Texas drivers should use caution around motorcycles

Motorcycle riders face many dangers on the road from being more vulnerable to changing circumstances on the road to the risk of not being seen by other drivers. The Bandera County Courier reported that in 2012, 460 motorcyclists in Texas died in collisions; those deaths represented nearly 13 percent of traffic deaths in Texas that year. The Bandera County Courier also reported that 89 percent of all motorcycle crashes in the state of Texas result in injury, if not death.

The risks faced by motorcycle riders increase the likelihood of an accident or injury. All drivers should use caution by watching for motorcycles, especially when entering intersections or changing lanes. According to the Bandera County Courier's report, half of all motorcycle fatalities in Texas occur because a car or truck driver did not see the motorcyclist.

Motorcycles, being physically smaller than other motor vehicles, are more easily obscured from view. In nearly two-thirds of accidents that involved both a motorcycle and another vehicle, the other driver violated the motorcyclist's right of way.

Understand the risks, know your rights

Both automobile drivers and motorcyclists should follow some basic safety practices. As reported by the Bandera County Courier, the Texas Department of Public Safety makes the following recommendations:

  • Never try to share a lane with a motorcyclist; provide the full lane width.
  • Before changing lanes or entering an intersection, check mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles.
  • Always use a turn signal before changing lanes.
  • Never tailgate a motorcyclist-- allow an additional three or four seconds of distance when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has sufficient time to maneuver or stop in case of an emergency.

With the increased likelihood of injury, motorcyclists should also know about their legal rights following an accident. Someone injured in a motorcycle accident may be entitled to compensation.

Negligent driving and compensation to injured motorists

Legal liability in a motorcycle accident is almost always determined by the concept of negligence. Negligence essentially means that a person acted in a careless way, and in doing so, caused injury to another person. If, for example, an automobile driver drove through a red light, entered the intersection and hit a motorcycle, the driver might be considered negligent. Considering the risks involved with riding a motorcycle, riders have an increased vulnerability to the negligence of other drivers.

Due to the lack of physical protection for motorcyclists, when a negligent driver strikes a motorcyclist, very serious injuries and fatalities often result. A motorcyclist who's injured due to the carelessness of another motorist may be entitled to compensation for medical damages, lost wages and even pain and suffering in certain cases.