Motorcycle Safety in Texas
In recent years, motorcycles and motor scooters have become a more popular mode of transportation with motorists. With the increase of motorcycle use and of mopeds, however, comes the likelihood of accidents.
According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle-related fatalities increased from 4,518 to 4,957 during the years of 2010-2012. That’s about a 10% increase in just 3 years. Those numbers also coincide with about 13% increase in the number of injuries sustained by motorcyclists in that same period of time; up from 82,000 to 93,000. All while the total number of motorcyclists has risen about 5% from 8,009,503 to 8,437,502. All these stats were compiled by the NHTSA’s statistical analyzing programs, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the General Estimates Systems (GES).
With more motorcyclists on the road, it has become even important for passenger vehicle motorists to pay better attention to motorcyclists. This is not saying that it is always a passenger vehicle's fault when accidents do occur. Some of the blame does at times fall on the motorcyclist as well. To this end, a lot of states have made it mandatory for persons wanting to ride a motorcycle to take a specific motorcycle safety course to be able to operate a motorcycle.
Sadly, even with these safety courses and improving people’s understanding of sharing the road with a motorcyclist, accidents are going to happen. That’s why 19 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have mandatory helmet laws. Unfortunately, there are 28 states that require only some motorcyclists to wear helmets and 3 states, Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire that have no laws in regards to helmet use. Even though more states are requiring riders to wear helmets, the percentage of motorcyclist fatalities due to helmet-less riders is staying the same. There was a 1% decrease from 42% to 41% during the years 2010 to 2011, but that percentage went right back up to 42% in 2012. This means that from 2010-2012, the number of fatalities caused by helmet-less motorcyclists rose from 1,868 to 2,036.
Here are a few tips on how to drive safely around motorcycles. Practice these safe driving habits to prevent unwanted and unnecessary road accidents. Increase the following distance whenever there a motorcyclist is ahead of the vehicle. Always try to make eye contact with a motorcyclist when at an intersection, check and then double-check your blind spots very well when changing lanes. As always, just be a courteous driver.
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