Motorcycle Accident Attorney
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Motorcycle Accident Overview
Statistically speaking, motorcyclists have an almost 50% higher likelihood of getting into an accident as compared to motor vehicle drivers. The injuries which result from these accidents are also more likely to be serious or life-threatening, as motorcycles lack the protection that cars provide, such as air bags, seat belts and the large metal shield of the car body. These injuries, when not fatal, often involve the spinal cord, the head and the bones of the arms or legs and may lead to partial or full paralysis, brain damage, loss of limbs or severe internal injuries. At the very least, bikers suffer financially from lost wages as they recover and are likely to accumulate enormous medical debt, whether their injuries are acute or result in chronic long-term disabilities.
A large segment of the population is biased against motorcyclists, believing them to be crazy for engaging in what appears to be a high-risk activity, but many motorbike accidents are not the rider’s fault. In fact, most motorcycle accidents are caused in part or in full by the negligence or recklessness of another driver by faulty or defective equipment or by obstacles, defects or hazards on road. In many cases, when fault can be proven, the victims of a motorcycle accident can receive compensation for their medical and mechanical expenses as well as lost wages.
How Motorcycle Accidents Occur
The vast majority of bike collisions with other motor vehicles occur because the other driver failed to see the motorcycle. This lack of visibility is even more dangerous at intersections due to the number of vehicles interacting with each other creating a more complicated situation to navigate. In fact, the most common type of motorcycle accidents involve other motor vehicles at intersections turning left in front of a motorcycle moving straight or passing them.
Motorcycle accidents also occur because of a rider’s lack experience or misunderstanding of the limitations and idiosyncrasies of riding and operating a motorcycle. Experienced riders are well aware of the obliviousness and behavior of other cars and take care to increase their visibility to help prevent fatal collisions.
In short, to help prevent accidents motorcyclists must ride defensively, making sure that other vehicles see them, and they riders must remain especially alert at intersections. Motorcyclists should take care to anticipate the actions of other drivers, while being cautious in low visibility areas and on roads with unpredictable curves or uneven surfaces.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
- The leading cause of motorcycle accidents is the failure of other drivers to observe the rider until it is too late.
- Roughly 91% of motorcycle accidents occur in intersections.
- Weather factors into only 2% of motorcycle accidents.
- Road defects factor into another 2% of motorcycle accidents.
- Animals are involved in only 1% of all motorcycle accidents.
- 75% of all motorcycle accidents involve a collision with another motor vehicle, usually a passenger car.
- Single vehicle motorcycle accidents account for nearly 25% all motorcycle accidents and are usually determined to be the result of driver misjudgment.
- A large majority of motorcyclists involved in motorcycle accidents have either no license or have had their license revoked.
- Although helmets have been proven to be the most important factor in preventing and reducing head injuries, only 50% of all motorcyclists wear helmets on a regular basis. 60% of the motorcyclists involved in accidents were not wearing helmets at the time of their accident.
- Contrary to popular belief wearing a motorcycle helmets reduces, rather than increases, one’s chance of a neck injury in the event of the crash.
- 31% of motorcycle riders killed in an accident were intoxicated at the time.
- 50% of motorcycle fatalities occur when driving around a curve.
- More than 50% of Single-bike accident fatalities involved a collision with a stationary geographical object.
- Significantly more than 50% of fatalities due to motorcycle accidents occur at night.
- Rural motorcycle accidents are becoming increasingly fatal.
- Motorcycle accidents, just like all motor vehicle accidents, are most likely to occur when on a routine and local errand, rather than a long trip.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
The two main types of motorcycle accidents are single-bike accidents and collision accidents involving other motor vehicles.
Single Bike Motorcycle Accidents: Single-bike accidents make up about 25% of all motorcycle accidents, and usually occur when the rider hits an object or slippery surface and loses control. Single-bike accidents often are blamed on the rider when other factors may be involved such as faulty or defective equipment, hazards on the road or animal crossings.
Multi-Bike Motorcycle Accidents: Other motorists’ failure to visually observe motorcycles is the predominant cause of collision accidents. 3 out of 4 motorcycle accidents involve collisions with other motor vehicles, usually cars and trucks. In approximately 75% of these types of accidents the car or truck driver is at fault, having violated the motorcyclist’s right-of-way because they simply did not see them. Usually this happens when the motorcycle is traveling in a straight course and the car turns left or right directly into or in front of the bike. Unfortunately, many motor vehicles’ blind spots obstruct their view at the exact height and location where a motorcycle will commonly travel.
Lane Splitting Motorcycle Accidents: Lane splitting can also cause accidents. When motorcyclists ride in between two lanes it is known as lane splitting or lane sharing. Lanes splitting is not illegal in the state of California, but if an accident is caused as a result of lane splitting the motorcyclist may be judged with comparative fault and held partially responsible for the accident. Unfortunately, many motor vehicle drivers are biased against motorcyclists riding between lanes, even though it is a legal way to travel. Many jurors in a court trial involving a motorcycle accident are biased against motorcyclists as well. In cases like this is helpful to have an experienced personal injury lawyer to help navigate these biases.
Defective Equipment Motorcycle Accidents: Defective equipment is responsible for a significant number of motorcycle accidents. Frequently, defects in motorcycle brakes, shock absorbers, throttles, tires and even helmets can cause a rider to be unable to stop, to bounce out of control, to drive at irregular speeds, to lose full range of vision or to rollover in traffic, causing single-bike or multi-vehicle collisions.
Failure to Yield Motorcycle Accidents: Failure-to-yield accidents often occur when other motor vehicles do not see motorcycles, but can also result from aggressive or negligent drivers who fail to yield with full awareness of the motorcyclist’s presence. These types of accidents can cause the offending car to sideswipe motorcyclists, to collide with them head-on or to run them off the road. All three are serious accidents with severe physical consequences such as crushed limbs and dismemberment injuries, head and spinal cord injuries, and broken, fractured or shattered arms, legs, hips and pelvis.
Red Light Motorcycle Accidents: Red light accidents often occur when a motorcycle has stopped at a red light and the car behind them misjudges the stopping distance and rear-ends them. Unfortunately, what would be a simple fender-bender between two cars can have deadly consequences for a motorcyclist. The biker may be forced into oncoming traffic from the impact of the collision and/or thrown from the bike. The sorts of injuries sustained from these situations are very serious, usually involving the spine, neck and head.
Road Hazards Motorcycle Accidents: Road hazards are often ignored by the police when writing up accident reports, but even the most experienced motorcyclists can lose control when riding over uneven pavement, oil slicks or chemical spills from construction sites, gravel, loose dirt and sand or salt, potholes, surprise curves and roads that are in the process of being re-graded or resurfaced. All of the conditions listed above can lead to a dangerous lack of control.
Motorcycle Accident & Injury Articles