There are over 9 million registered motorcycles in the United States. It is a well-loved pastime, partly because it is so dangerous. While motorcycle accidents occur at about the same frequency as car accidents, they are much more likely to end with a significant injury or death. In fact, in a collision between a motorcycle and passenger car, the motorcyclist is 28 times more likely to die.
Motorcyclists need to familiarize themselves with the most common causes of motorcycle accidents and understand what to do when one occurs. Doing so offers them the best protection against physical, emotional and fiscal damage that can occur because of a motorcycle accident.
Six Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
All motorists would benefit from knowing the most common causes of a motorcycle accident. Even those who strictly drive a car or truck can help make the road safer for motorcyclists by staying alert, knowing when the most likely time for an accident is, and giving those on a motorcycle space. Below are the top six causes of motorcycle accidents.
- Head-On Collisions. More than half of motorcycle deaths result from colliding into a car. Over 75% of the time, the motorcycle is hit from the front. These types of accidents are typically the result of the car’s driver failing to see the motorcyclist. These accidents are often fatal for motorcyclists.
- Cars Turning Left. Over 40% of all motorcycle accidents involving a vehicle occur when the car is making a left-hand turn. Typically, the car strikes the motorcycle when the motorcycle is passing the car, trying to overtake the vehicle, or going straight through an intersection. While these situations are dangerous for two cars, the small size and lack of protection of a motorcycle make them much more deadly.
- Lane Splitting. Lane splitting is when a motorcycle passes between two lanes of slowly moving or stopped traffic. Lane splitting often results in an accident because of the motorcycles proximity to the cars in each lane, the lack of space for the motorcycle to maneuver, and car drivers not expecting a bike to be there.
- Speeding and Substance Abuse. Nearly half of motorcycle accidents happen as a result of speeding or substance abuse. These accidents are far more likely to result in death or severe injury for both cars and motorcyclists. If the person who is speeding or under the influence is not killed, they will probably suffer serious legal ramifications.
- Collision with Fixed Objects. Motorcycles lack exterior protection, making collisions with a fixed object much more severe than they are with a car. One-quarter of motorcycle deaths can be attributed to a collision with a fixed object, such as a telephone pole or tree.
- Road Hazards. A motorcycle’s small size and lack of exterior protection make it easy to throw it off balance during dangerous road conditions. Road hazards such as potholes, slick pavement conditions, dead animals, uneven roads, or unexpected objects in the street can quickly cause a motorcyclist to crash.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
There are thousands of motorcycle accidents every year. When someone is in one, it can be a traumatic experience. It is helpful to know what to do when a motorcycle accident happens. This can help determine liability after the accident and even save a person’s life. Below is an explanation of the steps to take after a motorcycle accident.
- Check for Injury. Since the risk of injury and death is so high for those riding a motorcycle, it is vital to check for injuries in all parties involved first. 911 must be called as soon as possible. This way, anyone who is injured gets quick medical care, and the police can help control the situation.
- Take Photos. Once the scene is safe enough, drivers need to take pictures of the scene before moving anything. Be sure to get a picture of where the vehicles are, the damage sustained, and the surrounding area. These pictures can be useful for insurance or even later in court.
- Move the Motorcycle Off the Road. Once pictures have been taken, it’s critical to move the motorcycle off the road. Leaving the bike on the road is dangerous for oncoming traffic. Approaching motorists may not see that there is an accident and can collide with the debris, causing more damage and injury.
- Gather Information. The police officers who arrive at the scene will begin taking detailed notes about the accident. Those involved in the accident should gather some information as well, including: Contact information of all witnesses and other drivers; insurance information for the other involved vehicles; information on all the vehicles involved, including VIN, make and model of other vehicles, and license plate numbers; name and badge number of the police officer(s) at the scene; the police report number.
- Call the Insurance Company. It’s always best if a person’s insurance company hears about an accident from the insured first. They will need to know all the information about the accident, including what was gathered in the list above. Do not inform the insurance company about motorcycle damage or any injuries sustained until after seeing a doctor or bringing the bike to a mechanic. It is critical not to underestimate damages, as it can reduce the compensation a person may be entitled to down the road.
Contact the Experienced Team at The Hadley Law Firm Today
Those involved in a motorcycle accident must never admit fault at the scene. Admitting fault right away may falsely blame the wrong person, and may keep them from being compensated for injuries or medical expenses later. Many times the other party may wrongly accuse someone of being at fault, or an insurance company may decline coverage.
In these cases, it is essential to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.