While riding a motorcycle should be a fun and efficient mode of transportation, Houston has been identified as one of the worst cities in Texas for fatal motorcycle accidents. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 1,800 seriously injured motorcyclists and 412 motorcyclists lost their lives in motorcycle wrecks in 2019.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
There are many different causes of motorcycle accidents in Texas, including:
- Distracted Driving: Both motorcyclists and drivers are guilty of driving while distracted. Whether they are paying attention to a cell phone or entertainment system or eating breakfast on the way to work, distracted drivers are more likely to cause roadway accidents. Distractions can often cause collisions with fixed objects that motorcyclists would be able to avoid if they were strictly paying attention to the road. Distracted drivers are less likely to see motorcycles on the road and may hit a motorcyclist while changing lanes or turning onto a new road.
- Speeding: Speeding in Houston is not an uncommon sight, as drivers and motorcyclists alike speed on our roads and highways. Speeding reduces the amount of time motorcyclists and drivers have to react to changes in the road ahead. About one-third of fatal motorcycle accidents involve speeding. Even if the biker was not speeding, the drivers around them may be speeding and may cause a collision due to not being able to react in time.
- Lane Splitting: Motorcyclists often practice a method of driving called lane splitting. This is when the motorcyclist drives between two lanes of traffic that are stopped or moving slowly. This practice is illegal in Texas and can be incredibly dangerous due to how close the motorcycle can get to the cars. Drivers do not typically anticipate motorcyclists performing these maneuvers and cannot react appropriately if they do not see the bike coming alongside their car. Many serious motorcycle accidents occur due to lane splitting.
- Riding or Driving While Intoxicated: Driving any type of vehicle while intoxicated in Texas is illegal; however, many drivers choose to do so anyways. This practice is extremely dangerous and puts lives at risk. If a driver chooses to operate their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will not be able to react timely to their environment, they may pass out while driving, and they are much more likely to cause a serious accident.
- Cars Turning Left: When approaching an intersection, all drivers and motorcyclists are expected to check their surroundings before making a turn. However, in a good portion of motorcycle accidents, the accident occurred because a car turning left did not see a motorcyclist trying to pass them or go straight through the intersection.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle injuries are typically more serious than those suffered in passenger car accidents, as motorcyclists have very little protection from an impact with a vehicle, obstacles, or the ground. Some of the most common motorcycle injuries include:
- Head Injuries and Traumatic Brain Injuries: Head injuries are extremely common in motorcycle accidents, which is why wearing a helmet is so important while riding a motorcycle. Head injuries can include concussions, skull fractures, severe disfigurement, and even brain damage. When the brain experiences a severe injury, it is called a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs can lead to permanent disability or even death.
- Broken Bones and Fractures: Bones may be some of the strongest parts of the human body, but when put under a certain amount of extreme pressure – which can be experienced during a motorcycle accident – they can break. From small fractures to full bone breaks, the recovery process for a broken bone is a long road that can sometimes require surgery. These sorts of injuries are extremely painful and can leave victims recovering for weeks to months.
- Spine and Neck Injuries: The impact from a motorcycle accident can cause your head and neck to move in ways that are not natural. The spine and neck have many intricate moving parts and injuring just one can cause severe pain and suffering. The vertebrae in your spinal cord can be fractured, the discs between your vertebrae may slip out of place, or a hernia can develop, along with many other spinal cord injuries that may lead to paralysis and/or permanent disability. There are many small muscles in your neck that can be severely injured in a motorcycle accident as well, especially from a condition called whiplash in which the neck snaps back and forth too quickly for the body to control.
- Road Rash (Friction Burns): Road rash happens when a motorcyclist slides against the pavement resulting in serious and painful skin damage as the skin will rip and tear against the concrete and asphalt. These injuries can cause nerve damage, skin infections, and permanent scarring.
Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Houston motorcyclists should not fear driving on our roads every day. If you or a loved one is a victim of a car crash, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Houston motorcycle accident lawyers at Dax F. Garza, P.C. to learn more about how we can help you recover financial compensation for your damages.