organization. (2006). Helmets: A road safety manual for decision-makers and practitioners. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/roadsafety/projects/manuals/helmet_manual/1-Why.pdf
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.