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Motorcycle Accidents

Because of some unique factors inherent in motorcycles and motorcycle riding, like difficulty that other motorists may have in seeing a motorcycle or lack of any protective barriers between a motorcycle and the road, the causes of motorcycle accidents, the injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents, and the liability for motorcycle accidents can be very different from car accidents. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are increasing with this vehicle’s popularity. Motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to injury during accidents, especially when an automobile or truck is also involved.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that more than 51 percent of motorcycle collisions involve auto accidents. Operators of motor vehicles play a role in the safety of motorcyclists.

Motorcycles are much smaller and lighter than cars, have only two wheels, and do not enclose the rider in a box of metal. This makes motorcycle riding riskier than riding in a car.

Some of the common risks unique to motorcycle riding, which are the most frequent causes of accidents, include:

  • Visual recognition.Because motorcycles are smaller and more easily hidden by objects on or off the road, cars are less likely to see them, especially at intersections.
  • Road hazards. Things that have little effect on a car, like debris, uneven road surfaces, small objects, or wet pavement, can cause a motorcycle to crash.
  • Less stability. Especially at higher speeds, the front end of a motorcycle may become unstable and begin to shake or “wobble.” Also, vehicles with two wheels are less stable than those with four, especially during emergency braking.
  • Skill level and difficulty. A motorcycle requires more skill and physical coordination to operate than a car. Unskilled riders account for a disproportionate number of motorcycle accidents.
  • High-risk behavior.Lighter and more powerful motorcycles such as sport and supersport bikes can encourage speeding, fast accelerating, and other high-risk behavior. The death rate among riders of supersport motorcycle accidents is four times that of riders of conventional motorcycles.
  • Motorcyclist speeding & alcohol use. Because motorcycles don’t provide much protection to the rider, crashes involving speeding or alcohol are much more likely to result in death or serious injury.

Motorcyclists are more likely to be injured or even be dead than passenger car occupants. The elements of a motorcycle injury are often interrelated. The most common types of injuries are:

  • Fractures and broken bones.
  • Skin abrasion.
  • Soft tissue injuries.
  • Partial paralysis.
  • Amputation.
  • Traumatic brain injury.
  • Spinal cord injury.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you should first seek immediate medical treatment.

Each state has its own laws pertaining to determining fault for motorcycle, automobile, and trucking accidents, as well as helmet, traffic, and wrongful death laws. Hiring a skilled attorney will assure you are not overwhelmed by the complexity of the legislation involved or cheated by the other party’s insurance company.  Locate an attorney to make sure you receive compensation for your injuries.

About the author

Thomas Elliott

Education: Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York. Pace University, White Plains, New York.
Professional Associations and Memberships: American Bar Association, New York State Bar, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Brooklyn Bar Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

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