| Read Time: < 1 minute | Motorcycle Accidents

4 things car drivers should remember about motorcycles

Many car and truck drivers have never even ridden on a motorcycle, much less driven one on their own. This can lead to misunderstandings and mistakes on the highway, and these can turn into deadly accidents. To help prevent this, here are four things that drivers should always try to remember about motorcycles: Riders do not always use their brakes, even when they are intentionally slowing down. They may just downshift and let go of the throttle. Do not count on a brake light to warn you that the bike is slowing. Your blind spots are huge for a motorcycle. The entire bike can be hidden by that pillar supporting the back corner of your roof. Always double-check before switching lanes. Motorcycles are often closer to you than they appear. They are very small and very fast. The size, in particular, causes a lot of problems when you’re used to gauging how far away cars and trucks are. Don’t cut off a motorcycle. Give the rider extra space. Motorcycles deserve the entire lane. Don’t try to drive next to them or pass in the same lane. If a motorcyclist sees debris in the road, while you may be able to hit it with your car, he or she may swerve around it to avoid a crash. The biker needs all of the room in the lane. Respect bikers and give them the same space you’d give another car. These four tips can help prevent a lot of dangerous motorcycle accidents, but the risk still remains high on roads all over Texas. Riders who get hit and injured must know all of their legal rights to financial compensation. Source: Motorcycle Safety Foundation, “For Car Drivers,” accessed March 21, 2018

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Motorcycle Accidents

2 important motorcycle helmet safety tips

Your motorcycle helmet is your best line of defense against suffering a fatal injury in the event of a collision. For this reason, the selection of your helmet should be taken very seriously. Here is some advice that all motorcyclists should follow pertaining to their helmets. Don’t let your friends borrow your helmet. The memory foam inside most helmets is designed to conform to your head and fit it perfectly. The snug fit of your helmet is absolutely essential to keeping you safe. As such, make sure your helmet fits the right way, and don’t loan your helmet to a friend, especially if your friend has a bigger head than you, as your helmet might not fit you anymore after your friend returns it. Make sure the visor is appropriate. A tinted visor is great for the day, but if you’re riding at night a tinted visor could limit your ability to see. If you’re doing a lot of nighttime riding, be certain that your helmet is equipped with an alternative clear lens visor that you can use during low light driving conditions. A good helmet can save your life and prevent serious injury in many cases, but not in all situations. If you got hurt in a motorcycle accident due to no fault of your own, you might want to investigate your legal rights and options. In some cases, the at-fault party who causes a motorcycle crash will be financially liable to cover the costs and expenses related to the injured party’s medical care and other damages.

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Motorcycle Accidents

Fatality rates and the real risk on a motorcycle

A motorcycle offers unparalleled freedom. There is something exciting about the open road, the feeling of the wind and the exposure to the landscape that makes you feel like you’re really a part of it — not just passing through it. However, that freedom does not come without risk. Statistics paint a fairly bleak picture, especially when looking at fatality rates. For instance, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatalities went up by 8.3 percent between 2014 and 2015. That was a jump from 4,594 to 4,976 fatalities. When you consider that there are around 8.6 million registered motorcycles in the United States — that statistic applies to both commercial and private vehicles in 2015 — the odds of being killed in an accident are 1 in1,728. Since some registered motorcycles likely never see pavement during any given year, the true odds when looking at the number of bikes on the road could be even higher. To put this in perspective, when comparing the motorcycle fatality rates to those for passenger cars, the 2014 statistics show that people on motorcycles are six to seven times are likely to be killed in an accident. If you adjust for vehicle miles traveled, that jumps up to 27 times as likely. Clearly, the risk is serious. While motorcyclists can take some steps to reduce their own personal risk, such as wearing a helmet and observing the speed limit, they cannot avoid all accidents. The families of those who die or suffer serious injuries need to know what legal options they have to seek compensation.

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| Read Time: 1 minute | Motorcycle Accidents

Texas man goes to prison after purposefully hitting motorcycle

A Texas man will go to jail for 15 years after he purposefully swerved his car into a passing motorcycle. A couple on the motorcycle was attempting to make a pass, when video footage caught the man swerve directly into their path. Earlier this month, a trial by jury convicted the man of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The accident happened in October 2015, and the 68-year-old driver has been in jail since that time awaiting the completion of his trial. The man will stay in Hood County Jail until he is transferred to a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison to complete the rest of his sentence. The driver might not have been convicted if it weren’t for video footage recorded by another motorcyclist that had been following the couple. The video shows the motorcycle passing the 68-year-old man’s vehicle. Then, the vehicle jerked suddenly to the left and collided with the bike. Both the motorcycle driver and his girlfriend crashed onto the asphalt road and suffered injuries as a result. The motorcyclists accused the man of striking them on purpose after the accident. In response, he yelled, “I don’t care!” But later, he offered an explanation in court that he swerved because of a spider bite. Video footage during a serious car accident can be very helpful to bring the at-fault party to criminal justice. Sometimes, Texas residents have “dashcams” that record roadway activity. Other times, video footage can be pulled from municipal surveillance cameras placed at intersections. This footage can also be used in civil court by car accident victims seeking financial compensation from an at-fault party for their injuries and other damages. Source: Chron, “Texas man who swerved into motorcycle in viral video sent to prison for crash,” John Boyd and Heather Leighton, April 03, 2017

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Motorcycle Accidents

Tips to Avoid Distracted Drivers On Your Next Motorcycle Ride

Riding through Texas on a motorcycle is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Once you make it out of the city limits of Waco, you have endless miles of open road available. Unfortunately, like with most things, riding a motorcycle comes with risk. The weather can suddenly change, causing the roads to become dangerous. A deer can leap out in front of you and cause you to lose control. And, the most dangerous, are the cars and trucks cruising down the street, operated by drivers that think multitasking behind the wheel is a good idea. In general, cars and trucks are the greatest threat to you every time you climb on your bike. While it is not always possible to avoid a collision with a reckless driver, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of being in an accident. For some tips to avoid distracted drivers, read below. Stay to the right By staying to the right on a two-lane road, even when you come to a stop, you can give yourself enough room to avoid a collision with distracted driver. When people are playing with the radio, checking their phones or engaging in other activities, they tend to drift. By avoiding the middle of the lane and staying to the right, you can create a nice cushion between yourself and oncoming traffic. Avoid multi-lane highways Yes, I-35 might be the quickest way out of town, but those multi-lane highways can be nothing but trouble. You will have cars coming at you from multiple directions and it is likely that fewer than half of those drivers will see you, even if they are not distracted. If possible, take the back roads out of town and take the chance of having one of those winding ranch roads all to yourself. Light it up The best thing you can do to avoid becoming a victim of a distracted driver is to make yourself as visible as possible. This might mean wearing a brightly colored jacket with reflective panels instead of your standard black leathers, or it could mean giving in to that secret temptation to buy the crazy colored helmet you have been eyeing in the shop. Also, do not be afraid to use those high-beams. It might irritate drivers, but at least they will see you. In addition to the above tips, be extra careful when a vehicle is coming at you from the side or pulling out from a parking lot. Always assume that you are invisible to every single individual operating a car or truck. Doing so will make you more cautious and keep you safe.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Motorcycle Accidents

Lane Splitting: Is It Legal in Texas?

The concept of lane splitting is simple: It is a tactic that motorcyclists use to pass stopped or jammed traffic. Motorcyclists and other motorists tend to feel passionately about this practice (also known as white-lining and riding the stripe) one way or the other. No matter how you feel about riding the stripe, it is NOT legal in Texas. If you were injured in an accident because someone else was lane splitting or engaging in another type of dangerous behavior on the roadways, you deserve compensation for your damages. A Texas motorcycle accident lawyer can help you get the justice you deserve. The Arguments in Favor of Lane Splitting Many motorcycle riders believe that lane splitting is not only safe but that it makes good sense as well. They argue that even when there may not be enough room for a car to move forward when a two-lane interstate comes to a stop, a motorcycle can easily fit between the cars in both lanes. Proponents argue that this is safe because the cars aren’t moving anyway, and because it helps to reduce road congestion. You don’t have a bunch of bikes sitting in traffic and taking up space. It’s also harder for motorcyclists to stop in traffic since they have to constantly put their feet down and hold the bike up. It’s easy for a driver to spend an hour inching forward, stopping, and starting, but it can be very hard for a biker. The Risks of Lane Splitting Lane splitting may sound like it makes sense when done with care. However, this practice also poses a variety of risks to motorcycle riders and other motorists on the road. One of the most noted risks is that other motorists might not expect it or notice a motorcycle coming up on them between lanes. This could lead to a vehicle turning in front of a motorcycle rider or side-swiping them. If traffic is at a full stop, this practice could even lead to a so-called “dooring” accident. Dooring occurs when a driver opens their door into the path of an oncoming rider. Depending on how fast the rider is going, splitting lanes can also make it more difficult for motorcyclists to avoid collisions. How Does Texas Law Treat Lane Splitting? The practice of lane splitting is not specifically allowed under Texas law. In fact, only one state has made it legal, and that’s California. However, Texas law does not specifically call out this practice as illegal, either. Nevertheless, according to Texas Transportation Code § 545.060, motorists must remain within a single lane unless they are making a legal lane change. This makes lane splittingIt’s technically considered illegal passing in Texas. The police could pull you over and give you a ticket for failing to maintain your lane. If you are riding very quickly or dangerously, reckless driving charges could also factor in. If you are ticketed under this section of the Transportation Code, you face a fine of $175. If you caused or contributed to an accident while lane splitting, you could be considered negligent. That could make you liable for any damages that result. Even worse, if someone else caused you to have a motorcycle accident while you were lane splitting, you could lose some or all of the compensation to which you would otherwise have been entitled. Will Texas Make Lane Splitting Legal? Texas did attempt to make it this practice legal in 2016. Senate Bill 288 was produced, and, had it passed, lane-splitting would have become legal in traffic going under 20 mph. This law would also have specified that bikers could go only 5 mph faster than the traffic around them. However, that bill never got out of committee and the Senate never voted on it. Legislators may revisit the issue in an upcoming session. However, at this time, lane-splitting remains illegal in Texas. Contact a Texas Motorcycle Accident Lawyer If You Need Help No matter what your perspective on lane splitting might be, it is important for riders to understand all of the motorcycle laws and to adhere to them so that if another driver causes an accident, there’s no way to say that you were at fault. You may then be able to seek compensation. If you suffered injuries in a motor vehicle collision, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Zimmerman Law Firm. We assist injury accident victims in Waco, Austin, Killeen, Round Rock, and throughout Texas. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and case review with one of our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers in Texas. Source: Motorcycle.com, “Lane Splitting in Texas,” accessed Nov. 30, 2017

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Is it Actually Wise to Lay Down a Motorcycle?

People often talk about laying a motorcycle down in an effort to avoid a crash. It is typically seen as a last-ditch effort. You see a truck pull out into the road in front of you. The driver never saw your motorcycle. You lay the bike down to avoid a direct collision at speed. But is this really wise? There are some situations where it can help. You may be able to take the impact with your legs and body, for instance, rather than your head. Since two broken legs may heal more effectively than a traumatic brain injury, laying the bike down can decrease the lasting issues you face — even when it will not prevent injuries entirely. However, experts do note that you are often better off to stay on the bike. For one thing, your tires are designed to slow your bike down and grip the road. The metal side of the bike and your leather jacket are not. You may actually cut more speed before the crash if you just hammer the brakes and stay on the bike. In addition, some accidents can be avoided. Are you better off to lay the bike down on the pavement and slide into the accident or to turn your bike and swerve around the other vehicle on the shoulder? Obviously, every situation is different, but you may be better off to avoid a crash. No matter what, if this is a decision you have to make, you’re likely going to suffer some injuries. Make sure you fully understand your legal options.

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