They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and that includes our love for motorcycles. In 2017 alone, state government statistics showed more than 386,938 bikes registered in Texas — the sixth-highest total in the country. But Texas also leads the way in a much less desirable metric: our state generally ranks either first or second in the country each year for the total number of fatal motorcycle crashes.
In 2016, 463 motorcyclists were killed on Texas roads. In addition, 33 motorcycle passengers lost their lives, 1,861 motorcycle riders and 147 passengers suffered critical injuries, and thousands more suffered other injuries in motorcycle crashes.
Below, we’ll discuss motorcycle crash injuries, common causes of motorcycle accidents, how to stay safe while riding, and what to do if you have been injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle collision.
“In 2016, 463 motorcyclists were killed on Texas roads.”
Common Motorcycle Injuries
Motorcycle injuries are often serious because bikers have little to protect them from an impact with another vehicle, from obstacles, or even from the ground. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the most common injuries in a motorcycle crash are:
Head Injuries and TBIs
The most common types of injuries from motorcycle accidents are head injuries, which include concussions, skull fractures, and even brain damage. A brain injury could range from a contusion to a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can be debilitating or even fatal.
While bones are one of the strongest parts of the human body, they’re still vulnerable and often break in a vehicle crash. Whether it’s an arm, a leg, or the spine, any fracture can be painful and costly.
Neck and Spine Injuries
Whether it’s a fracture to the vertebrae, a slipped disc, herniation, or other injuries, spinal cord damage of any kind can result in paralysis and painful consequences for the rest of the rider’s life.
Also known as road rash, friction burns result when a rider slides across the pavement in a motorcycle accident, resulting in serious and painful skin damage. It can also lead to infections of the skin and even nerve damage.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents happen for a variety of reasons, the most common being:
In 2016, 23% of motorcycles involved in fatal crashes collided with fixed objects. The same figure for passenger cars was 17%. (Distraction often results in collisions with fixed objects, which the riders presumably would have been able to avoid if they were paying attention.) Distracted driving is also a major cause of other drivers crashing into motorcyclists.
Crash data from recent years shows that around 33% of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding. But even when motorcyclists are obeying the speed limit, other drivers’ speeding causes collisions or makes collisions worse. In fact, speeding kills over 10,000 people each year in the United States.
Motorcycle Lane Splitting
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of stopped or slowly moving cars, usually in tight traffic. This is incredibly dangerous due to the close proximity of the cars to the motorcycle, the tiny amount of the space the rider has to maneuver, and the fact that drivers rarely anticipate a motorcycle passing them in between lanes. While lane splitting is not technically illegal in Texas, it’s a dangerous practice that riders should avoid.
Even though everyone knows that driving drunk is illegal and puts lives at risk, 28% of 2017 motor vehicle fatalities in Texas involved a driver under the influence of alcohol.
Cars Making Left-Hand Turns
Collisions that result when a car turns left and hits a rider make up 42% of all wrecks involving a motorcycle and car. In most cases, the turning car hits the motorcycle when the rider is going straight through an intersection, passing the car, or trying to overtake the car.
The Texas Helmet Law
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from serious injuries in a motorcycle crash is to wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet reduces your risk of death by almost 40% and drops the risk of head injury by almost 70%. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that if all motorcycle riders wore helmets, it would prevent billions of dollars in losses related to medical care, property damage, lost productivity, and lost quality of life. In fact, experts estimate that the medical costs from injuries suffered by un-helmeted motorcyclists add up to $250 million every year.
One reason that Texas has such a high motorcycle crash fatality rate could be because our state doesn’t have a universal helmet law in place. Individuals residing in Texas are not required to wear a helmet if they are over the age of 21 and can show proof of adequate health insurance. At Crosley Law, we recommend that everyone wear protective gear, including a helmet, any time they ride.
Safety Precautions for Motorcycle Riders
Along with wearing a helmet, there are other simple ways to reduce the risk of serious injury or death while riding a motorcycle:
Since almost a third of motorcyclists killed in traffic were speeding, one of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of a crash is to obey posted speed limits. The faster you go, the longer it will take you to stop and the harder you will hit something in a collision.
Always stay aware of your surroundings and leave enough space between your motorcycle and other vehicles. Don’t assume that a driver can see you, always ride with your headlights on, stay out of drivers’ blind spots, use your turn signals, and watch out for turning vehicles.
Don’t Drink and Drive
It doesn’t matter if you’re driving a motorcycle or a car — sober is the only way you should operate a vehicle.
Crosley Law: Fighting for Texas Motorcycle Accident Victims
If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one 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 with one of our attorneys today, complete our online contact form or call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000.
Motorcycle injury prevention. (2016, August 5). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/policy/hst/hi5/motorcycleinjury/
Motorcycles. (2018). Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://www.txdot.gov/driver/share-road/motorcycles.html
Powell, T. (2018, May). Motorcycle traffic fatalities by state: 2017 preliminary data. Washington, D.C.: Governor’s Highway Safety Association. Retrieved from https://www.ghsa.org/sites/default/files/2018-05/ghsa_motorcyclists18.pdf
Texas motor vehicle traffic crash facts: Calendar year 2017. (2018, April 20). Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved from http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2017/01.pdf
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2018, February). Traffic safety facts (DOT HS 812 492). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved from
Weyant, C. (2018, May 9). What state has the most motorcycle accidents? Consumer News. Retrieved from
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.