For motorcyclists, the feeling of freedom that comes with riding the streets on two wheels is unbeatable. Millions of riders across the country enjoy their bikes every day, whether for pleasure or for a daily commute. As great a feeling as it may be to ride, though, a motorcycle accident can be deadly. What would be a minor crash between two cars can turn into a catastrophe for a motorcyclist in the blink of an eye.
Motorcycle Accident Facts
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly five thousand people died in motorcycle accidents in 2015, an 8.3% increase over the previous year. A further approximately 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in 2015, as well.
Overall, motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely to be killed in an accident than passenger vehicle drivers. There are a number of factors that likely account for this statistic, including:
- Reduced visibility. Motorcycles are smaller than cars, and less likely to be seen, especially when passing through blind spots of other vehicles.
- No protection. Motorcycles do not have the benefit of a vehicle frame or bodywork that protects the occupants of a car from impact or the road. The only protection that a rider has is the helmet and riding gear that he or she is wearing.
- Worse road hazards. Objects or debris in the road, poor pavement, and wet or slippery road conditions that are easily navigated in a car suddenly become deadly to a motorcyclist.
- Rider experience matters. It’s a simple fact that motorcycles require more skill to operate than an automobile.
All of these risks come together to make riding a bike significantly more dangerous than driving an automobile.
Common Motorcycle Injuries
Since motorcycles offer no protection other than the safety gear worn by the rider, accidents of any kind are far more likely to result in an injury. Some of the most common injuries are:
- Head and neck injuries. A DOT-rated helmet is crucial for rider safety, but the neck is often still vulnerable. About 22% of motorcycle injuries are to the head or neck area.
- Foot and leg injuries. Perhaps surprisingly, about 30% of non-fatal injuries happen to the feet and legs.
- Shoulders, chest, and back. Fewer injuries happen to these regions, but they still can sustain a significant amount of damage, especially for riders who hit the ground hard or slide across pavement.
Other less common types of motorcycle injuries include those to the arms, hands, or pelvis and hip region.
Texas law currently requires riders to wear helmets, unless they are over 21 and have either completed a certified safety course or can provide proof of at least $10,000 in medical insurance. However, a rider cannot be pulled over solely for a helmet compliance check. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 69% and the risk of death by 37%, though, so it’s in the best interests of riders to wear one.
Life After a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle injuries can be severe and result in high medical bills, especially if head or spinal injuries result. Therapy and rehabilitation costs and lost wages during recovery can quickly drain bank accounts, too. It’s important to seek legal counsel with an attorney who understands the challenges of a motorcycle accident injury case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help face down juries that may be biased against motorcyclists, due to a false perception that all motorcyclists engage in riskier road behavior.
Your attorney can also help you seek all parties who may be responsible for the accident, including other drivers (turning left in front of a motorcyclist is one of the leading causes of car-motorcycle accidents), motorcycle manufacturers for defective designs or manufacturing problems, or even local transit authorities for dangerous and poorly-designed roadways.
Call Wayne Wright LLP Today
If you’ve been injured or someone you love has been killed in a motorcycle accident, Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you today. While money isn’t everything, it’s your right to seek financial compensation, and knowing that the bills will be paid can go a long way towards peace of mind during recovery and the healing process. Reach out to us at 800-237-3334 for a free consultation about your legal rights.