Why Are Motorcycle Accidents So Deadly?
The nature of a motorcycle increases the risk of traumatic injuries and death because the rider has no protection from injuries during the crash. A vehicle’s frame and safety features, such as seat belts and airbags, protect passengers during a collision.
According to the NHTSA, more than 80 percent of motorcycle accidents result in death or injury for the motorcyclist. In addition to the lack of protection offered by a passenger vehicle, riders are also thrown from the motorcycle, causing additional injuries when the rider strikes another object or the ground.
Wearing motorcycle helmets and other protective gear can reduce the risk of traumatic injuries from a motorcycle accident. However, Texas helmet laws permit riders over 21 years of age to ride without a motorcycle helmet if they meet specific criteria. According to the 2018 data, almost one-half of the riders who died in motorcycle accidents were not wearing helmets.
Deadly Motorcycle Accidents
During 2018, 4,985 motorcyclists lost their lives in motorcycle crashes in the United States. In Texas that year, motorcycle accidents accounted for 418 deaths, including motorcyclists and passengers. As with the nationwide figure, the number of motorcyclists killed in Texas decreased slightly in 2018.
However, motorcyclists continue to represent a significant percentage of the total motor vehicle deaths each year. Motorcyclists in Texas represented approximately 11 percent of the total traffic fatalities for 2018. Nationwide, motorcyclist fatalities accounted for almost 14 percent of the total traffic fatalities.
How Can Motorcyclists Reduce the Risk of Deadly Motorcycle Crashes?
There are several steps motorcyclists can take to reduce the risk of life-threatening injuries from a motorcycle accident.
- Always wear a motorcycle helmet that meets or exceeds Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (DOT-compliant helmets).
- Wear gloves, riding boots, and other protective gear whenever riding.
- Avoid all distractions when riding a motorcycle. Distracted driving is deadly for all motorists, but motorcyclists need to be on the looking for other drivers who are not paying attention.
- Use headlights during the daytime to increase visibility. Choose a brightly colored helmet and clothing to help other drivers see the motorcycle.
- Use defensive driving techniques. Never assume that a driver sees you. Keep a greater distance between the motorcycle and other vehicles when traffic permits.
- Watch for drivers at intersections and side-entrances. Slow down and make sure that the driver sees your motorcycle.
- Slow down. Speed is a factor in many motorcycle accidents. Higher speeds increase the risk of fatal injuries.
And, never drink and drive. Alcohol and drugs do not mix with motorcycles.
What Should a Motorcyclist Do After an Accident?
Always call 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance. Because injuries from motorcycle crashes tend to be severe, it is usually impossible for the rider to take photographs of the accident scene or talk to witnesses. If it is possible, documenting the accident scene can be very helpful for an accident claim.
Most riders are transported to the hospital from the accident scene. Even if you are checked out at the emergency room and released, it is wise to see your doctor as soon as possible. You could have sustained injuries that might not be apparent for a few days.
Furthermore, you need to document your physical injuries for an accident claim. Insurance companies use delays in medical treatment as reasons to deny and undervalue injury claims.
As soon as possible, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer for help. Motorcyclists are often unjustly blamed for causing the accident. They are easy targets for blame because of the negative stereotypes associated with riders.
While the stereotypes are unfounded, an insurance company will not hesitate to use that against a rider if it believes it can get out of paying a motorcycle accident claim.
As with all other traffic accidents, document your injuries, and keep careful notes. Avoid dealing with the insurance company until you obtain legal advice about your case. The insurance adjuster is not the person to trust when dealing with an injury claim.