Climbing onto the back of a bike and hitting the open road provides a great feeling of freedom and excitement for motorcycle riders. There is little protection between you and the elements, and that feels exhilarating. The same reasons you enjoy riding them, make motorcycles a dangerous and risky form of transportation.
Even a seasoned rider can get into a crash when other drivers on the road are negligent, or the road is maintained poorly. An accident for someone riding on the back of a motorcycle can result in even more serious injury or death. You have no seatbelt, and nothing protects you from the road or other vehicles in the event of a crash or collision. Other drivers reportedly have trouble seeing motorcycles on the road. Motorcycles are less stable than cars, and driving requires different skills than those used in driving four-wheel automobiles. Motorcycle drivers and their passengers are extremely vulnerable to accidents and injuries. Additionally, motorcycles’ inherent instability can have deadly consequences for the drivers of passenger cars sharing the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there is good reason for concern about the safety of motorcycles on the road. The statistics are frightening. In a report on the statistics from 2012, the NHTSA stated that 4,957 people died in motorcycle crashes — an increase of, 7.1 percent from 2011. 93,000 motorcyclists were injured in 2012—a huge increase from the 81,000 injured in 2011. The NHTSA reported that motorcyclists in 2012 were 26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled, and five times more likely to incur injury. The fatality rate per registered vehicle for motorcyclists in 2012 was six times the fatality rate for passenger car occupants, according to NHTSA.
Drivers of Cars Have Difficulty Seeing Motorcycles on the Road
Most motorcycle accidents happen because the driver of a car claims that they did not see the motorcycle. Sources say that 42% of all motorcycle crashes occur when a car is making a left-hand turn. It could be that the bike is in a blind spot, poor weather conditions or simple distraction that prevents the driver of the car from perceiving the motorcycle. Drivers tend to look for other cars, not motorcycles.
The small size of a motorcycle makes it especially hard for a driver to see it in a blind spot, the dark, or bad weather. If there is a collision under these circumstances, the driver or passenger of a motorcycle can experience severe injury. A small bike is no match for an SUV or even an average-sized car.
Rear-End Motorcycle Accidents
A rear-end accident between two cars does not usually cause significant injuries to either party. A motorcycle rear-end crash, however, can be deadly. Depending on the speed of either vehicle, a sudden stop or crash can cause the bike to flip and cause serious injury to the motorcycle driver. The biker may even be thrown far off the bike and be hit by another car or sustain a catastrophic injury from the landing itself.
The design of a motorcycle makes it inherently dangerous. Its two wheels and fairly small size make it susceptible to falling over, sliding, and skidding. New bikers need time to develop the needed skills and instincts required to safely drive a motorcycle. During poor weather conditions, on curvy roads, or in constructions zones, the inherent dangers are more pronounced. Uneven pavement, gravel on the road, or poor visibility from weather often cause motorcycles to tip, lose control, or skid and crash. If other drivers are on the road, this is dangerous for everyone.
Because motorcycle drivers and their passengers are completely unprotected, their injuries are often severe. Although bikers must wear helmets, there is a good chance of head injury when a biker is thrown or hit during a collision. Concussions, brain damage and other closed head injuries can occur even with a proper fitting helmet.
Biker’s arm is another injury common in motorcycle accidents. When a biker lands on one or both of his arms during impact, as is often the case, it can cause permanent nerve damage to the arm as well as the upper body.
Road rash is the name given to general soft tissue damage that many motorcycle drivers sustain during a crash or skid. When a driver is thrown from the bike or skids after tipping over, the friction from sliding along the pavement causes scrapes and abrasions to the driver. Severe road rash can result in nerve damage. Facial disfigurement can also occur if this happens and the driver is not wearing proper safety gear.
Violently hitting the pavement after being thrown from a motorcycle can result in broken bones. The impact from a car can also cause multiple breaks for an unprotected rider. Motorcycle collisions cause a broken wrist, pelvis, spine and/or shoulders, among other skeletal injuries.
Awards for Damage, Repairs, and Injuries
Sustaining an injury in a motorcycle accident may entitle you to an award for damages. You may be able to recover medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other monetary compensation for your injuries. You might also be entitled to money to fix the damage or replace your bike. Navigating a motorcycle accident claim can be tricky, and your motorcycle injury lawyer can help. You may have to deal with questions that range from liability and insurance to motorcycle parts manufacturers and highway departments. Your motorcycle lawyer can steer you through the complexities of recovering an award for damages.
Use Proper Safety and Precautions
Driving a motorcycle is dangerous. There are safety precautions you can take in order to reduce the risk to you, your passenger and other drivers sharing the road. These small steps can make a big difference if you are in a motorcycle accident.
In case you are in a collision, you want to protect your body as much as possible. Wearing the following safety items may help mitigate your injuries if you are in an accident:
- A properly fitted helmet or full face helmet
- Goggles or a helmet visor
- An abrasion-resistant jacket and long pants that are padded, reinforced, and durable
- Over-the-ankle boots
- Full-fingered gloves
There are additional safety measures you can take to help avoid an accident on a motorcycle.
- Wear bright colored clothing or accessories to help increase your visibility
- Try not to linger in the car’s blind spot
- Make sure the make, model and size of your motorcycle is appropriate for your driving skill
- Get a bike with anti-lock brakes. If your bike did not come with them, have a mechanic equip your bike.
- Take a motorcycle-driving safety course
- Avoid riding in bad weather
- Watch out for road hazards
- Maintain your motorcycle by checking tires, brakes and lights regularly
- Never drive while tired or after drinking alcohol or taking medication
- Always drive defensively
Statute of Limitations
Each state has its set of rules governing the time limit to file lawsuits. Time limits vary depending on the facts of each case. The lawyers at Farris, Riley & Pitt have experience helping to recover damages and expenses for victims of motorcycle accidents. In order to determine if you have time to file a lawsuit in your case, we need to review the facts of your accident and injuries. Once the time expires, you lose the right to collect your claim forever. Contact us before the statute of limitation runs out.
Contact Us For Help
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses or lost wages. Contact our office today to find out how your Alabama motorcycle lawyer can help you.