Motorcycle accidents can be highly hazardous and frightful. When involved in motorcycle crashes, many people are unaware of what they should do. However, it is very important to act quickly and take a few post-accident steps immediately to protect your legal rights, thus making sure that you get the necessary help afterward.
In the previous year, motorcycles accounted for 4% of all registered vehicles in the United States while making up to 15% of all deaths due to accidents, according to a report. An estimated 87,000 motorcyclists were severely injured in accidents in 2021. Riding a motorcycle is quite risky, but following some safety precautions can significantly reduce the number of casualties and deaths.
This article will walk you through some of the important issues related to motorcycle accidents, their most common types, the necessary steps to take after you get into a motorcycle accident, and how to stay safe and protected while riding a bike.
Why is Riding a Motorcycle Risky?
Motorcycles are much lighter-weighted and smaller vehicles than trucks and cars, consisting of two wheels and offering no enclosure to the rider in a reinforced box. All these characteristics make a motorcycle more prone to road accidents than other vehicles in the traffic. Compared to other vehicles, motorcycle accidents are more likely to result in severe injuries, sometimes death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that a motorcyclist is 30 times more likely to get involved in a road accident than someone driving or riding a car or other passenger vehicle. A few risks unique to motorcycle riding include:
- Being less visible to cars: Due to their smaller size, motorcycles often get concealed in traffic by objects on or off the road. They are usually not clearly visible to the cars, especially at intersections.
- Road hazards: Petty things like road debris, uneven road surfaces, wet pavements, or other small objects may cause no effects on the cars but are more likely to cause serious motorcycle accidents.
- No barriers between riders and the road: Unlike cars, buses, etc., motorcycles are not covered with reinforced metal boxes. Motorcycles also lack seatbelts and airbags. Therefore, motorcycles are recommended to wear helmets while riding, and those who don’t are more likely to get involved in fatal road accidents.
- Less stability: Vehicles with two wheels are less stable than those with four or more wheels. Significantly during swerving or emergency braking, motorcycles’ front wheels can wobble, thus becoming the reason for road accidents.
- High-risk behavior: People owning heavy and powerful bikes can encourage high-risk behaviors like fast acceleration, speeding, and performing risky stunts that lead to severe accidents.
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Common Kinds of Motorcycle Accidents
Some of the most familiar types of motorcycle road accidents include the following:
Cars turning left or right.
Collisions between turning cars and motorcycles contribute to the most common type and deadly motorcycle accidents. Cars turning at intersections are more likely to strike passing or oncoming motorcycles. The common reasons for the collision are:
- Driver is distracted
- The driver was unable to judge the speed of the passing bike.
- Low visibility
Motorcycles are the most vulnerable to collisions with other vehicles and fixed objects such as trees, guard rails, fences, etc. The reason behind this is that motorcycles do not cover the riders with a metal box and do not have airbags like cars and trucks. The most common type of motorcycle collisions are:
Head-on collisions: These types of crashes account for the most common type of motorcycle accidents because of the mismatched force involved when the motorcycle hits the car or other more oversized vehicles and also because of the absence of safety features on the motorcycles.
According to the 2020 report by NHTSA, over 2500 fatal motorcycle accidents included other moving vehicles, where the cars struck the bikes in the front.
Collisions with fixed objects: Motorcycle riders are also likely to die in accidents with fixed objects compared to cars. Around 23% of fatal motorcycle accidents were due to collisions with fixed objects, according to the 2020 report by NHTSA.
Little things like uneven roads, railway tracks, or gravel on pavements may go unnoticed by the car drivers. However, the bikers need to be extra cautious about road hazards like these. This is because motorcycles are much smaller in size and light in weight than cars and other vehicles, thus making them less stable than cars and more likely to get involved in fatal crashes.
Many drivers are aware of this situation that motorcyclists try to snack in between the lanes of slow-moving or stopped cars. This practice is usually known as lane splitting. This accounts for being a common cause of motorcycle accidents because the moving cars do not expect a vehicle to enter the lane just like that, as there is very little room for bikers to move away when they weave between the other moving vehicles.
While the road hazards are not under the control of the motorcyclists, they can, however, control their risky riding behavior. Research shows that some bikers, especially the young ones, find it fun to violate the biking rules while riding. Some of these risky behaviors are:
Alcohol: It is hazardous to ride a bike while being drunk. Around 40% of the motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents are alcohol-impaired.
Speeding: Powerful bikes like sports bikes often encourage risky behaviors like speeding. Especially riders of age 20-25 are more likely to be involved in fatal motorcycle crashes due to over-speeding and violating traffic rules.
Not adhering to safety gears: One of the simplest precautions that a motorcyclist can take is to wear a safety helmet while riding a motorbike. THE NHTSA estimated that 40 out of 100 motorcycle accidents would not have happened if riders wore helmets.
What should be done when injured in a motorcycle crash? When involved in a motorcycle accident, here are some essential steps to take.
- Call the police immediately: If it is someone else’s fault in the motorcycle crash, the person can be sued, and you get some money for your loss. However, you would have to show how the accident exactly happened. Therefore, the best evidence would be a police accident report.
- Do not apologize or admit fault: You should not apologize or admit fault in an accident when things are murky. Even if it is partly your fault, you should not accept it as it may jeopardize your compensation claim. You can just call the police and let them decide on the best solution.
- Get immediate medical help: This should be a top priority for anyone involved in a motorcycle accident. You should get yourself thoroughly checked by a medical professional, even if you do not feel the need to visit a doctor. Get your medical reports, as they are essential evidence to prove your injury when filing a claim.
- Contact your insurance company: Do not let anyone convince you to keep your insurance company out of the accident case. This is an awful idea as you might be hurt more than you thought. If your injury is worth thousands of dollars, the faulty driver might not be able to pay it from his own pocket, and most drivers are not as trustworthy as they sound.
Proving Fault After The Motorcycle Accident
There are four aspects of proving a negligence claim. The person claiming or suing the faulty driver or rider must show the following points.
- The law requires the defendant to be considerably careful while driving a car or riding a bike.
- The defendant was being careless while driving.
- The defendant’s actions caused injuries to the rider ( the person who filed the claim).
- The rider had injuries or suffered from other losses. If the rider fails to prove this, he might not be able to recover anything, even if the defendant’s behavior was reckless.
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How to Stay Safe While Riding a Motorcycle?
If you want to keep yourself safe from motorcycle accidents that might break your banks or result in legal liabilities, the following are some important motorcycle riding safety tips to follow:
- All motorcyclists should attend motorcycle safety training courses that will teach them to operate bikes safely and skillfully.
- Before beginning to learn how to ride a motorcycle, make sure that you have read your bike’s manual thoroughly to be aware of its characteristics, features, and safety controls.
- While riding, it is extremely important to wear safety gear like helmets, leather jackets, boots, goggles, etc. You must remember that motorcycles do not have other safety restraints like cars and vehicles. Therefore, wearing these safety gear will make a massive difference in saving your life in an accident.
- Follow the traffic rules specially designed for motorcycles like:
- No tailgating.
- No lane splitting between stopped or slow-moving traffic.
- Strictly adhering to traffic rules of the community.
- Using indicators when turning to alert the other vehicles.
- No drinking and riding.
- No speeding.
- Treat other motorists with respect and courtesy.
There are just a few ways to avoid getting involved in a motorcycle crash. However, you must remember that no matter how careful you are while riding a motorbike, there are still chances of getting into an accident due to the other motorcyclist’s negligence or fault. The majority of motor vehicle crashes are because of the driver’s mistake, resulting in a collision between the car and the motorcycle. Therefore, in cases where the driver refuses to accept his mistake, it is best to hire lawyer services specialized in motorcycle accidents. The right lawyer can help you with the handling of your insurance claim, advocate for you in court, and even help in negotiating a just settlement.
How The Jackman Law Firm Can Help
If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, The Jackman Law Firm can help you immediately. We have the resources and experience to help you when you need help most. We can help you recover money for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and out of pocket costs. Call us for a free consultation.