If you love motorcycles, you know there’s nothing better than getting out on a beautiful day for an exhilarating ride. But you also know that getting on a bike carries significant risks. Road conditions and negligent drivers can quickly turn an awesome experience into a nightmare.
This article will show you some of the alarming statistics regarding motorcycle accidents. You’ll also learn why it’s essential to get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible if you suffer an injury due to someone else’s negligence.
At Sand Law, our team of attorneys has substantial experience representing people hurt in motorcycle wrecks. You can rest assured we’ll use that experience to help you get every dollar you deserve. You can schedule a free consultation by contacting us online or calling 651-291-7263.
The Vulnerability of Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists face significantly higher risks on the road compared to car passengers due to the inherent differences in protection:
Unlike car passengers enclosed within a protective metal frame, motorcyclists are exposed, with no external barrier to shield them in case of an accident. This lack of physical protection leaves them vulnerable to direct impacts.
The physics of motorcycle accidents further increases these risks. When a motorcycle collides with another vehicle or object, the rider is more likely to be thrown off the bike due to the lack of restraint systems like seat belts. This can result in direct contact with the road, other vehicles, or objects, leading to severe injuries.
Deep Dive into Motorcycle Accident Data
While we’re not trying to dissuade anyone from riding a motorcycle, but we feel it’s important to have as clear a picture as possible of the risks.
Across the United States, motorcycle accidents occur with alarming frequency. Data consistently shows that motorcyclists are involved in a disproportionately high number of accidents. According to the National Safety Council, motorcycles made up only .6% of all motor vehicles traveled in the U.S. in 2021 but accounted for 14% of all fatalities in traffic accidents. That year, 6,084 riders died in accidents.
The numbers in Minnesota tell a similar story. Even though motorcycle registrations and licenses have declined recently, there are far too many fatalities and injuries. There were 69 motorcyclist deaths in 2021, along with 998 injuries. The vast majority of those deaths and injuries, 85%, were males. Also, 32% of riders in fatal accidents didn’t have a valid motorcycle endorsement on their license.
When comparing motorcycle accidents to accidents involving cars or trucks, motorcycles have a higher likelihood of being involved in crashes resulting in injuries or fatalities. Here are a few statistics from J.D. Power to show just how much more dangerous riding a bike is than driving a passenger vehicle.
- A motorcyclist is 30% more likely to die in an accident on a motorcycle than in a car.
- The chances of being severely injured or killed in a motorcycle crash is 80%, compared to 20% for car accidents.
- The numbers are even scarier for older riders. If you’re over 40, you’re 20 times more likely to be hurt in a motorcycle accident than in a car wreck.
Primary Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
A motorcycle accident can happen for various reasons. These are some of the more common ones.
- Left-turn accidents: One of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents is when other vehicles make left turns in front of oncoming motorcycles. These accidents often occur because drivers fail to notice or misjudge the speed of an approaching motorcycle.
- Speeding and reckless driving: Drivers, like other road users, can engage in speeding and reckless driving, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Excessive speed reduces reaction time and the ability to maneuver safely.
- Alcohol and drug impairment: The use of alcohol or drugs by motorcyclists or other road users significantly impairs judgment and coordination, leading to a higher risk of accidents.
- Road conditions: Poor road conditions, such as potholes, wet or icy roads, and debris, pose a more substantial threat to motorcycles due to their reduced stability.
Severity of Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents often result in several injuries, including road rash, head injuries, bone fractures, and internal injuries. These injuries can be severe due to the lack of protection for riders.
Injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents can lead to long-term physical, emotional, and financial consequences. Rehabilitation and ongoing medical care may be necessary, impacting a person’s quality of life and earning capacity.
Factors Exacerbating Risks for Motorcyclists
Why is it so much riskier for someone to ride a motorcycle than drive a car or truck? These are just some of the factors that contribute to the dangers.
- Lack of visibility: Motorcycles are less visible to other drivers on the road, especially in blind spots. This limited visibility can lead to accidents when other drivers fail to notice approaching motorcycles.
- Lack of standardized training: In some regions, lax licensing requirements and insufficient training for motorcyclists contribute to unsafe riding practices.
- Road hazards: Hazards like potholes, wet or icy roads, and debris have a disproportionate effect on motorcycles, given their reduced stability and smaller tire size.
- Lack of safety gear: Statistics reveal that accidents where protective gear, such as helmets, jackets, gloves, and boots, are not worn result in more severe injuries than when riders use safety gear. Of the 69 fatalities mentioned above, only 33% of those killed (and 43% injured) wore helmets.
Prevention and Safety Measures for Motorcyclists
Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities for people to be safer on a motorcycle. For example, proper rider education and training are critical in promoting safe riding practices and enhancing riders’ skills to navigate challenging situations. Also, wearing protective gear, especially helmets, can significantly reduce the severity of injuries in the event of an accident.
Defensive driving techniques, avoiding blind spots, and maintaining safe following distances can also help motorcyclists avoid accidents.
One way to keep yourself safe on a bike is by advocating for better road infrastructure and maintenance. These are both essential to minimize the impact of road hazards on motorcyclists. If you feel the roads where you ride are dangerous, don’t be afraid to speak up. Talk to your city and state leaders and urge them to devote resources toward fixing those hazardous areas.
Legal Implications of Motorcycle Accidents
If you’ve suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, you’ll have to take legal action to get the compensation you have coming. The biggest thing you’ll have to prove is the at-fault party’s negligence. You must show their negligence caused the accident that led to your injury.
Unfortunately, motorcyclists may face biases and stereotypes in court, which can influence the outcome of their cases. Hiring an experienced legal representative to combat these biases will be essential.
Also, gathering evidence is essential to build a strong case for compensation after a motorcycle accident. A lawyer can collect that evidence, navigate the complexities of the legal system, and advocate for the rights of the injured motorcyclist. Please don’t try to go it alone – hiring an attorney will be your best chance for getting maximum compensation.
Contact Sand Law to Speak with an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The attorneys with Sand Law are ready to help you seek the justice and fair compensation you deserve. Our attorneys specialize in handling personal injury cases and can provide valuable guidance and representation throughout the legal process.