Going out for a ride on your bike can be great for your health, but it could be dangerous for your overall safety. Drivers in Texas don’t always pay adequate attention to road conditions and could make mistakes that endanger pedestrians and people on bicycles.

It only takes a few seconds of inattention due to a text message or a screaming child in the backseat for a driver to cause possibly fatal injuries to someone on a bike.

How common are bicycle crashes in Texas? How many of them result in serious injuries or deaths?

Roughly 2% of crashes involving bikes are fatal

According to an analysis of crashes from 2010 through 2016, 362 people died in crashes between bicycles and vehicles. There were 16,807 such crashes reported overall, with almost 10,000 injuries and more than 5,000 others suffering possible injuries. Many cyclist deaths during those six years involved people aged 25 or younger or those not wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

The risk for fatality or injury is relatively high for bicyclists, with those biking in areas with high speeds of vehicle traffic having a higher overall risk for severe injury and death. Researchers also noted a correlation between time of day and cyclist risk. Specifically, they found that roughly half of all cyclist fatalities in Texas occur after it becomes dark outside.

As an avid cyclist, there are certain things you can do to help yourself stay safer. These include using reflectors and lights to draw attention, especially during dusk, dawn and nighttime rides. Wearing a helmet and being careful about how and when you enter the traffic flow could all help keep you safe as well.

While you can’t stop drivers from making mistakes, you can employ defensive biking techniques to minimize your chances of a motorist crashing into you. You may find it of some relief to learn that Texas law allows cyclists seriously hurt by irresponsible drivers to file a claim against those negligent drivers to recover losses in their cases.