Jason Stephens | August 26, 2020 | Motorcycle Accidents
Sixteen percent of traffic fatalities in Texas involve motorcyclists. Given that motorcycles only make up a small percentage of the types of vehicles in Texas, they are heavily overrepresented in fatalities. Riding a motorcycle is fun, exhilarating, and sometimes an economical means of travel, but are they worth the risk?
The Risk of Riding a Motorcycle
Motorcycles are unprotected, and accidents often lead to serious injuries or fatalities. The low visual profile of a motorcycle can make it difficult for drivers to see the bike. In heavy traffic or adverse weather conditions, the risk increases. Far too many automobile drivers fail to take the care that they should in sharing the road safely with motorcycles.
Debris on the road, or slick surfaces, puddles, potholes, or unevenly paved roads pose a significant risk for those on a motorcycle. When a motorcyclist hits a road hazard, it can cause them to lose control of the bike, setting in motion a chain of events that can lead to a dangerous crash.
Maintenance of motorcycles is more critical than on automobiles because it can have a direct and substantial impact on the safety of the bike. Front and rear tires that are not in proper alignment can cause a wobble, resulting in an accident at high speeds. Brakes, tire condition, and numerous other defects can fail, and rarely can a motorcycle just pull safely to the side of the road.
New riders can lack the skill to operate a motorcycle safely. Though Texas requires a Class M license to ride a motorcycle and getting the proper license requires a safety class, it is not enough for a rider to gain all the skills they need to ride safely in any situation. Many owners only use their motorcycles for an occasional ride. That means it can take some time for them to build up the hours of experience it takes to ride safely.
Consider the Type of Motorcycle you Want
Cruiser, sport, and touring bikes are the three main categories of motorcycles. Though they share the same overall two-wheeled design, they serve different functions.
Cruisers are popular for first-time motorcycle owners, and those who only use them for occasional recreational jaunts. Cruisers usually come in on the lower end of the price spectrum, making them attractive to those new to motorcycles.
These bikes offer the most comfortable ride for longer distances and are great for those long rides you have envisioned. Touring bikes have more storage space to take the necessities along for those weekend getaways. However, they do come with a heftier price tag.
Sleek, fast, and fun to handle, these bikes are made for the adrenaline junky. For reasons that should be obvious, sportbikes are among the most dangerous motorcycles you can own. It remains unclear if the bikes themselves are inherently more dangerous, or if it is the recklessness of drivers who prefer this type of ride.
The Cost of Safety on a Motorcycle
You have considered the type of bike you want, and the financial investment it will take. Motorcycles, like all types of vehicles, come with various price tags depending on the type, model, features, and brand you prefer. However, the cost of the bike is not the end of the expenses. Safety equipment is not the place to skimp if you are buying a motorcycle.
Riding gear, at a minimum, should consist of a helmet, jacket, gloves, pants, and a jacket. Though a helmet is always a good idea, it is only the law in Texas if you are under the age of 21. If you are 21 and up, and have completed a safety course and are covered by an applicable insurance policy, you can ride without a helmet. Remember, just because you can do something does not make it a good idea.
A quality helmet with eye protection can cost from $300 to $600, and other riding gear can cost at least another $600. If you think you can save money here, remember, in the event of an accident, the riding equipment will be the only thing between your skin and the road. What gear you put on your body matters when riding a motorcycle.
Insurance Coverage for Motorcycles
Like car insurance, insurance premiums are based on your age, where you live, how often you drive, your past driving history, and where you park the motorcycle. Insuring a motorcycle is usually less expensive than a car.
Insurance is required in the state of Texas. The minimum coverage required is a liability limit of $30,000 for each injured person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident.
The Real Cost of Riding a Motorcycle
Motorcycles are generally less expensive than a vehicle, the insurance is lower, and you will save on gas. It seems easy to cost-justify the purchase of a motorcycle, but there is one last crucial element to consider. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), per mile driven, you are twenty-eight times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than in a car accident.
Not only are you more likely to die in a motorcycle crash, but serious injuries can leave you with impairments that can last a lifetime. There is no way to factor the real costs of those risks when considering a motorcycle.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident when another party was at fault or partially at fault, you need the help of a personal injury attorney in Texas experienced in helping riders recover damages from accidents.