Motorcycle Accidents: Sobering Numbers
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorcycle riders are 29 times more likely to die in accidents than the occupants of passenger vehicles. They are four times more likely to be injured. Nationally, in 2020, 5,579 motorcyclists died. More than 82,000 motorcyclists were injured in that same year.
Closer to home, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there are an average of 175 motorcycle fatalities each year. That’s 16% of all traffic fatalities, yet motorcycles account for only 3% of registered vehicles. These are sobering numbers, and they have been increasing in recent years.
Common causes of motorcycle accidents
Motorcyclists are inherently at risk when on the road, as they are largely unprotected. Here are some of the common causes of motorcycle accidents:
- Driving while intoxicated—The NHTSA estimates that 29% of all motorcyclists killed in accidents were legally intoxicated.
- Collisions—And not just with other vehicles, but with fixed objects such as trees, street signs, guardrails, curbs, etc.
- Inadequate training and experience—Driving a motorcycle is different than driving a car. Before climbing into the seat, a motorcyclist should familiarize themselves with safe driving techniques and proper safety equipment.
- Cars making left hand turns—This cause may not be readily apparent, but it’s a very real danger for motorcyclists.
- Distracted driving—A major cause of accidents, whatever vehicle one may be driving.
- Lane splitting—When motorcyclists wind between rows of cars, splitting the lane, they put themselves and everyone else on the road in danger. Unsafe lane changes can also be deadly, as they can put the rider directly in a vehicle’s blind spot.
- Speeding—There may be no better feeling than flying down the highway, zipping past traffic as if it were standing still, but hitting the bumper of a stopped vehicle, or any stationary object, at a high rate of speed can have catastrophic results.
Ways to avoid motorcycle accidents
- Wear the proper protective gear when riding. This includes a full face, Department of Transporation-approved helmet, heavy long pants and gloves, and heavy boots.
- Make sure you can be seen. Use bright and/or reflective material on your clothing and motorcycle.
- Drive defensively. Be aware of your surroundings at all times because you can’t count on the other drivers to be aware of you.
- If you’re an inexperienced rider, consider taking the Motorcycle Safety Association Basic Rider Course. It includes clutch and throttle control, shifting, straight line riding, stopping, turning, and swerving, as well as safety-oriented mental strategies.
What to do if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident
There are several common sense steps to take if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident:
- Get out of traffic and get yourself to safety if at all possible.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately. If you’re not able to, make sure someone else does.
- Keep all of your protective gear on. It may be helping to hold injured body parts in place.
- Seek medical attention. You may not realize the extent of your injuries immediately.
- Collect contact information for everyone involved in the accident, along with any witnesses.
- Note the accident surroundings. Take photos if possible.
- Be sure responding police officers hear and document your side of the story. Above all else, do not admit fault.
- Contact both your insurance company and a qualified lawyer.
Navigating a Motorcycle Accident Claim
How Does a Wrongful Death Case Work?
When you contact a lawyer…
…be sure they are experienced with motorcycle accident litigation, including applicable laws, statutes of limitations, etc., and have the staff and resources necessary to properly represent you.
If you or a family member has been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact the attorneys at LaSalvia Law. We will fight to win you the compensation you deserve.