One evening in April 2021, Eric Newell was out for a ride in Houston when his motorcycle was rear-ended by a vehicle, breaking both of his legs, dislocating his hips and injuring his back and hands. He is just one of 2,318 Texas motorcyclists seriously injured in crashes last year.
State officials report that 519 motorcycle riders died in motor vehicle crashes in 2021, a 7% increase over the previous year. And even though motorcycles comprise less than 2% of vehicles in Texas, they accounted for 12% of the fatalities in 2021.
The Texas Department of Transportation wants to remind drivers to be extra vigilant around motorcycle riders and to give them extra space and consideration on the state’s roadways.
“On average, at least one motorcycle rider dies every day in a crash on our streets and highways,” said Marc Williams, TxDOT executive director. “Each of these riders is a husband or wife, someone’s son or daughter, brother or sister or mother or father. As more and more motorcyclists take to the road to enjoy the beautiful Texas scenery and warmer weather, it’s crucial that drivers remain alert and look out for people riding motorcycles.”
In the first half of 2022, motorcycle accidents have been on the rise in Austin.
Austin police reported that 14 motorcyclists have died while driving in the city, according to the Austin American-Statesman. That’s not only an increase of 75% compared with the eight deaths tallied during the first six months of 2021, it’s also already almost equal to the 15 motorcycle deaths Austin tallied for all of last year, the Statesman shared.
Recent accidents involving motorcycles in the Greater Austin area include a local man.
On June 11, Austin Police Department responded to the 900 block of S Capital of Texas Highway around 8:22 p.m. APD says a high rate of speed was likely what caused Norden to lose control in the northbound lane. No other vehicles were involved in the crash and he died at the scene.
Another crash happened on July 28 around 3:55 p.m. at 8133 Beauregard Dr. at Lime Creek Road. Austin-Travis Co. EMS, Lake Travis Fire Rescue, Volente Fire and STARFlight responded to the collision involving a single motorcycle with one patient, who was reportedly unconscious.
ATCEMS reported later that evening that the patient was declared a trauma alert, and was transported by STARFlight to St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, with critical life threatening injuries.
Then on July 31, a motorcycle vs vehicle collision happened at 13000 N I-35 service road northbound at cross street Canyon Ridge at 1:33 a.m. ATCEMS Medics transported an adult patient as a trauma alert to St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center with critical, life-threatening injuries.
TxDOT’s annual “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign calls attention to the safety precautions motorists must take to protect motorcyclists.
TxDOT offers these life-saving safety tips for drivers to protect motorcyclists and prevent crashes:
- Take extra care when making a left turn. Always assume motorcycles are closer than they appear and avoid turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle.
- Pay special attention at intersections. A third of motorcycle fatalities happen at roadway intersections.
- Give driving your full attention. Even a momentary distraction, such as answering a phone call or changing the radio station, can have deadly consequences.
- Look twice when changing lanes. Check mirrors, check blind spots, and always use turn signals.
- Give motorcyclists room when passing them. Move over to the passing lane and don’t crowd the motorcyclist’s full lane.
- Stay back. If you’re behind a motorcycle, always maintain a safe following distance. When a motorcyclist downshifts instead of applying the brake to slow down, it can catch drivers off guard since there are no brake lights to signal reduced speed.
- Slow down. Obey posted speed limits and drive to conditions.