With its wide open spaces, long stretches of roadway, and relatively mild winters, it makes sense that Texas is one of the most popular states for riding a motorcycle. Motorcycle rides in Texas are one of the state’s great joys. Riding a motorcycle is a source of freedom and fun for many Texans, as well as a regular mode of transit. Unfortunately, riding a motorcycle is also linked to a higher rate of severe injury and death in motor vehicle crashes than driving a car. Increased injury rates can be attributed to both a motorcycle’s lack of protection as well as its capacity to reach high rates of speed. Furthermore, Houston is currently ranked #1 in dangerous traffic areas for motorcyclists in the State of Texas.
If you have been injured in a Houston, TX motorcycle accident, you may have higher medical bills than other drivers involved in the crash, in addition to other costs and concerns. For an expert approach, contact the law firm of Simmons and Fletcher, P.C.
Texas Motorcycle Crash Statistics
Motorcycle accident deaths have been on the rise in recent years in Texas. Even as the 2020s have seen less drivers on the roads than in previous years, there have been higher rates of motorcycle fatalities from the year 2020 onwards. In fact, the average number of crashes has also decreased even as fatality rates rose for Texas motorcyclists, suggesting that crash victims have been left with more severe injuries from each incident.
In 2020, there were 7,481 motorcycle crashes in Texas. Out of these accidents, 1,856 motorcyclists were seriously injured, and 482 were killed. Recent data shows a 17% increase in Texas motorcycle fatality rates, at the same time as a 2% overall decline in motorcycle crashes statewide.
Currently, motorcyclists account for 12% of all Texas crash fatalities but make up just 2% of registered vehicles in the state. On average, at least one motorcyclist is killed in a crash on Texas roads and highways each day of the year.
Recent Motorcycle Accident Data for the City of Houston
From these dangerous trends, Houston has been identified as the worst city in Texas for motorcyclist deaths, according to data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
There have been 671 motorcycle crashes within Houston in the most recent year reported. Of these 671 crashes, 36 resulted in a motorcyclist’s death, while 130 caused severe injuries. Another 185 involved minor injuries to bikers, and 215 were classified as involving “possible injury.” Very few Houston motorcycle crashes (just 91) were reported as resulting in only property damage, and another 14 were considered “unknown” in the outcome. Based on these statistics, 85% of Houston motorcycle accidents can be considered to involve injuries to riders.
Common Causes of Houston Motorcycle Accidents
The most common causes of motorcycle fatalities in Houston, as well as general motorcycle accidents throughout the State of Texas, include:
- Intersections: Most Texas motorcycle fatalities occur in or around intersections. According to TxDOT, approximately one-third of reported motorcycle crash deaths are linked to intersections in the state.
- Rural areas: Surprisingly, rural areas in Texas may see higher rates of fatal accidents than urban ones. This may be attributed to higher rates of speeding in rural accidents, as well as fewer overall crashes when compared to urban locations like Houston. Fatal crashes in rural areas of Texas account for 52.39% of the state’s traffic fatalities in recent years.
- Not wearing a helmet: According to the Texas Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Fact Sheet, 51% of motorcyclists killed were not wearing a helmet at the time of their crash. Houston traffic and highway driving makes not wearing a helmet even more dangerous. It is imperative to wear a helmet at all times when operating a motorcycle in Houston.
- Left turns and lack of awareness: TxDOT Executive Director James Bass warns Texas drivers to “Look twice for motorcycles – there’s a life riding on it.” This new Texas motorcycle safety campaign is aimed at increasing driver awareness and caution around motorcycles. According to TxDOT data, one of the most common kinds of accidents involving motorcycles in the state is when a driver of a car or truck makes a left turn without checking for a rider. Other dangers include misjudging the distance between a motorcyclist and their vehicle’s turn radius and miscalculating a motorcyclist’s speed. The awareness campaign encourages car and truck drivers to slow down, look twice when changing lanes, give motorcycles more space, and above all, exercise caution when turning left.
Most Dangerous Intersections in Houston, TX
Intersections are especially dangerous for motorcyclists, and the busy streets of Houston only increase the risks for riders. The following have been identified as some of the most dangerous Houston traffic intersections by local news organizations:
- Beltway 8 and Interstate 45 North
- 610 East and Interstate 10
- Interstate 45 and SL 8
- Interstate 610 and UA 90
- Interstate 69 and Interstate 610
- Interstate 45 and Interstate 610
Common Motorcycle Injuries in Houston, TX
According to Texas Department of Public Safety Sergeant Bryan Washko, it is important to remember that what may be a minor crash for a car or truck driver can be devastating for a motorcyclist.
“When you’re in your vehicle, you’re surrounded by tons of steel and have plenty of safety equipment like a safety belt that can protect you during the crash,” said Sgt. Washko.
Anyone who has been injured in a Houston motorcycle crash may be experiencing the following concerns. Common motorcycle injuries in the Houston area include:
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Loss of a limb
Most Dangerous Months for Texas Motorcyclists
According to TxDOT data, the summer months are the most dangerous for motorcyclists in Houston and throughout the State of Texas. More than 61% of Texas motorcyclist crash deaths occur from May to October.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Crash in Texas
It is crucial for a motorcyclist to seek medical attention immediately after a crash. There may be an increased risk of internal bleeding, bruising, and scarring after a motorcycle collision. If you were hurt in a motorcycle crash, it is in your best interests to see a doctor as soon as possible, not only so you can begin healing, but also so that you can establish as clearly as possible the link between the accident, the other driver’s liability, and your motorcycle accident injuries. Even “invisible injuries” such as whiplash, concussion, or a TBI need to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Doing so can give you the best chance of making a full recovery, and also ensure that the cost to treat those injuries is accounted for in a motorcycle crash claim later on.
If you’re able to, make sure to exchange information after the crash with any other parties involved. Get phone numbers, email addresses, insurance information, and anything else that can help you document what happened. If there are witnesses who can speak up about the specifics of the crash, be sure to take their contact information, as well. You may also want to file a Houston police report so there is a neutral third-party account of your motorcycle collision.
While it is important to be communicative, one place to watch what you say is in your statements to insurance companies after the crash. After a Texas motorcycle accident, you will be asked to speak to your own insurance, as well as the other party’s, about what occurred. Unfortunately, some insurance adjusters take this opportunity to attempt to lower your settlement amount by any means necessary. Even simple statements such as “I feel better now,” or “I’m doing ok,” can be used against you to minimize the scope of your injuries and reduce your overall settlement amount. Be conservative in any personal details you offer up to an insurance adjuster who calls after the accident. When in doubt, consult with a local motorcycle crash attorney to ensure you are not taken advantage of.