By their very nature, motorcycles are far less crashworthy and stable than closed vehicles, and they are harder for other drivers to see.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 80 percent of all motorcycle collisions result in significant injuries or death to motorcyclists. In addition, motorcyclists accounted for approximately 14 percent of all crash-related fatalities. They were nearly 29 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle miles traveled.
Yet, while motorcycles tend to bring up a significant amount of chatter regarding the dangers of riding these bikes, the question for many remains: Are these bikes indeed that unsafe? Or is there a way to enjoy the thrill of the ride while still ensuring riders do so safely? This post covers motorcycle dangers, some of the risk factors that contribute to these accidents, and what legal remedies you have if you suffer harm in a motorcycle collision.
The Design of the Motorcycle
It is not surprising that a motorcycle does not have the same protective structure that motor vehicles provide their motorists. It also does not have the same safety features as a motor vehicle, such as seatbelts, airbags, and crumple zones designed to protect a driver in an accident and likely save their life.
Consequently, bikers must exercise more care on the road than other motorists, especially since a motorcycle is open, and the rider only has a helmet to protect themselves in a collision.
Other Drivers on the Road
Another aspect that plays a large role in a motorcyclist’s safety is the other users of the road. According to federal studies, approximately three-fourths of all motorcycle accidents result from another vehicle hitting a rider.
As a result, while motorcycle accidents can lead to debilitating injuries, these accidents are no more common than other types of accidents. However, if other individuals on the road cannot operate their vehicles safely, it can cause a motorcyclist to endure catastrophic consequences.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 5,000 motorcyclists lose their lives every year in a motorcycle accident. And while these crashes can occur for many reasons, they frequently result because of the following:
#1. Inadequate or Dangerous Road Conditions
Motorcycles are not only smaller than other motor vehicles, but they have less stability, which makes it harder for them to handle dangerous road conditions or poor road designs. For these reasons, defective pavement, improperly marked intersections, potholes, poorly lit areas, gravel, and uneven pavement can lead to fatal crashes.
#2. Blind Spots
Although cars have mirrors so drivers can see alongside and behind them, various blind spots surround the vehicle. These blind spots often make it hard for a car to see a motorcyclist behind them and make it dangerous for riders when the car suddenly changes lanes without signaling.
#3. Left-Hand Turns
These turns can lead to horrifying motorcycle accidents and often occur when an oncoming motorcycle is not recognized by a driver making a left-hand turn. As a result, the motorcyclist is hit by the turning motorist as they proceed through an intersection.
#4. Reckless Driving (Speeding and Intoxicated Driving)
The more common causes of motorcycle accidents include reckless driving, intoxicated driving, and excessive speeding. In fact, driving while under the influence of alcohol is one of the most significant contributing factors to serious motorcycle collisions today.
This reckless driving also results when a motorist drives aggressively, such as tailgating a motorcyclist or failing to stop at stop signs or red lights. Or they are not bothering to pay attention to the road because they are distracted by other things such as their cellphones or eating while driving.
#5. Head-on Collisions
These accidents frequently happen when a motorist heads onto a one-way street going the wrong way or veers into an oncoming lane and runs into a biker. Sadly, these head-on accidents are known for their catastrophic results, including severe injuries, extensive property damage, and in many cases, even death.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Although motorcycle accident injuries can be grave, the severity of these injuries will often depend on the circumstances of the crash.
However, in general, some of the more common injuries that tend to result from a motorcycle accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Internal injuries, such as organ damage or bleeding
- Facial trauma, including eye injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Deep lacerations
- Wrongful death
Many of these injuries can lead to life-long medical expenses that can financially hurt not only the victim but their whole family. That is why, following a motorcycle collision, motorcyclists should reach out to an experienced legal professional that can help them fight for their rights and go after the total compensation they deserve, ensuring they can get the medical treatments they require now and in the future.
Why Motorcycles Are Worth the Risk?
Ultimately, whether motorcyclists can be safe on the road depends heavily on the behavior of others. Large trucks and passenger vehicles can pose a severe threat to motorcyclists, especially when traveling at high speeds.
However, for many riders, this risk is worth it, especially because of the numerous benefits that motorcycles provide. For instance:
Motorcycles Cost Less
Driving a motor vehicle is costly, and many people cannot afford it. Yet, these individuals still have to get around. That is why many people today choose to get a motorcycle and use it as their main means of transportation because they cost considerably less than buying a motor vehicle.
Plus, when these riders take a motorcycle maintenance class, it can enable them to maintain the bike themselves, cutting their maintenance costs considerably, helping ensure the bike remains well-tuned, and reducing their overall travel costs.
Motorcycles Increase Environmental Awareness
One of the top reasons motorcyclists get on their bikes is because they often feel in tune with their surroundings. These riders get to experience nature, handle the different elements, such as sunshine or rain, and enjoy the beauty around them.
Consequently, many riders take risks associated with a motorcycle simply because it is more engaging than riding a car.
Motorcycles Provide Convenience in Crowded Metropolitan Areas
In large cities, having a car is simply not convenient. Between traffic and the cost of fuel, having a motor vehicle often results in more stress than it is worth. For these reasons, many people choose a motorcycle to get around.
Not only can having a bike save you time because you can cut through traffic, but these vehicles are more fuel-efficient than a car, easier to park (especially on busy streets), and they will often end up costing less in parking fees.
What Are Your Rights Following a Motorcycle Accident?
Unfortunately, even though motorcycles provide people with several benefits when parts on the bike fail or other motorists decide to take part in negligent or reckless behavior, crashes can happen. However, if you suffered significant injuries in a motorcycle crash due to another person’s wrongful actions, you may recover compensation.
In general, this compensation falls into two main categories: economic and non-economic damages.
These damages refer to the actual losses from an accident.
These losses are easy to quantify and generally include:
- Past and current medical expenses related to doctor visits, prescription medications, hospital stays, surgeries, emergency services, and other medical treatments
- Future ongoing medical care
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Personal property repair
- Domestic replacement services
- Rehabilitative services, including physical and occupational therapy
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
These damages refer to the more subjective losses that result from an accident, which makes them harder to quantify.
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life
- Loss of reputation
- Limb loss
Pursuing Wrongful Death Claims
Sadly, too many motorcycle crashes result in fatalities that can forever change a family’s life. That is why a wrongful death claim allows family members of the deceased to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for fatal collisions, accidental deaths, or intentional actions.
How Can an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help You Following a Motorcycle Collision?
Although many people believe that motorcycles are not safe vehicles, the truth is that most of these motorcycle collisions are due to another motorist’s reckless driving or negligent behavior.
However, in these situations, these riders should not have to deal with these devastating consequences by themselves. Instead, they deserve compensation and justice for their injuries and losses. Fortunately, with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney on their side, they will not have to pursue these financial damages alone.
Once you hire a motorcycle accident lawyer, they can:
- Take on your challenging legal claim, determine if you have a viable case, and figure out what legal options you can pursue.
- Answer all your questions and concerns and provide you with the legal support you require during this difficult time.
- Investigate the motorcycle collision and obtain the documents and evidence necessary to prove liability and damages.
- Figure out who was at fault for your injuries and losses and hold all those liable accountable.
- Hire experts to validate your claim, such as engineers, accident re constructionists, and financial specialists.
- Prepare legal documents properly and file them with the appropriate court before time expires.
- Handle settlement negotiations with the other side and go after the just offer you require.
- Proceed to take your case to trial if the other side won’t get you the money you need, and fight fiercely for a successful resolution to your suit.
Motorcycles can be safe, especially if motorists can share the road safely. However, if you or a loved one have suffered harm in a motorcycle accident due to another’s careless actions, do not wait to secure the legal help you need.
Instead, contact an experienced and knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney today for a free case evaluation, and find out how a legal team can help you fight for your rights.