Motorcycles account for about 3% of all registered vehicles on American roads. They account for a larger percentage of road traffic fatalities. According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), a non-profit body that represents territorial and state highway safety offices, motorcycle accidents killed about 5000 people in 2017. In the same report, it was revealed that there were 28 times more fatalities from motorcycle accidents than from passenger vehicles accidents. What are the leading causes of motorcycle accidents and what makes the accidents so deadly?
Top Five Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Collisions with cars making left-hand turns: This type of accidents accounts for about 42 percent of all motorcycle accidents. Motorcycles are smaller than cars making them harder for drivers to notice. Most of these collisions occur when the cyclist is riding straight through an intersection or overtaking the car.
Lane-splitting: This is when the motorcycles are driven between lanes in slow or stationary traffic. Collisions happen when the space between the cars is too little for the bike to maneuver. Furthermore, in slow-moving traffic, cars are not anticipating that a motorcycle will pass in front.
Due to the danger it poses, lane splitting is illegal in some states.
Speeding and alcohol use: The two factors account for roughly half of all motorcycle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 40 percent of the motor vehicle fatalities reported in 2017 involved alcohol. Further, in 2016, the blood alcohol content of about 25 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents exceeded the legal level.
Collisions of motorcycles with fixed objects: This accounts for about a quarter of motorcycle accidents fatalities.
Road hazards: Road hazards such as potholes, rocks, uneven lanes, and slick pavements pose a greater danger to motorcycles than to cars. This is because bikes are less stable and smaller in size compared to cars.
Motorcycle Accidents, Injuries and Fatalities
Naturally, motorcycle accidents are more deadly than road accidents. This is because motorcycle riders do not have a steel body around them. Further, when a motorcycle collides with an object, the impact thrusts the riders off the bike. Many injuries can stem from a motorcycle accident and coping with these unexpected injuries can be difficult.
The most common injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents are:
- Brain damage and concussions
- Joint bruises and breakages
- Nerve damage especially in the upper arm area
- Soft tissue damage
- Facial disfigurement
Negligence and Fault Determination in Motorcycle Accidents
If you have been in an accident recently and wish to file a claim you will need to get a motorcycle accident lawyer to represent your case and help you get proper compensation.
The amount of compensation a motorcycle rider receives for a car-motorcycle collision depends on their degree of fault. If they are more at fault than the car driver, they may be required to compensate the car driver for the damages. In most collisions involving cars making left-hand turns, the car driver is at fault. However, if the motorcycle rider was speeding or on the wrong lane, the accident fault falls on the rider’s side.
Fault determination in lane splitting accidents varies from state to state. In states where lane splitting is illegal, the fault will almost certainly fall on the motorcyclist’s side. F
What Should You Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
If you or someone close to you is involved in a motorcycle accident, your first step should be to seek first aid. Don’t ignore those bruises that seem minor. After that, gather as much information as possible from the accident scene. Pay particular attention to critical details such as the alignment of the vehicles. This evidence will come in handy when claiming compensation.