Houston Motorcycle Accidents
Helpful Tips, Information, Statistics & More
If you're interested in finding out more about motorcycle crashes, what causes them, your rights as a rider, and more, you've come to the right place. Our Houston motorcycle accident firm has compiled a considerable amount of information that can help you make informed choices after a crash that has left you or someone you love with serious injuries. Feel free to click on any of the topics below, or you can always call (888) 493-1629 for a free consultation with one of our friendly and experienced legal professionals.
Click on the following links or scroll down to learn more!
Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
No two motorcycle accidents are the same. However, many have similar causes. Popular myth would have most people believe that the negligence of the motorcyclist causes almost all motorcycle accidents—and while this is not always untrue, the fact is that the primary causes for motorcycle accidents are much more varied than that. In fact, it has been shown that in a significant portion of accidents, the primary cause is not that the motorcyclist was negligent in any way, but rather that the driver of the passenger vehicle somehow violated their rights. This could mean not paying attention or not checking blind spots and swerving into their lane or making an abrupt turn.
"Negligent drivers" is a broad term because negligence is classified in hundreds of different ways. When a driver is not obeying all traffic laws, they are driving negligently. There is even a window to act negligently while following traffic laws, such as in the case of some distracted driving.
Any time a driver does not signal when changing lanes or turning, this can be considered negligence if it resulted in a collision with a motorcycle. Any time a driver was distracted by a cell phone, the radio, or even something else on the road and this causes an accident, they can be considered to have been driving negligently. An alert driver is fully aware of the circumstances on the road around him or her, obeying all traffic laws as well. If you are a motorcycle driver and were injured because of a negligent driver, then you can get help filing a claim. Filing a claim for motorcycle accidents in Houston can help make the roads a little safer while providing for needs like medical care, basic provisions, and lost wages.
Driver Blind Spots
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists have a higher fatality rate compared to drivers of passenger vehicles. If you ride a motorcycle, your risk of a fatal crash is 35 percent higher and 16 times the injury rate than drivers of other cars. Motorcycles provide little safety in the event of an accident, so extra precaution is necessary when on the road.
A leading cause of motorcycle crashes is negligent four-wheel driving. Because motorcyclists are harder to see on the road, it is easier for a driver to have a lapse in judgment and get involved in an accident with a motorcyclist.
One of the main driver errors that lead to motorcycle crashes in Houston is failing to check blind spots. Every vehicle has blind spots, and drivers must be aware of them to avoid an accident in any form. Since motorcycles take up less space on the road and they are also allowed to maneuver between vehicles, drivers may not signal properly or look long enough to notice a motorcyclist before it is too late. Window glare blind spots may also cause motorcycle accidents. Drivers need to take extra precaution when it comes to avoiding motorcyclists on the road.
When drivers are not careful to check their blind spots, motorcyclists end up with serious injuries.
Another commonly overlooked cause is a dangerous roadway. Potholes, uneven pavement, and similar situations may be an inconvenience for a passenger vehicle, but it can be outright deadly for someone in a motorcycle. With a smaller car with much less stability, even the slightest dip in the road or unexpected crack could cause the operator to lose control of the vehicle and swerve. In these cases, it is not another person that would be held accountable, but rather the government entity responsible for the upkeep of those roadways.
Faulty equipment can also cause motorcycle crashes. While most people like to believe that they are purchasing a 100% safe and tested vehicle, the truth is that some parts and pieces could be defective. This could be a design that was defective from the inception or could even be a product that was designed safe but manufactured poorly (for example, being built with low-quality materials). Should this occur, it could cause the motorcycle to "wobble" at high speeds or fail entirely. Some motorcycles are not equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) that allows for emergency braking, and a lack of ABS has been proven to cause accidents.
Back to Top
Common Injuries Sustained in Houston Motorcycle Accidents
Many different types of injuries can be sustained in a Texas motorcycle accident. Some may be mild and temporary, while others may be severe and affect every part of a rider's life. Some are even fatal.
- Brain Injuries
Due to the critical role that the brain plays in a person's functioning, even the most minor of injuries can cause serious, debilitating consequences. A brain injury could range from a contusion to a concussion, but rarely is it a cheap injury to receive treatment.
- Spine Injuries
No matter whether the injury involves fractures to the vertebra, slipped discs, or a crushing injury, should the spinal cord suffer damage of any kind, the victim could suffer lifelong consequences.
- Road Rash
Road rash occurs when a person is ejected from the bike and thrown across the ground. The friction between the pavement and the victim can cause skin layers to be rubbed away—resulting in serious and severely painful damage.
Bones are the structure that compose the human body, but they are also some of the most vulnerable parts. Should they be placed in the wrong positioning or should the wrong amount of pressure be applied, they can break.
- Loss of Limb
Accidental amputation is a devastating injury, both physically and psychologically. It can be difficult for a person to hear that they have lost a limb, not to say anything about the logistics of moving forward.
This is an injury that can leave the victim crippled for the rest of their life—with ever-mounting medical bills and a serious need for legal assistance in receiving comprehensive monetary compensation.
Road Rash: About the Injury, Treatment & More
One of the most common forms of motorcyclist injury affects the most exposed area of the body: the skin. While motorcycle safety tips often mention wearing full body coverage, many motorcyclists choose to ignore this instead of more comfortable clothing. This, unfortunately, leaves them vulnerable to sustaining road rash.
Road rash is typically caused by abrasion with the road and can affect the health of the bone. When an accident occurs, the motorcyclist is often ejected from their bike and is thrown across the pavement. This motion can cause significant friction - which can, in turn, cause layers of the skin to rub off. Depending on the speed, the angle of the throw and the amount of protection that the rider has on, this can even expose the bone.
Treatment for road rash is simple and usually involves cleaning the area with either mild soap or an antiseptic wash. It also often requires that the area be covered and left to rest. In some cases, the road rash is so severe that it is considered a third-degree road rash and requires a trip to the emergency room. This could mean that antibiotics, dressings and pain medication are used in conjunction to help.
Back to Top
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
As a motorcyclist, you're vulnerable on the road, even when you're wearing a DOT-approved helmet and other protective gear. Other motorists, a defective bike part, or a dangerous roadway could cause a collision that leaves you with serious, life-changing injuries. At Arnold & Itkin, our Texas injury lawyers help riders after any type of motorcycle crash in Houston, Texas, or nationwide. Because we have extensive experience in personal injury law, we can take on any type of case with competence. Because we care, we'll be all in if we take on your claim.
We can handle Houston motorcycle accident cases involving:
- Single-Vehicle Motorcycle Accidents - 1,886 of the 4,733 motorcyclists that lost their lives in 2019 were in traffic accidents that did not involve any other vehicles. Accidents like these can be caused by dangerous and poorly maintained roads, heavy weather, and defective motorcycle parts. We know how to find at-fault parties even when no other vehicles were involved.
- Multi-Vehicle Motorcycle Accidents - Distracted and careless drivers can cause catastrophic motorcycle accidents that endanger riders' lives. When motorcyclists are injured in collisions with other vehicles, our attorneys investigate to determine fault and help our clients recover.
- Motorcycle-Truck Crashes - Nothing is quite as devastating as a truck accident involving a motorcycle. When over-tired commercial drivers, violations of trucking regulations, and poorly loaded or maintained 18-wheelers crash with unsuspecting riders, we stand up for what's right and seek fair recoveries that help our clients rebuild and move on.
- Hit & Run Motorcycle Accidents - Even though motorists are required by law to remain at the scene of a motorcycle accident, some flee or may not even be aware that they have caused a crash. Our team of investigators, attorneys, and support staff know how to locate at-fault parties and find all potential sources of compensation after hit and run motorcycle collisions.
No matter the circumstances surrounding a crash or what may have caused it, our Houston motorcycle accident attorneys have the resources to investigate, negotiate, and litigate on a rider's behalf. From collisions with commercial vehicles to cases against government entities for roadway hazards, we're there to help.
Back to Top
Sport Bike Accidents in Houston, TX
There are many different types of motorcycles—all of which have their nuances and dangers. One of the most common forms of a motorcycle is a sport bike. This is not the more comfortable, more common cruiser; instead, this is a bike built for speed. The design and manufacturing are meant to help boost acceleration, streamline braking, and improve low, fast cornering. Many people claim that the first sport bike to hit the road was the Honda CB750 in 1969. This was followed by a massive rise in enthusiasm to pursue the model, becoming closer to racing models throughout the next few decades. Now, modern models all differ, but carry similar elements that include high foot pegs, low handlebars, and lightweight frames.
- Lightweight - This is considered a beginner or entry level bike and distinguished with engine displacement up to 500 cc.
- Middleweight - These can be raced, but that is not their niche. These usually have an engine displacement of 600 to 750 cc.
- Superbike - These are usually for racing. Their engine displacement averages 1,000 cc. Bikes above that are in an open class.
Sport bikes are typically more dangerous than the more common cruiser. This can usually be attributed to the fact that these are more for performance over comfort and are ridden at more dangerous speeds. This, however, does not mean the negligence of an operator causes all sport bike accidents. In fact, it has been determined that the primary cause of many motorcycle accidents is the driver inattention.
Back to Top
Cruiser Motorcycle Accidents in Houston, TX
Cruisers are some of the most common motorcycles seen on the road. Most Harley-Davidsons are considered to be cruisers; in fact, their designs are typically believed to "define" this genre. The common factors that can be attributed to a cruiser include engines with the low-end torque, which allow for less shifting Similarly, the rider is placed in a position that is designed for comfort with high forward-facing feet which allows for the spine to lean back slightly or stay erect. Due to comfort, it is commonly the bike of choice for road trips.
This comfort, however, doesn't mean that those who choose this type of bike are exempt from being involved in motorcycle accidents. Like all motorcycles, cruisers leave the operator vulnerable to severe injuries that range from brain damage to loss of limb. In fact, it has been noted that these riders are often not as prepared as sport bike operators, so they can be more vulnerable to an accident. Sport bike operators regularly wear full-face helmets, along with more comprehensive safety gear, which operators of cruisers have notoriously been known to forgo.
About Cruiser & Chopper Bike Accidents
Per the U.S Department of Transportation (DOT), 4,000+ fatal motorcycle accidents occurred in 2009; the NHTSA compounds on this by stating that there were 106,000+ motorcycles involved in an accident during that year. Age has also been an interesting statistic to track. NHTSA reports that motorcyclists that are over the age of 40 accounted for almost half of all fatalities related to a motorcycle accident. The age of the motorcyclist has steadily risen over the years; in fact, according to the Motorcycle/ATV Owner Survey put out by the Motorcycle Industry Council, the average motorcycle owner was 43 years old in 2008—making average age leap up four years over the last two decades. As cruiser bikes are commonly targeted toward this older demographic, many of these middle-age riders are finding themselves aboard choppers.
Our attorneys have handled motorcycle crash claims involving all vehicle types. If you need motorcycle accident attorney services in Houston, TX, call (888) 493-1629.
Back to Top
Practicing Motorcycle Safety
Riding a motorcycle may be a symbol of speed and freedom, but it does not always mean that it is the safest venture. Due to the negligence of drivers, many motorcyclists find themselves paying the price for their mode of transportation. In fact, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over two million who found themselves injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2007 alone. Four percent of all of these injuries were attributed to motorcyclists. We at Arnold & Itkin look to advocate for the rights of those who have wrongfully suffered motorcycle injuries—regardless of whether they were aboard a sports bike or a cruiser.
Tips for Motorcycle Safety: Protecting the Driver
Many motorcycle accidents are caused by the negligence or carelessness of a car driver. However, we also know some tips can be followed by motorcyclists to maximize their safety and take preventative measures to protect themselves. Remember, when you are on a bike, you must consider road safety as being as important as if you were behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
- Pick a motorcycle that fits you! When you are choosing a bike, pick one that fits you. Not one that you find the most attractive, but one that has limitations that suit your riding ability. If you are getting your first sports bike, get an entry level lightweight. Also, consider size as your feet should be able to touch the ground comfortably when sitting on your bike.
- Never carry a passenger if your bike is not built for it. Make sure that your bike is built to carry extra weight. Also, make sure there is designated space for a passenger, along with all necessary safety amenities for the passenger to use.
- Use smart riding techniques. There are specific actions a motorcyclist needs to consider that a vehicle driver does not. Some are just things that should be exaggerated. For example, avoid tailgating and leave a safe amount of room between you and other vehicles. Also, even though it is tempting, try to stay away from riding between lanes—no matter how slow the traffic.
- Assume that other drivers cannot see you. Don't rely on other operators to adjust to you. Instead, always assume that you are invisible and drive defensively to help protect yourself. This includes staying a safe distance away, avoiding blind spots and always using your headlights, no matter the time of day or the weather.
- Wear protective gear—all of it! When riding a motorcycle, you should be fully and adequately covered. This includes wearing a DOT approved helmet, eye protection, gloves, boots that cover your ankles, long pants, and long sleeves.
- Enroll yourself in a training course. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) offers standardized courses throughout the nation that train students on how to handle their bikes properly. Find a local course and get yourself enrolled.
Before You Get on the Road
Before you ever get on your motorcycle and hit the road, it is crucial that you get licensed with the proper state agency. This process includes making sure that you are informed of motorcycle roadway safety, know how to operate a bike, and understand the rules that apply to motorcyclists. To obtain this license, you must pass a knowledge test and complete a motorcycle safety course and riding skills test.
Once you have a license, you should make sure that you are comfortable with your specific bike. You should know how to work the bike before taking it out on busy streets and highways—this includes understanding the gears, how to maneuver, riding in different weather settings (wind, rain, hazardous road conditions, etc.) and more. Finally, before you take the road, make sure that the bike itself is safe for driving. This includes making sure your brakes are working, tire pressure is good, fluid levels are correct, and the tread is in the right condition.
Back to Top
Houston was incorporated on June 5, 1837. The city was named after Sam Houston (1793-1863), who served as the first and third president of the Republic of Texas and also the first representative of Texas in the U.S. Senate, in the hopes that he would choose Houston as the capital. He did, but the assignment was temporary. Yellow fever outbreaks, unfinished accommodations, and the marshy landscape made Houston an improper spot for the capital, which was moved to Austin. Improved drainage systems, the Texas oil boom, and the Houston Ship Channel have helped Houston become widely known as the energy capital of the world.
Houston is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country with an extremely strong economy, making it a top choice for individuals and businesses. In fact, Houston is home to more Fortune 500 company headquarters than any other city in the United States, except for New York. The oil and gas industry, renewable energy, exports, medical research, aeronautics, and technology are all key parts of the Houston economy.
With more than 2.3 million residents, 2 international airports (George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport), and one of the world’s largest ports (Port of Houston), the city relies heavily on its transportation infrastructure. Freeways radiate outward from Downtown Houston, creating the foundation for a traditional hub-and-spoke highway system. Interstates 45, 10, and 69 intersect Houston, as well as several other state highways and U.S. routes. A system of toll roads, including the Sam Houston Tollway, the Westpark Tollway, and the Hardy Toll Road, are also active in Houston. Houston has a lot to offer motorcycle riders, with beautiful scenery and weather. Riders can enjoy several motorcycle routes in the greater Houston area, including the Sam Houston National Forest, which offers wonderful views of the forest, the Woodlands Back Stretch, which is just outside the city, and the Three Sisters, which is nicknamed “The Twisted Sisters” because of all its hills and steep turns.
Houston Links & Resources
Injured in a Texas Motorcycle Accident? Know Your Next Steps.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, then you already know how emotionally damaging this can be. You, however, may not know what your next move should be. That is where we come in. By getting an Arnold & Itkin attorney on your side, you will be able to take the next steps towards evaluating your case and determining the best course of action. If you suffered motorcycle injuries, no matter whether the accident was on a sports bike or a cruiser, if the negligence of a third party caused it, you likely have grounds to file a personal injury claim.
When you need legal services on your side, we are here to help. Our clients' best interests always come first. We know the best ways in which to investigate the accident and understand how to help our clients maximize their recovery. No matter whether it was caused by a drunk driver, a dangerous roadway, or even a defective part, you can be confident knowing we will be there to help you in every way possible. We recognize that compensation needs to be obtained comprehensively—not just for the immediate bills, but also to ensure that you are taken care of in the long run, and we will do everything that we can to fight for the full financial compensation you deserve.
Choose a Houston Motorcycle Accident Law Firm That Has Recovered Billions
Our two founding attorneys, Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin, were both been named as "Top Lawyers for the People" by H Texas Magazine in 2005 and have both been honored with several other recognition. They are not only locally known throughout Houston, Texas, but have become nationally known for their efforts to protect the legal rights of plaintiffs. They are even recognized outside of the legal sphere; both were listed in the Houston Business Journal in the "40 Under 40" for 2011—a list that recognizes those under the age of 40 who excel in their industry.
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in the Houston area, you can seek full compensation to cover your lifetime losses. We also provide help nationwide, including Baton Rouge, Dallas, and more. Contact our firm to learn more.