Statistics show that motorcyclists suffer heavily when involved in car accidents. In fact, of the 36,096 motor vehicle fatalities in 2019, 5,014 were motorcycle riders.
To ensure everyone’s safety, drivers and motorcyclists are encouraged to share the road by driving defensively. Most importantly, motorcyclists should wear DOT-compliant helmets, dress appropriately for the ride, and ride sober.
Riding a motorcycle can be incredibly exhilarating, as seen by the number of riders on the road. Cruising the open road is a great attractor to thousands of people. Still, any accident on a motorcycle is 29 times more fatal for motorcyclists than passengers in a motor vehicle, and motorists are four times more likely to be injured. Controlling a motorcycle safely involves balance, quick judgment, and coordination.
Facts About Motorcycle Crashes
When compared to cars, trucks, or vans, there are fewer motorcycles than motor vehicles. As a result, many drivers often overlook motorcycles around them.
When a motorcycle is in an accident with a car, the motor vehicle driver is often responsible. It seems clear that motorcycle safety education needs to be more pervasive.
Drivers often hit motorcycles for the following common reasons:
- Drivers just don’t see them: motorcycles are much smaller relative to motor vehicles
- Drivers fail to anticipate motorcyclists movements
- Motorcycles can get obscured in a driver’s blind spot or be hidden by a large vehicle
- Drivers are distracted and not paying attention
Education for drivers should address all of these problems that could potentially result in a fatal motorcycle accident.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Not all motorcycle accidents are caused by the motorcyclist. The majority of them happen when another driver is negligent and reckless. Some common causes for motorcycle crashes are:
- Distracted driving
- Texting and driving
- Failure to yield
- Illegal passing
- Unsafe lane changes
- Driving under the influence
- Hazardous road conditions
- Bad weather
- Inexperienced riders
- Motorcycle defects
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcycle riders who are 50 and older make up almost 40% of motorcycle-related fatalities. Many are “re-entry” riders, meaning they rode when they were in their twenties and decided to revisit it in their later years. Along with the diminished physical capabilities of aging, riders face traffic congestion, more powerful motorcycles, and increasingly distracted drivers.
If you consider riding a motorcycle again, make sure you are willing to relearn old skills and learn some new ones.
Safety Gear and Training
Possibly the most essential safety gear that a rider can invest in is their helmet. Helmets are thought to be 37% effective in reducing fatal injuries, and thousands of motorcyclists who died were not wearing one.
When shopping for a helmet, drivers should look for a full-coverage crash helmet for the utmost protection. Always look for a DOT sticker so you know that the helmet meets the safety standards required by law. Don’t try to save money by buying a used helmet. They don’t work if they have been through a wreck. Not all states have a helmet law, but you should always wear one—state laws or not.
Any type of motorcycle accident is considered a violent event—more than 80 percent of collisions result in severe injury or death.
Other motorcycle safety protocols include:
- Always pick a bike that suits your needs. Super sporty bikes have higher death rates than cruisers or standard bikes
- Consider antilock brakes
- Take a motorcycle safety course or a refresher course
- Understand the rules of the road
- Always take greater care when transporting a passenger
- Always drive defensively
- Be aware of potential hazards like oil slicks, potholes, puddles, manhole covers, railroad tracks, gravel, and debris
- Never drink and ride
- Don’t speed
- Always assume that other motorists cannot see you and try to be more visible
- Drive with headlights day or night
- Don’t weave in and out of traffic or ride between lanes
- Wear reflective clothing that is durable enough to handle a slide
- Wear boots that cover your ankles
- Wear goggles or a face shield
Contact an Attorney if You Have Been in a Motorcycle Accident
Unfortunately for motorcyclists, careless drivers often fail to be reasonably cautionary towards motorcycle riders.
If you or someone you love has suffered severe injury from a motorcycle accident, you should immediately call an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. You could be potentially facing a long road to recovery. A professional Atlanta motorcycle lawyer will fight to protect your rights and get you the compensation that you deserve.
At Henningsen Injury Attorneys, we are available any time, day or night. We work hard to provide skilled legal representation for injured accident victims. If your life has taken a turn for the worse due to a motorcycle collision, don’t settle for anything but the best.