Fatal motorcycle accidents are a leading cause of death among riders in the United States. It is an increasing concern as the number of motorcycle riders continues to grow. In 2018, it was reported that 14% of motorcyclists suffered fatal accidents in the United States. In a motorcycle crash, riders may experience fatal injuries as their body has a more direct impact when compared to car accidents.
A crash may occur due to the negligence of another driver. For example, a car may swerve into the lane of a motorcycle, causing the rider to be ejected from the bike and injure themselves severely.
U.S. Motorcycle Crashes: Showing A Stark Picture
The Injury Facts report for 2020 states that 14 percent of motorcycle accidents are fatal, including 18 percent of fatalities to the occupants and 4 percent of injuries to the occupants. The numbers have only been increasing; the latest data shows that there has been an 11 percent increase in traffic fatalities in the United States from 2019 to 2020.
The rate of motorcyclist death has increased by 27 percent throughout the past decade. It seems that one of the primary reasons for the increasing number of motorcycle accidents is the lack of helmet use by the riders. In states where there are no Motorcycle Helmet Laws in place, the rate of rider fatalities is much higher.
Another reason for an increasing number of motorcycle accidents is alcohol consumption. When alcohol is involved in a crash, the rider is much more likely to suffer fatal injuries. In fact, alcohol was a factor in nearly 27 percent of all motorcycle fatalities in 2020.
In 2020, the majority of motorcycle fatalities occurred in one of the following circumstances:
- 60% – Urban roads
- 78% – Good weather
- 50% – During daylight hours
- 52% – Crashing between two vehicles
- 58% – Wearing helmets
Unfortunately, the effects of a motorcycle crash are frequently much more severe than crashes involving passenger vehicles. While 20 percent of car accidents result in injuries or fatalities, it is a staggering 80 percent of motorcycle accidents that result in injury or death, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Important Factors Contributing to Motorcycle Accidents
There are many factors that can contribute to a motorcycle accident. The most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Left-hand turn collisions
When a motor vehicle is making a left-hand turn and collides with an oncoming motorcycle, it is typically the result of the driver not seeing the motorcycle. This type of collision often happens at intersections when the driver of a car fails to yield to oncoming traffic. It is important for drivers to be aware of their surroundings and always yield to oncoming traffic, especially motorcycles.
Speeding is a major factor in motorcycle accidents. When motorcyclists and motor vehicles do not obey the posted speed limit, it increases the chances of an accident occurring. Speeding makes it more difficult for a driver to use the brakes in time or maneuver out of the way of an oncoming vehicle.
- Dangerous Road Conditions
Dangerous road conditions, such as potholes, gravel, and wet roads, can also contribute to motorcycle accidents. These conditions can make it difficult for a motorcyclist to control their bike. It is important to be aware of dangerous road conditions and take measures to avoid them if possible.
- Head-on Collisions
Head-on collisions are some of the most dangerous types of motorcycle accidents. These accidents typically occur when a motorcyclist is riding in the opposite direction of traffic and collides with a car head-on. Head-on collisions can be particularly dangerous because of the high rate of speed that both vehicles are traveling at the time of impact. It is important for drivers to be aware of oncoming traffic and yield the right-of-way when necessary.
- Lane Splitting
Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides between two lanes of vehicles riding on the road. This can be dangerous because it increases the chances of a collision occurring. It is important for drivers to be aware of motorcyclists on the road and avoid lane splitting if possible.
- Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a major problem on roadways today. Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. This can include texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, or any other activity that takes the driver’s eyes off the road. Distracted driving is especially dangerous for motorcyclists because they are more vulnerable to being involved in an accident. It is important for drivers to be aware of their surroundings and avoid distractions while driving.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous and is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents. Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol are more likely to make poor decisions and take risks that can lead to an accident. It is important for drivers to be aware of the risks of driving under the influence and avoid doing so.
- Collisions with fixed objects
Collisions with fixed objects, such as trees, signs, and walls, are another common type of motorcycle accident. These accidents can occur when a motorcyclist is riding on the road and collides with a stationary object. For example, a motorcyclist may be riding on the road and collide with an open door that a car has pulled up to.
How to determine liability in a motorcycle crash?
To discern who is at-fault in a motorcycle accident, it is essential to evaluate the circumstances of the collision. Proving that another party’s negligence caused your accident is key to recovering the damages you deserve.
The elements of negligence that will have to be proven in order to hold another party liable for your motorcycle accident include:
- Duty of care – The other party owed you a duty of care to act in a certain way to avoid causing an accident. For example, all drivers have a duty of care to obey the rules of the road and drive safely.
- Breach of duty – The other party breached their duty of care by failing to act in a certain way or by taking an action that led to the accident. For example, if a driver was speeding and collided with your motorcycle, they would be considered to have breached their duty of care.
- Causation – The other party’s breach of duty must have caused the accident in which you were injured. For example, if the other driver had not been speeding, they would not have hit you and you would not have been injured.
- Damages – You must have suffered some type of damage as a result of the accident in order to recover compensation. For example, you may have incurred medical bills or lost wages as a result of the accident.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek legal guidance as soon as possible. An experienced Philadelphia Personal Injury lawyer can help you investigate your case and determine who is liable for your injuries. They can also help you recover the compensation you deserve for your damages.