Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists are not very likely to walk away from an accident. With no safety protections like seat belts or air bags, their rate of death or injury following a motorcycle accident can be as high as 80 percent. Wearing a motorcycle helmet that conforms to government standards can prevent more than a third of fatalities. It is also essential that motorcyclists make themselves highly visible-by wearing bright clothing, keeping their headlights on, and avoiding the blind spots of other vehicles.

Accident Causes

Most motorcycle accidents occur during brief trips for purposes of errands, shopping, entertainment and recreation, or visiting with friends. Such accidents are likely to happen within a short time and within a short distance of where the trip originated. The vast majority of motorcycle accidents involve collision with another vehicle. Drivers of other vehicles often don’t see the motorcycle until it is too late to avoid an accident. Typically, a motorcyclist has less than 2 seconds to complete an anti-collision maneuver. In almost half of all multiple vehicle accidents, the motorist’s view of the motorcycle was obstructed by glare or other vehicles. Lack of driver attention and fatigue are also major risk factors, and alcohol use contributes to almost half of all fatalities.

About one-fourth of motorcycle crashes are single vehicle accidents in which the rider collides with the roadway or some other fixed object. Motorcycle driver error is common in two-thirds of these cases, mostly from slide outs and falls due to over-braking, or running wide on a curve due to excessive speed or under-cornering. Male riders between the ages of 16 and 24 have the highest risk of motorcycle accidents, and many of them have previous traffic citations. Proper training and experience greatly reduces accident involvement. Most riders, however, lack expert training and are most likely to be self-taught or to learn from family or friends.

Legal Concerns

Most motorcycle accidents involve some form of negligence resulting in property damage and/or injury. Drivers who speed, tail gate, fail to yield the right of way or who change lanes improperly increase the risk of colliding with a motorcycle.

Carelessness and recklessness are not always easy to prove. A diligent personal injury lawyer will carefully analyze police and medical reports as well as eyewitness testimony and depictions of the crash scene. In states with no-fault insurance laws, accident victims may be limited to payments for medical expenses or lost income. At times, government entities may be liable for accidents caused by defective road design, hazardous road conditions or improper road maintenance. Lawsuits against government entities must be filed within specified time limits. In such cases, accident victims should consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.