If you were recently injured in a motorcycle crash, trying to figure out your next steps can feel confusing and even overwhelming.
We’re here to help.
First, relax and understand that you’re not alone. Motorcycle accidents are common, so just know that you’re not the first to have to navigate this post-accident journey.
As you consider your options, it’s important to know about your legal rights and how unique motorcycle accident factors might impact your case. Let’s take a closer look.
Do All Motorcyclists Crash?
Many people assume that motorcycle riding is so dangerous that crashing is inevitable. While motorcycle riding can be dangerous, there are plenty of motorcyclists who ride for years without crashing and sustaining related injuries.
That being said, motorcyclists are at a higher risk for serious accident-related injuries compared to other drivers, and are 27 times more likely to perish from their injuries than car drivers and passengers.
What contributes to this heightened risk?
Well, motorcycles are non-enclosed vehicles, so they don’t offer much protection in the event of a collision. Additionally, motorcycles are simply not as visible compared to cars and trucks on the road. Motorcycles are also more vulnerable to poor road conditions and inclement weather, as they require driver-engaged balance for a safe ride.
Interestingly, however, poor weather is only an infrequent factor. Some 89% of motorcycle accidents occur in fair or good weather conditions.
Do wear a helmet if you’re going to ride. Helmets are critical in preventing serious or fatal injuries in the event of a crash. Full-face helmets are 37% and 67% effective in preventing fatalities and traumatic brain injuries, respectively.
Where Do Most Motorcycle Crashes Happen?
Most motorcycle crashes occur in urban areas. As of 2017, 60% of such crashes occur in urban locations and 40% occur in rural locations. Urban areas feature a higher volume of traffic than their rural counterparts, including emergency vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. City streets also tend to feature more dangerous collision debris: construction, building falloff, and potholes.
Motorcycle accidents tend to occur near non-intersection areas. This is sensible. After all, drivers and motorcyclists both slow down considerably at intersections. Subsequently, the risk of serious accidents is greater on non-intersection road sections, because drivers are operating their vehicles at high speeds.
Most fatal accidents are head-on collisions where the motorcyclists crash into other vehicles or assorted stationary objects.
What is the Primary Cause of Motorcycle Crashes?
Most motorcycle crashes occur due to cars making left-hand turns blindly, without noticing the presence of surrounding motorcycles. This not only leads to a crashed motorcycle, but often, the accident is fatal. In fact, these types of crashes are so common that they are responsible for roughly 42 percent of all accidents that involve a motorcycle and a car/truck.
How Do Many Motorcycle Crashes Happen?
There are a variety of factors that contribute to motorcycle accidents. Many serious motorcycle crashes occur because the motorcyclist was speeding and lost control of their vehicle. Others are caused due to the influence of alcohol.
For example, multiple motorcycle riders might congregate at a local pub for a party, feeling “safe” in a group. This is a common sentiment: that by riding together, motorcyclists are protected from harm, even the risks posed by intoxication. In reality, however, intoxication can severely impact the motorcyclist’s ability to make even basic safety decisions, such as avoiding a frontal collision.
Surprisingly, frontal collisions make up 74% of motorcycle accidents, with 90% of the injuries sustained in these accidents because of the motorcyclist’s high blood alcohol level or drug intoxication. Some 80% of these accidents result in fatalities.
What are 40% of Motorcycle Crashes Caused by?
According to a study conducted by Indiana University’s Public Policy Institute, more than 40 percent of motorcycle crashes are caused by the motorcyclist’s fault, while drivers were at fault for 58 percent of crashes (the majority!). In other words, it’s not the motorcyclist who caused the accident in most cases. This is completely contrary to the societal stereotype of motorcyclists as reckless adrenaline junkies.
Which Factors Lead to More Motorcycle Crashes than the Others?
Common accident-related factors include:
Lane Splitting and Reckless Driving
Lane splitting is where motorcycles ride in between vehicle lanes when traffic is slow or at a standstill. It is illegal in most states because riders go too close to other vehicles and expose themselves to a heightened risk of collision. Reckless driving can include ignoring the speed limit, texting and riding, and ignoring traffic laws.
Sudden Turns and Lane Changes
Sudden turning or changing lanes accounts for accidents as well. While skilled motorcyclists can perform these actions fast, they risk serious injuries in doing so. For example, if a motorcyclist turns without warning in front of a large truck and the driver cannot stop in time, severe or fatal injuries can occur.
What Percentage of Motorcycle Riders Crash?
According to 2020 data collated by the Insurance Information Institute on motorcycle accident fatalities and injuries, 1,060 out of every 100,000 registered motorcycles were involved in an accident that led to fatalities or injuries. This comes out to roughly a 1.1 percent “serious” incident rate annually.
What Percentage of Motorcycle Crashes are Fatal?
According to 2020 data collated by the Insurance Information Institute, there were 5,579 motorcycle fatalities and 83,000 injuries. This means that roughly 6.3 percent of motorcycle crashes led to fatalities.
Working With a Motorcycle Crash Lawyer
To obtain maximum compensation for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, it’s necessary to bring a legal claim against the defendant. Under the law, injured riders may be entitled to damages as compensation for their various losses.
Motorcycle crash lawyers have experience in handling these types of cases and will work tirelessly to prove liability.
For example, suppose that a motorcyclist was waiting at an intersection until the green traffic light arrow illuminated. They turned when they were supposed to, but another driver collided with the rider while driving out into the intersection illegally.
The driver was under the influence of sleeping pills at the time of the incident and had no business behind the wheel of a vehicle. As a result, the motorcyclist sustained several broken bones and a puncture wound. The motorcyclist’s lawyer requests compensation on their behalf that covers the cost of the injuries and missed time from work. Other damages can include compensation for the pain and trauma the rider experienced after the accident.
With a lawyer, they will file all case documentation in a timely manner, and will advocate for the rider as necessary throughout the litigation phases.
Call a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash, learn what your legal options are today. Call 1-800-LAW2 to find a motorcycle accident lawyer in your area and discuss your case in detail. Consultation is free, so don’t delay!