Motorcycle riding can be a dangerous form of transportation if one drives recklessly. Without a physical barrier, a motorcyclist involved in a crash will experience much more severe injuries than someone driving in a car. There are other factors that make motorcycle riding more dangerous than car driving. Motorcycles are less stable than four-wheeled vehicles, and they are also less visible, which makes motorcyclists more prone to collisions.
Motorcycle Crashes Can Lead to Significant Injuries
While motorcyclists make up three percent of all registered vehicles, they account for over 13 percent of all traffic fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in an average year, there are more than 100,000 motorcycle injuries and 5,000 motorcycle fatalities in the United States. In fact, nearly all motorcycle accidents result in injuries to the riders. Forty-five percent of the crashes result in severe injuries.
Most motorcycle crashes happen during short trips, like shopping, running errands, visiting friends, or while on brief recreational rides. They usually happen toward the beginning of the ride. The average speed of a motorcycle prior to a crash is about 30 mph and 21 mph at the time of impact.
Risk Factors for Motorcycle Riders
Over many years, the NHTSA regularly collects crash data from states and evaluates trends. There are long established crash and fatality risk factors that increase the incidents of crashes, such as the following:
Alcohol Impairment: The NHTSA evaluates crash data each year to identify trends and understand risk factors. According to the NHTSA, alcohol impairment is a major contributing factor in many fatal motorcycle crashes. In a recent year, motorcycle riders had blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of 0.08 or higher in 29 percent of fatal accidents.
Failure to Wear a Helmet: Although this is not a cause of motorcycle crashes, failure to wear a helmet will drastically increase the chance of injury or death. Each state has its own laws regarding whether helmet use is mandatory or not. In Alabama, all motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets.
Speeding: Speeding while riding a motorcycle accounts for a large number of single-vehicle crashes. About one-third of motorcycle crashes are single-vehicle accidents. This is more than the frequency for car crashes, which is about 20 percent. About half of these crashes are caused by riders maneuvering curves at excessive speeds. Excessive speed also causes more serious injuries.
Invalid License: Many motorcyclists fail to get specific training for riding a motorcycle and also fail to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license. Inexperience and bad riding habits cause many motorcycle accidents. One study found that almost half of all motorcycle crashes involved riders with less than five months of experience. Over 25 percent of those involved in fatal motorcycle crashes did not have motorcycle endorsements.
What Causes Motorcycle Crashes?
Many people believe that motorcycle riders and their behaviors cause most motorcycle crashes. They see riders weave in and out of traffic and conclude that they ride recklessly and cause crashes; however, this is not the case.
Studies show that motorcycle crashes are often caused by other drivers. According to the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida, other motorists contribute to 60 percent of motorcycle crashes. Some causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Drunk driving
- Making unsafe lane changes
- Sudden stopping
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
How can Motorcycle Accidents be Prevented?
Motorcyclists can dress more conspicuously in light-colored helmets and bright clothing as opposed to traditional black helmets and leather.
It is important that motorcyclists follow the rules of the road. One of the most frequent cause of crashes is failing to yield the right-of-way. The most common situation is when a vehicle is making a left turn and pulls in front of a motorcycle going straight. This happens because people in cars and trucks often do not see motorcycles due to their small size.
Another issue is that a driver will be more inclined to yield to a car or truck going 45 mph as opposed to a motorcyclist going the same speed. The driver might also think the motorcycle is further away than it truly is because it appears further away due to its small size. All motorists need to focus while driving.
What Should a Motorcyclist Do After a Crash Occurs?
If a motorcycle rider is in a crash, there is a high chance that they will have injuries. Even if the crash is covered under insurance, it is possible that the policy coverage has gaps. Medical care and loss of wages can diminish a settlement negotiated by an insurance company.
If a driver’s negligence caused the crash, then they are legally responsible for damages. It is possible to file an insurance claim based on the driver’s policy or file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation to cover costs, including hospital bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
It is very important that evidence of the crash is collected and preserved. A motorcyclist should obtain the following:
- Police reports
- Surveillance footages
- Statements by eyewitnesses
- Photographs of the scene, such as damage and injuries
- Medical records
In addition, it is possible for professionals to reconstruct the accident and for expert testimonies to provide explanations of how the crash happened and whether or not it was avoidable. Evidence is necessary because it provides details on how the crash occurred, and it also provides details on the severity of the crash. Some important evidence includes:
- Hospital records
- Bills from care providers
- Documents establishing missed work
- Evaluation of potential future earnings
- Medical testimonies regarding recovery
Obtaining evidence is a crucial step after an accident. For help with collecting evidence, a victim should speak to a lawyer right away.
Huntsville Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Protect Clients Injured in Serious Motorcycle Accidents
If you incurred injuries in a motorcycle accident, you may be eligible to collect compensation. Our Huntsville motorcycle accident lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. represent innocent motorcycle accident victims. We can help explain what can be done to seek compensation and get justice. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 256-539-3110. Located in Huntsville and Athens, Alabama, we serve clients throughout North Alabama, Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.