Archive for the ‘Motorcycle Accidents’ Category

Retired Soldier on Trial For Death in Texas Motorcycle Accident

According to the Killeen Daily News, a 50-year-old retired soldier is on trial in Texas for killing a motorcycle rider when driving home drunk. The driver was reportedly traveling westbound on Westcliff road at the time when he struck and killed the 47-year-old motorcyclist.  He reportedly hit the motorcycle from the rear, near where the road intersected with Beta Circle. The motorist was reportedly intoxicated at the time and fled the scene of the accident.

Our San Antonio motorcycle accident lawyers know that motorcycle riders are at serious risk on the roads, accounting for 13 percent of highway deaths despite representing only three percent of drivers on the nation’s roadways. In fact, as the National Transportation Safety Board reported, an average of 12 motorcycle riders are killed every day. Tragically, this recent accident fits the pattern of so many motorcycle crashes, which are often caused by motorists in passenger cars.

Motorcycle Riders at Risk

The Killeen Daily News reports that the rider was thrown from his motorcycle after being struck by the car.  The motorcyclist was thrown onto the windshield of the Toyota Camry.

Instead of stopping to help the injured motorcycle rider, who suffered a serious brain injury, the driver drove off in his Toyota Camry and went home to his back yard where his wife reportedly found him drinking heavily. The man claims his post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) activated his fight-or-flight response and caused him to leave the scene of the accident. However, this is not a valid excuse for fleeing the scene of a crash, and the evidence that the motorist left the scene will be used against him in trial.

Other evidence linking the motorcyclist to the crash includes DNA lab tests and blood samples on the windshield of the Camry. The fact that the motorcyclist was thrown onto the windshield thus was a major contributing factor in his death and will also potentially be useful in helping to bring his alleged killer to justice.

Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents like this are far too common. While drunken driving significantly increases the chance of any type of accident occurring, motorcyclists are far more likely to die when hit by a drunk driver than those in other passenger vehicles.

The accident was also a rear-end crash, and rear-end accidents are another very common cause of both fatal and serious injury crashes that harm motorcyclists. Motorcycle riders may be especially likely to become involved in tailgating accidents because drivers often don’t give riders sufficient space, misjudge the speed that motorcyclists are going, or fail to understand the impact that a change in road conditions can have on a motorcycle rider.  When drivers tailgate or follow too closely behind a motorcyclist, they can be held responsible if their actions cause an accident. This is true even when the motorist is completely sober, too, if he or she has behaved in a careless or unsafe way that puts the motorcyclists life in jeopardy.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a free case evaluation.

May Focus in Texas: Reducing Motorcycle Accidents

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month, and this important initiative couldn’t come at a better time with recent GHSA data revealing a nine percent increase in motorcycle deaths in 2012 as compared with 2011. Motorcycle Awareness Month is an effort to stop the rising number of deaths by educating motorcycle riders and drivers on safety tips.

Our San Antonio, TX motorcycle accident lawyers know that the motorcycle accident fatality rate has increased in 14 of the last 15 years, even as the fatality rate for all other kinds of accidents has declined. This year, however, the increase in the death rate even surprised experts by surpassing predicted increases. With more people dying in accidents, Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is more important than ever before.

Motorcycle Accident Risks

In a recent press release, NHTSA illustrated the need for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month with some troubling facts:

  • 4,612 motorcycle riders died in the U.S. in 2011.
  • Motorcycles represent three percent of all cars on the roads but 14 percent of total highway deaths take place on motorcycles.
  • Motorcycle riders are 30 times as likely to die in a crash on a per mile basis than occupants of passenger cars.
  • Head injury is the top cause of motorcycle accident fatalities.
  • Alcohol use is also a leading reason for motorcycle accidents to occur.

The high death rate among motorcycle riders has many causes, including the fact that motorcycles don’t provide any real protection when a crash happens. One big issue, however, is that drivers often don’t see or pay attention to motorcycles or don’t know how to share the roads with bikes in a safe way.

Safety Tips

As part of the Motorcycle Awareness Month efforts, NHTSA offers advice to both motorcycle riders and to drivers. Riders are told to:

  • Never operate a bike while distracted.
  • Never operate a bike while drunk.
  • Use protective gear including DOT-compliant helmets.
  • Wear reflective tape and bright colors.
  • Avoid riding in bad weather conditions.
  • Always use turn signals and use hand signals as well to draw more attention.
  • Stay positioned in a visibile spot in your lane so other drivers will see you.

Drivers, on the other hand, are advised by NHTSA to:

  • Never drive while distracted.
  • Leave the full lane width to the motorcycle rider instead of sharing the lane. This will allow the motorcycle rider room to maneuver.
  • Signal before merging or changing lanes so that motorcyclists can anticipate your position.
  • Check carefully for motorcycles in your blind spots at intersections and when changing lanes or entering a lane of traffic.
  • Remember that motorcycle turn signals do not turn off automatically so you cannot always assume a motorcycle rider is turning on the basis of a signal alone.
  • Leave sufficient stopping distance when following a motorcycle and never tailgate.
  • Be sensitive to the fact that motorcycles are affected more than cars to potholes, uneven pavement, railroad crossings and other obstacles or problems on roads.

If drivers and motorcycle riders choose to follow NHTSA’s tips and if all drivers of all vehicles focus on motorcycle safety during this Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, hopefully motorcycle riders will be safer this summer as they head out on their bikes.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a confidential consultation.