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Start of Summer Means Need for Caution: Public Safety Advocates in Texas Speak out About Motorcycle Accidents

As summer begins and Houston motorists begin hitting the road for vacation destinations, lawyers and other public safety advocates are joining the Texas Department of Public Safety in urging drivers in Houston and all over Texas to be especially careful of motorcyclists. Although many motorists believe that anyone riding a motorcycle is taking their life into their own hands, statistics have long shown that in accidents between motorcycles and automobiles, the failure of the driver of the automobile to notice the motorcycle is involved in a majority of cases. This has been known since at least the early 1980s, when the Hurt Report, based on data collected in Los Angeles and surrounding counties, found that automobile drivers were insufficiently aware of motorcycles.

The Texas Department of Public Safety released an official statement at the end of April reminding Texas motorists of these facts and announcing Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. DPS Director Steven McCraw said in the statement that “Motorcyclists face unique safety challenges on Texas roads because they are smaller, more difficult to see and less protected than cars or trucks” and encouraged drivers to “share the road” and “look twice.” Despite this warning, a number of lawyers and other public safety advocates are concerned that this warning will not be enough to halt the worsening trend of motorcycle accidents in Texas over the past decade.

Bob Richardson, a motorcycle accident lawyer from Austin, highlighted these trends in a recent statement. Annual deaths in motorcycle accidents have nearly doubled in the last decade, he says, and that the 472 motorcycle drivers who lost their lives in 2011 accounted for 16 percent of total traffic fatalities in the state.

Other motorcycle accident lawyers in Houston and across Texas have joined Richardson in calling for greater public awareness of motorcycles. Motorcycle accident lawyers, as the principal investigators and advocates in personal injury and wrongful death litigation, are some of the strongest proponents for greater awareness of motorcycles and greater safety for cyclists.

The DPS report indicated that the statistics for cyclists are grim; motorcycle accidents are more likely than not to involve at least one fatality, and cyclists everywhere face escalating danger as long as motorists continue to be unaware of their presence. There are a few things cyclists can do to ensure their own safety. Besides wearing a helmet, statistics indicate that wearing bright and reflective clothing makes a substantial difference to a cyclist’s safety. But until motorists become more aware of motorcycles, lawyers in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio join Richardson and the DPS in warning motorists to share the road.

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