It’s April — time for motorcyclists (and cyclists) to start riding more. But unfortunately serious injuries and deaths in Texas from cycle-vehicle collisions have risen dramatically here.
500 people tragically die on motorcycles every year in Texas. Just last night in Arlington, a motorcyclist was crashed into by an SUV changing lanes on State Highway 287 and tragically lost his life.
As a motorcycle accident attorney and advocate for the safety for all all cyclists, this upsets me. And I went to another funeral of a client hit riding his motorcycle several months ago so thought to write this post to try to prevent another injury or death.
Most motorcycle and bicycle crashes are caused by two things:
- People do not see the cyclist at all — or until it is too late; and
- People see the cyclist but fail to yield the right of way, especially in intersections.
To prevent these collisions, here are some suggestions:
1. For new riders and bikes that have not been rode lately
Bikers: if you are just starting out, get your Class M license. Don’t think about riding one if you haven’t been tested. Practice on a closed course to make sure that you are completely comfortable on the bike. Ask experienced friends for advice and take a class.
Don’t buy a bike that is over your head. I’ve handled too many crash cases for guys on “crotch rockets” (see photo) not to understand their seductive power.
If the bike has not been out on the road in a while, make sure a shop services it so that you can rely on its brakes, lights, and acceleration. You have to be confident in your machine and in your ability to react quickly.
2. Before you start riding
For motorcyclist and cyclists, before you hop on your bike it is essential that you do these things:
- Make sure your bike is in perfect mechanical condition;
- Know your route and tell a loved one where you are going and when you will be back;
- Charge your cell phone;
- Have cash and a credit card for emergencies;
- Study weather maps; and
- Ride in a group, but only if by doing so you will be more visible
3. Make sure you are prepared for the unexpected
Riding a bike is dangerous. And the fact that so many people are speeding around in pickup trucks, SUVs and large cars while looking at the cell phones has only made your trip that much more dangerous.
4. Wear preventive gear and clothing
The lack of protection often makes a collision on a bike devastating. You need the best protective gear.
A helmet is the best way to prevent a traumatic brain injury and could save your life. While motorcyclists 21 years and older are not required to wear a helmet if they have taken a state-approved training course or have provided proof they are covered by a minimum of $10,000 in health insurance (far too little for a serious motorcycle injury), consider wearing one.
For bicyclists, helmets are not required if you are over 18. Again, wear a helmet. People less than 18 are required to do so in many cities, including Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas, Benbrook, Bedford, Southlake, and Coppell here in our area.
If your case goes to trial, a jury will not presumably not be as sympathetic to your case.
Also wear high visibility, long sleeve clothes that can be seen by often distracted drivers behind you not expecting a motorcycle or bicycle — and often don’t respect their right to be on the road. Lime green and neon yellow helmets, jerseys, and socks are effective for bicycle riders – I wear these when I ride my road bicycle.
5. Don’t ride while distracted
This should be obvious, but the rider must be 100% focused on what he is doing. He can’t be looking down at a computer or sound system or plugged into head phones.
Bicycle riders: also be extra careful on the roads — and even the Trinity Trail. Last year, 65 Texans died while riding the bikes, a huge 25% increase over the year before. As a bicycle rider, I know all too well the perils of being out on the roads, even to the far right hand side, and even in a group. And I rode a motorcycle in law school and college.
Contact our office if you are involved in a collision
Remember that motorcycle shown pictured above? Here’s what it looked like at the scene of a terrible collision. We are now fighting to get our client compensation for his serious injuries and lost wages.
I hope this doesn’t happen, but the sooner you hire an injury lawyer to investigate the facts, get the police report, speak to the police officer, take photographs, interview witnesses, take photographs, measure the scene, and build your case for liability, the better.
Many drivers will claim that the cyclists was at fault and their insurance companies routinely deny liability, which means that your only option is to file a lawsuit to recover your medical bills, lost wages, pain, disfigurement, and other damages.
If you try to hire an attorney six months later, he may not be able to obtain the necessary evidence he needs to win your case.
If you would like to learn more about the legal services my law firm provides to the victims of motorcycle and bicycle collision cases, please call 817-885-8000 or toll-free at 1-888-801-8585 or click here.