Motorcycle accidents are, unfortunately, a common occurrence on roads globally. According to statistics, motorcycle accidents are among the leading causes of traffic fatalities globally, accounting for many deaths and injuries yearly.
Unlike other vehicles, motorcycles are more susceptible to accidents because they’re less visible to other drivers and are less stable. Also, motorcyclists are vulnerable to weather hazards and bad road conditions, increasing their chances of accidents and injuries.
This post discusses motorcycle accidents, including their statistics, causes, what to do, compensation, and prevention. Keep reading to learn!
The best way to understand motorcycle accidents is by looking at the statistics. As stated, motorcycle accidents are a leading cause of traffic fatalities. For instance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to be killed in crashes than motorists in the U.S.
Furthermore, NHTSA reported the following motorcycle fatalities and injuries between 2015 and 2020:
- In 2015, 5,029 people died, while 88,738 were injured.
- In 2016, 5,337 deaths and 104,442 injuries were recorded.
- In 2017, the numbers were 5,226 fatalities and 88,592 injuries.
- In 2018, there were 5,038 deaths and 81,859 injuries.
- In 2019, 5,014 people died, while 83,814 were injured.
- In 2020, deaths increased to 5,570 while injuries decreased to 82,528.
According to NHTSA, the 5,570 deaths in 2020 accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities. This was quite high, considering motorcycles only comprised 3% of registered vehicles. Among the 5,579 deaths, 5,268 were riders, and 311 were passengers.
Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists encounter a variety of hazards on highways and streets. Some of these hazards also affect vehicles, but many are unique to motorcyclists. The most common causes include:
Head-On Collisions: These occur when a vehicle or another motorcycle departs it’s lane and enters the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Although head-on collisions are rare, they account for the highest fatalities and severe injuries. Suppose you’re involved in an accident where a car collided with a motorcycle. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages, especially if you aren’t liable for the accident.
Reckless Driving: This is among the leading causes of motorcycle accidents which can occur in three forms. First, driving a motorcycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drugs and alcohol impair your judgment leading to mistakes that cause a crash.
Secondly, speeding is associated with reckless driving. Motorcyclists riding at high speeds are likely to lose control and crash.
Finally, not wearing a helmet is also termed reckless driving. Although it can’t cause an accident, it contributes to fatality and severe brain injury when a crash occurs.
Inexperience: All motorcyclists should spend enough time training before they get on the road. However, this isn’t always the case. Many riders go out on busy roads without sharpening their skills, increasing the chances of accidents.
Dangerous Road Conditions: Some road conditions might not cause vehicle issues but can kill a motorcyclist. Dangerous road conditions include poor lighting, cracks, uneven pavement, faulty traffic signals, and slippery roads.
Motorcycle Malfunction: Defects in the motorcycle’s steering, brakes, and other components can cause accidents since they prevent the cyclist from controlling the bike perfectly.
Bad Weather Conditions: Poor weather conditions such as rain, snow, and fog can make it difficult for motorcyclists to control their bikes, thus increasing the risk of an accident.
Car Doors: Some motorbike accidents are caused by drivers opening car doors without noticing the bike’s presence. Despite awareness campaigns, car doors remain a primary cause of motorcycle accidents. There is nothing motorcyclists can do to avoid colliding with a door open directly in front of them.
Unsafe Lane Switching: Motorcycle accidents can also be caused by hazardous lane switching by vehicle drivers. Vehicle drivers have a blind spot, an area not visible in the mirrors. Since motorcycles are narrower, they’re vulnerable to being in the blind spot. This means they can be easily hit by a lane-changing vehicle.
What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident
No one wants to be involved in a motorcycle accident, but it can happen to anyone. If you get into an accident, follow these steps:
Get To Safety: The first step after an accident is moving away from the crash scene and traffic flow. This ensures you don’t collide with other road users. However, don’t try relocating the bike, as this can worsen your injuries and compromise evidence.
Contact The Police: Once you’re out of the roadway, call the police to report the accident. Calling the police helps you get a police report which is essential in building a case.
Reach Out To An Attorney: Hiring an attorney is also vital after a motorcycle accident. Even if the insurance company promises to compensate you, an attorney is necessary. Remember, insurance companies run for profits, meaning they’re always looking for ways to pay you the least amount possible. However, hiring an attorney ensures you’re better positioned to be fully compensated.
Gather Information: While waiting for the police to arrive, collect essential information about anyone involved in the accident. Some of the evidence to collect includes contact information, insurance details, the license number of the other driver, the contact information of any witnesses, and photos of the scene. This information will act as evidence when you file for a claim.
Seek Medical Help: Another critical step is to see a doctor immediately. The doctor performs a full body scan to diagnose and treat any injuries before they escalate. Even if injuries appear minor, it’s essential to see a doctor. Some injuries that initially seem minor can later cause chronic pain and even permanent disability. Furthermore, seeking medical treatment is crucial, as the doctor’s documentation shows you were injured in the accident.
Contact Your Insurance Company: With all the information, contact the insurance company to report the accident. Provide the accident details and evidence for them to start building a claim. Failing to report the accident to your insurer on time risks your compensation rights.
Compensation After A Motorcycle Accident
The damage and injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident are devastating and overwhelming. However, working with a qualified and experienced attorney ensures you get justice regarding compensation. The compensation may cover medical costs, rehabilitation expenses, reduced quality of life, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other costs associated with the accident.
Motorcycle accidents can cause injuries that hinder your productivity. The court should ascertain fair compensation for the lost wages in such cases. For instance, if your weekly income is $1,000 and you take eight weeks to recover, you should be compensated $8,000 for lost wages. Generally, reasonable compensation caters to all that you’ll need to recover fully.
Prevention Of Motorcycle Accidents
According to the NHTSA, 80% of all motorcycle accidents lead to injuries and deaths. Therefore, adopting preventive measures is essential to keep you and other riders safe. The following tips can help prevent accidents from occurring.
Be Visible: One best way to prevent motorcycle accidents is to wear bright reflective clothing. This makes you visible to other drivers, thus reducing the risk of an accident. You can also make yourself visible by riding in sections where other drivers can spot you. If you’re unsure a driver sees you, honk to create awareness.
Be Alert: Drunk and texting motorists are a great danger. Therefore, be ready for unsafe lane changes, swerves, and abrupt stops. The best thing is to avoid following vehicles too closely. Watch out for potholes, uneven pavements, and other road hazards.
Obey Traffic Rules: There are specific rules that motorcyclists must observe to guarantee their safety on the road. These include wearing a helmet, signaling when changing lanes, watching the speed limit, and avoiding drinking while driving. These traffic rules exist to keep you and other road users safe. Therefore, every road user should take them seriously to avoid accidents.
Get Schooled: Riders must take a safety course before using busy roads. A safety course helps riders learn how to operate motorcycles and avoid accidents. The course also teaches them the dangers of riding and how to prevent injuries in an accident.
Avoid Drinking And Overspeeding: Statistics show many motorcycle accidents result from alcohol impairment and overspeeding. Therefore, always stay sober and avoid overspeeding to reduce the heightened number of motorcycle accidents.
Wear A Helmet: This is among the most important things riders can do to protect themselves. Although wearing a helmet doesn’t prevent an accident, it reduces the risk of severe injury, like brain injuries, and death in case of a crash.
There are two types of helmets: full-face and open-face helmets. Full-face helmets are recommended, as they cover the entire head and have a shield to protect the eyes from wind, insects, and dust. Open-face helmets only cover the top of the head and don’t have a shield.
Motorcycle accidents are a serious issue that requires attention and action. By learning the causes of motorcycle accidents and taking the preventive measures outlined above, the number of accidents and fatal injuries can be reduced significantly. If you’re involved in an accident, consider following the steps outlined above to ensure you’re compensated fully.