There are more people in the United States riding motorcycles today than ever before. Motorcycle riding has become more popular, appealing to older and more affluent enthusiasts. The average age of riders has increased, and more women are riding than ever before, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council.
According to the latest data available from the Federal Highway Administration, there were 8.2 million private and commercial motorcycles on U.S. roads in 2010, compared with 8.0 million in 2009.
Motorcycles have the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle on the roadway, but they face greater safety challenges than other vehicles. Motorcycles are less visible to the drivers of other vehicles and pedestrians. To combat this problem, motorcycle riders and their passengers need to wear bright colors, and reflective and protective clothing to be more visible.
All motorists are reminded to “share the road” with motorcycles. Motorists are urged to be more alert to help keep motorcyclists safe, but despite safe practices, motorcycle accidents continue to rise.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
The freedom of the open road and the thrill of speeding across the asphalt is what draw people to ride motorcycles, but riding has significant risk.
Motorcycle accidents are tragic events almost always resulting in injury. Motorcycles by design can not protect riders and passengers like closed vehicles, and they are less stable than four-wheel vehicles. The lack of a protective barrier between the motorcycle rider and the road leaves motorcyclists in a vulnerable position.
Motorcyclists and their passengers are also more vulnerable to weather hazards and road conditions than drivers in closed vehicles.
Some motorcyclists are inexperienced and simply do not know the limitations of their bike. These new riders often end up exceeding the speed limit and can lose control of their motorcycle. An unexpected obstacle in the roadway or loss of balance can send the motorcyclist reeling out of control. Speeding is dangerous and is often the cause of motorcycle accidents.
The motorcyclist’s negligence is another common cause of motorcycle accidents. In cases where the accident does not involve another vehicle, the crash is usually caused by the motorcyclist failing to slow down when cornering or under-cornering, or over braking. There are additional causes of bodily harm after the initial accident, such as fuel leakage in the post-crash phase that can result in a fire hazard. These additional causes of bodily harm are common in approximately 60 percent of motorcycle accident sites.
The predominant cause of a motorcycle accident involving another vehicle is the result of the other motorist not seeing the motorcycle in traffic.
Highway safety reports suggest that two thirds of accidents involving a motorcycle and another motor vehicle are a direct result of a motorist violating the motorcyclist’s right of way. It has also been suggested that motorcyclists are five times more likely to sustain some injury.
There were 100,000 motorcycles involved in crashes in 2011, and 77,000 of those crashes resulted in injuries, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), which also reported 4,612 people died in motorcycle crashes in 2011, up 2.1 percent from 4,518 in 2010.
The devastating effect of car-motorcycle collisions is clear. Motorcyclist injuries and deaths are an important public concern.
Motorcyclist Safety Tips
When you ride a motorcycle, follow these guidelines to stay safe:
- Wear a DOT-approved helmet.
- Never ride your motorcycle after consuming alcohol.
- Don’t allow friends to ride impaired.
- Wear protective clothing that provides injury protection. Choose upper body clothing made of bright colors or reflective materials, so that other motorists can better see you.
- Avoid tailgating.
- Maintain a safe speed and use caution when traveling over slippery surfaces or gravel.
Motorcyclists can help spread the word about increasing motorcyclists’ safety and enhance motorcycle safety awareness programs in their communities.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Get Help
Motorcycle accidents nearly always result in injuries that can lead to pain and suffering. The treatments of those injuries and medical expenses can lead to lost wages, emotional stress and much more. Victims deserve compensation for another’s negligence.
If you have been in a motorcycle accident, you need to know your legal rights. You may be entitled to financial compensation.
You have the best chance of receiving compensation by hiring an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. A motorcycle accident lawyer understands the complex laws and can recover the maximum financial compensation.